Bear with me...this is a long post!
A week ago Sunday was the scariest day of my life! I was set to go to Calgary to take my boys to see Stomp and we were all so excited. What started out as a fun day quickly turned into a horrible day. There was a wind warning that day, but that's nothing new around here, so we packed up and headed out to get to the show. The winds were super strong on the highway, but we were ok...until we got about half way there. We needed gas and I had planned to stop in Claresholm to get some (like usual), however the closer we got to Claresholm, the stronger the winds got. And, when we arrived in Claresholm there was no power, roofs were coming off buildings and I couldn't even see the highway outside Claresholm in the direction I needed to travel. There was so much stuff blowing around that visibility was very low. It reminded me of the hurricane coverage that I see on the news...only without the rain. No gas stations had power and the pumps were blowing apart so we couldn't get gas. Hmmm...not enough gas to get to Calgary (not to mention we couldn't see the highway), and probably not enough to get home and the van was shaking hard from the wind. So, we turned around and headed back the way we came to find gas and go home.
On the way back home, my van was silent (this never happens!). It was obvious that my boys knew that it was dangerous and that even I was scared. Between Claresholm and Fort MacLeod, I saw a camping trailer completely blow off its wheels, bounce on the highway and land in the median in pieces. The whole back end was gone and stuff (blankets, clothes, etc) was blowing around everywhere. There was a bus sitting on the side of the highway swaying like it was going to tip over and I saw 2 semis blow over into the ditch. Scary stuff. There was huge branches on the highway and tumble weeds that really should be called small shrubs blowing around into the sides of my van. We made it to Fort MacLeod and I just needed to get enough gas to get home. Easier said than done! The first gas station we passed was completely closed and blocked off...again, pieces of the roof were blowing off, pieces of the gas pumps were blowing off and it was just too dangerous. Right on the outside of town I found a station still open. I pumped gas barely being able to stand up (I won't even get into how hard it was to even open the van door to get out!), with part of the gas pump flapping in the wind and the ice machine smashing into the door of the store so there was also glass blowing all over. I got enough gas and we made it home...the wind blew us home!
At home, we took everything we could lift into the house from the deck and brought the decorations in from the front as well as the basket ball hoop and our garbage can. Taylor was very helpful and realized the situation was serious. Luckily none of our singles or siding blew off.
A couple hours later my day went from bad to worse when I looked out my back door and saw this...
Yep, that's thick, billowing smoke. At first I thought a house in the neighborhood was on fire, but then I learned that it was a huge grass fire west of the city...in 120+km/hour winds and I live downwind from it (on the west edge of the city). I have a child with asthma, my husband is 2000km away from me, my family lives half way across the province from me and I see this out my back window. Ok, stay calm...everything will be ok. Little did I know!
The fire continued out of control until about 8:30 that night. It was smoky and scary. Kevin was in Ottawa and I had to pack up our important stuff because we were on alert to evacuate. I was doing good...staying calm, getting things organized, etc until I called my mom to let her know that we were safe and that I would keep in touch and let them know if/when we were evacuated. I didn't want them to see it on the news and panic. So, yeah, I was doing fine until I called her! Then I had a small breakdown...sometimes you just want your mom!!! I should say that Kevin and I were texting ALL day so he knew exactly what was going on and he was also texting with the guys he works with and then updating me so I knew what was going on with the fire too.
We didn't end up having to evacuate, but we went to bed with all our stuff still packed and in the van just in case and it was a looooong night. I lost count of how many times I was up with a scared kid and none of them wanted to go to school the next day because they were terrified that they would get off the bus to no house after school. Once the fire was out and the roads were opened up again, I took a drive with the boys to show them that it was actually out...that helped. But, when the winds picked up again a couple days later, they were all scared that we were going to have the same situation.
As I packed up and then unpacked our stuff I thought a LOT about what's important and about life in general. I've continued to think a LOT about this since, and I've come to a realization. For a long time I've felt like I was drowning in life. You know, the feeling that you're one step behind rather than one step ahead. This has been especially true since the end of August when my world was rocked by the death of my good friend. I have come to the realization that for the last 6 months or so my life has become unbalanced more and more which is why I feel this way. I still feel crushed over the loss of my friend (although I do feel better about it each day). I have a lump in my wrist that I have no idea what it is yet, but it hurts...a lot (I have an appointment to find out more about it this week)! I've been fighting a cold/flu for about 3 months now...I get sick enough that it's annoying for a day or two and then I'm fine...well, fine enough to continue my daily running around, but not healthy. I'm tired...really, really tired. And, I've realized that I'm losing my spark for stamping! I've gone away from my "why" and it has become more of a chore than fun. Don't get me wrong...I still love it and I have no intentions of quitting as a demonstrator, but I feel the need to take a small step back. I need to stamp for the sheer enjoyment of it and not for a class, club, blog post or someone else. Know what I mean? So, I have decided to do something I've never intentionally done in my stamping career...I'm going to take a bit of a break this month. I've cancelled most of my classes this month...over the next few weeks I will share the projects I had prepared for them here on my blog. I'm going to stamp just for the fun of it...for me and not on any schedule and not because I have to! I will share what I make...no worries! I'm going to enjoy watching my boys play soccer; I'm going to watch movies with them in our jammies with big bowls of popcorn; I'm going to bake cookies with them; I'm going to go on dates with Kevin (he's been gone for work most of the last couple months); I'm going to get lots of rest and I'm going to find my balance between family, work and health again.
This is what's important...
The health and happiness of my family and I is what matters most. I hope you'll bear with me this month as I find my balance again. And, come January, I will be ready to "sale-a-brate" Stampin' Up! with you!
Have an inspired day!