On November 8th, our lives were forever changed. The kids went to school, I went to work, and my husband and I prepared for our daughter's tenth birthday the following day. As we left the house that day, we had no idea it would be for the last time.
A mere two hours later, I was frantically dialing cell phones, trying to reach my children. My husband was able to get them from their schools, but then we lost contact. Before my son's phone cut out, he told me that the sky was black and burning debris was falling at his school. He could hear explosions.
We got so very lucky. Three hours later, my family arrived safely in Chico (what would normally be a 20 minute drive), their hair covered in ash.
We had no time to grab clothes, treasured belongings, or our much-loved family pets. Our bearded dragons perished. We are still searching for any sightings of our cats and have joined a volunteer feeding organization.
We have spent the past few months hopping from hotel to couch to floor, just very grateful to be together. We did have insurance, but have discovered we were woefully under-insured. We still have a large mortgage on our pile of ash and are facing very uncertain times as we try to start over.
Our expenses have doubled, on top of with the mortgage and trying to find housing. I also lost my home-based business and all my equipment in the fire, and in the aftermath, my job of 19 years.
These are certainly challenging times, but we are together, we are safe, and we are thankful.