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Toilet paper, fires and fodder for stories.

COVID-19 Shelter In Place Day Nine

**Note: the pictures in this blog were pulled from the web. I did not take them and they are not from my neighborhood.

Yesterday was not a fun day.

It started out fine.

Ran 3 miles (at least my version of running. Plodding slowly around the yard is probably more accurate).

Lifted weights.

Then left to run a couple of errands. (I’m trying to make sure I drive my car every other day so I don’t have issues.)

I went to Walmart and as unbelievable as it seems, I actually found toilet paper.  AND it was the kind that I use (I have a well, so I have to use Scotts since it disintegrates unlike some of the other brands).

I was thinking that my day was going well, really well. Then, I got a notice from the NextDoor app. There was smoke in my neighborhood. (see what I get for taunting fate about a good day?)

I live in a pine forest. This time of year is always a fire danger and this year the weather has been unseasonably hot and dry. Not a good combination when you live surrounded by giant turpentine filled sticks.

By the time I got to my neighborhood, they’d blocked the road leading to my house. At this point, the panic that’d been joining forces in my gut since I heard about the smoke started to spread out to invade and conquer.

My pets were home. Alone. They count on me to keep them safe. They trust me. I had to get home so if they called for an evacuation, we could all go. I couldn’t let them die there alone, waiting for me. Terrified.

That panic was clawing its way through my chest. I couldn’t let that happen. I’ve been through enough of this shit to know that panic didn’t do any good.

The year I bought my house three hurricanes hit Central Florida. I lost my screened-in porch and a good section of my pole barn. A few years later we had terrible fires in my neighborhood. I had to evacuate for a few days. Then, a few years after that we had a  100 year flood. Again, I had to evacuate.

So, suffice it to say I know how to stuff that panic into the bottom of my gut and keep going.

Yesterday, was no different.

I ended up driving around the back way in the neighborhood and luckily for me, the road block was on the other side of my house and I made it home.

Then, I waited. It didn’t take too long before the wonderful firemen were able to put the fire out. I heard on the Nextdoor app that two houses were lost. (I haven’t seen anything today about it, so hopefully it was just a rumor.)

So, day over. Tragedy avoided. I plopped on the couch to watch some TV. It was time to relax and extinguish the panic that still churned in my gut. I opened a beer (it’s a proven method for dampening panic, but don’t have too many or the opposite happens – lol) and my phone pings.

It’s the Nextdoor app again. There’s another fire. This one is on the other side of my house.

The panic cheers, “I’m alive. Alive.”

I wait and watch the app. To the panic’s dismay the firemen once again put out the fire and I called it a night.

Tomorrow has to be better, right?

No, it doesn’t. I can’t control that but I can control how I perceive today.

I was lucky.

My pets were safe. My house was unharmed. Not only was I faced with another challenge and managed to keep functioning but I now have more fodder for my books. Everything authors experience slips into their stories in one way or another. So, savor it all – the good, the horrible and the scary.

Yesterday was a good day.


  1. Simone Leigh says:

    Glad to hear it worked out. I have just the same risk too, here with the pine forest all around. And the experience of running when the fire struck. Take care. Hugs to the furbabies xx

    1. Linda Odea says:

      Thanks. That’s the one thing I hate about living in the forest. 🙂

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