A little back story: We moved into our current house in the Slight South on August 6th, with a not-quite six week old baby and a two year old. I traveled home for a funeral, Esteban started teaching his classes at the university, and the two year old turned three, plus the usual unpacking, shopping, setting up that comes with moving. Our washer broke, so we were doing laundry at the laundromat, and we dealt with both roaches and mice. (Thinking the mice WERE roaches almost put me over the edge of a breakdown- but that's another post.) All this happens in about 3 weeks. Things were settling down a bit.
We come home one day- I don't remember from where, though I know it wasn't the laundromat, because I was wearing jeans, not my maternity skit that was the least-wearable thing I could still wear outside the house. Anyway, there is a lot of ruckus on our street- firemen, police men, official looking people, looking official. No one approaches me, so I get the kids into the house (this takes a few trips), and then decide I need to figure out what is going on. I try to approach the police who is parked outside our house, but he waves me away. I can't figure out what exactly is going on, but I see the firemen going to a house a few houses away, and it occurs to me they might be evacuating people. I try to avoid the panic-y feeling that urges me to do nothing, and figure I better change the baby's diaper and gather what we might need. I do change her diaper, and they do come to our door and tell us to evacuate- it's a gas main break on the the corner. And, we can't take our car. It's 95 degrees out, I'm wearing jeans, it's almost lunchtime, and we can't take our car. We don't even have a double stroller!
I put the baby in the Ergo (guess she's old enough!) and get the stroller out of the trunk, hoping I don't hurt her neck with the jerk required to pull it out and open. As I go to put H in the stroller, I realize there are ants ALL over it. Had we had more time, I would have set down the baby and gotten out the dust buster and spent some time going over it, but as it is I just try to dust off the worst of them and stick her in. And, we're off- somewhere. When I asked, they said fixing it "shouldn't take too long." Hopefully that doesn't mean all day. I think there is a coffee shop up the road? I'm not really sure how far it is, and it is HOT and I'm wearing jeans and we have 30 minutes until lunch and all I grabbed were some almond cookies (I guess we had to go shopping?) and a bottle of water. H can't usually eat anything from a coffee shop because of her peanut allergy, but maybe I could get her some milk? I have my cell phone, but E is in class and doesn't have a car, anyway. We don't know anyone else in town.
There is a lot of angsting and sweating along the walk, but there is in fact a coffee shop up the road (not the one I was expecting, but whatever!) We go in, and I find some cheese and a glutten-free muffin thing for H and I to share, and maybe I get a coffee too. H tastes the cheese and muffin, scattering crumbs with abandon on floor, table, and couch where she's sitting. Whatever.
As we went in I notice a pregnant woman my age ordering, and once we are settled in I notice her sitting with two friends, each with a baby. They don't seem to have been evacuated, they had planned to meet here. One baby is quite young, and they are discussing birth and breastfeeding and diapers and all the things you talk about with other moms when you have a very young baby. Eventually, and very uncharacteristically, I go over and ask if I can sit with them, and explain we were evacuated. They are all very nice, and it turns out, improbably, one of them went to my high school! She is a few years older than me.
When H says she has to go to the bathroom, they offer to hold TT and I gratefully let them. Once we got through the door without TT, H says "But you love your baby!" And I do have a little doubt then that I just left my baby with three strangers. But, my gut feeling was so confident I hadn't even worried about it until then, and so I figured that had to count for something. Plus, they all had enough babies at the moment. Still, I hurried H through the toilet process.
When the three friends packed up to go home, we walked with one who lived by us (but outside of the evacuation zone), and thankfully (!!!!!) we were able to go back inside. While I lost touch with the other two women, the one who lives by us has become a friend, and we go for a walk together once a week or so. Of all the disasters that befell us on moving here, this one definitely had the best outcome.