Started early at the Corps distributing school supplies to almost 200 children. The kids played and helped a little. Got some office work done. Visited with a few people.
Then we went home for a quick lunch before heading to Fred Meyer to do our own school supply shopping and groceries. While we were all there as a big happy family, Paul and I started getting phone calls on our cell phones that The Salvation Army was needed for our Disaster Relief because of a huge fire that is burning 15 miles from The Dalles. They started evacuating people and we needed to be there to provide blankets, food, water, and care. So I'm trying to get out the check-out line and Paul is attached to the phone. We run home unload the van throw our uniforms back on, including the boys. Thankfully, our friend, Stacie helped us out and watched Ann and Hannah for us. The rest of us headed to Fred Meyer to buy some more supplies and then to Hood River (Paul in the Truck with the boys and me in my van with Mary) and reported for duty. I wore Mary in my ergo and we did great. Babies are always a soothing thing and that helps take evacuee's minds off of things. The boys helped unload and pass stuff out. This was their second disaster and they always amaze me with what they're capable of on the front lines. (if only they were like that ALL the time, sigh...)
About 3 hours later, I head to Stacie's to pick up the girls and of course, I'm getting some chat time in with her. We're standing in her huge driveway with my mini-van parked and the doors open. Ann was behind me and crouched down on the floor of the mini-van and pulled the sliding door toward her. The door started crushing her and moved the door off her and hugged her while she was still in a tight little ball crying. I was expecting a lump on the head or something. I asked her what hurts and as I pulled her away from me to give her a look over I see so much blood that I thought her head was split open and her eyeball was gone. (I remember glancing down to look for her eyeball because all I saw was blood in her eyesocket). I thought for a moment I was going to pass out. Never felt that before. It wasn't the blood but the horrible realization that your child is VERY hurt. Stacie saw all this happening too. So here we are with all these little kids, Mary is crying, Hannah is crawling around the car and I know we're headed for the hospital. Stacie called 911 for me. Her son Joshua ran and got us a rag. He was so good about that. (I think he realized my tissue box wasn't going to do the job!) The ambulance came and they looked Ann over real good. After the bleeding let up we could see that it was basically just a huge, meaty, bloody gash on her eyebrow bone. So I drove her up to the hospital and Paul and the boys met us there (they had just stopped for dinner on the way home from the fire, he had them wrap up their food and load up immediately). When the boys saw Ann they sat down right next to her and held her hands. Hannah on the other hand was telling everyone that "Ann had a boo-boo". After she said that, she would go on to tell them that they were a "yucky poop". I was so annoyed with her but was all tied up filling out paperwork at the desk because apparently when there is an injury in the car, it heads to your car insurance first. Paul almost called them a yucky poop too but in not so many words. I snapped and told Paul in front of everyone (a few of these people I personally know! And we're all standing there in our bloody uniforms!) "BE NICE!!". With hindsight I know he was just trying to finish the silly paperwork so someone would help Ann. Anyways, I left with all the kids and Paul stayed with Ann. We got home at 8:30pm. Paul and Ann didn't get home until 10:30pm. It was a terrible ordeal for Ann. The nurse and Paul had to hold her down so that they could give her about 8 shots on her wound to numb it before they could clean her up and give her 4 stitches.
As I was pulling up to our home with the other kids I saw that our front door was wide open. I happened to be on the phone at the time with Stacie and mentioned to her that the door was open. She said she'd stay on the phone with me while I went in, but I thought oh that's okay we've been having problems with it lately, it probably just blew open. But after I hung up I noticed that there were some lights on in the house of which we normally turn off. Then I just started thinking the worst.... so I tried to go to a neighbors house but remembered they were gone for the weekend... so I called the police. I asked them if they could wait outside for me while I go in first. I knew they have more important things to do and didn't want to bother them. Apparently you can't negotiate with the police and I was asked to wait outside while they were all over it. One cop waited in the dark beside the house, gun ready to go and the other cop went inside with his hand on his gun and flashlight in the other. Oh boy. So the kids waited in the car and me beside it while he checked every nook and cranny of the house and garage. Of course I'm having a mix of fear and total embarrassment. Why couldn't this happen on Thursday when my house was perfectly clean and in order. Why in the world does this have to happen today when I didn't even get the chance to put groceries away! The house was messy due to the fact that we were running in and out of it all day, and oh yeah, I have 4 kids, a baby and no household help. Like I said how embarrassing. (Atleast it was clean, just cluttered!) Everything checked out okay with the cop. He was a nice friendly guy and even told the boys to help out their mom and clean up their room!! They were mortified, like me. I'm the one that will meticously scrub the house before vacations so that if we should all die, at least our home will be clean for those that will come behind us. Now, I think the kids get it. You never know when someone will see your big mess ;)
Woke up this morning to Ann and Hannah puking on the couch. I wonder what this day will hold.
Karen Andreola's new book, Mother Culture
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