Nearly everything we own is in the back room of the parsonage, for this is the week that the floors are being done. (I feel like a photographer from Material World should be coming by to document our abundance of stuff.) As it turns out, the gorgeous white oak hardwood floors are NOT being refinished, because some yahoo of a former owner covered over part of the living/dining room with ugly linoleum, and linoleum makes wood take on a deathly gray pallor. It would have been a lot of expensive and time-consuming repair work, and it seemed to us (and to the trustees who make the final decisions on all matters parsonage) that laminate was the thing to do. An added bonus is that we won't be living in chemical fumes for the next three weeks.

We vacated on Friday morning so as to not be around when the colonies of dust mites that live in our carpets were released. Our first stop was the kennel, or, as I subconsciously kept from Ben until that morning, the "Kennel, Spa, and Pet Resort." I just don't have it in me to leave Atticus at a cheapo pet jail, so even though I was fully aware that fancy name was little more than a euphemism for the similarly bourgeois, it made me feel better. Atticus was shaking when we left him, and even though I didn't think I would cry, I did. He's earned himself a solid place in my heart over these last few months, even if I do still tease him that he's not as good a dog as Deacon was.

Our second stop was the hospital. I hadn't felt any movement for a long time, which has happened a couple times lately, but since we were getting ready to leave town and all, I called the doctor. They said to go in immediately. Even as I was on the phone, she started kicking, and I told them as much, but they said I should still go in. To make a long story short, everything is fine. There is, however, a bit of a philosophical difference about kick counts that we're in the middle of. We were originally told by the midwife that I must count at least three kicks in the hour after each meal. The hospital nurse rolled her eyes and said that kick counts are little more than an good old-fashioned way to scare nervous mothers. But then she called our doctor, who reinforced the kick count rule and said that I must count ten kicks in two hours (which, yes, is more than the quota that had me freaking out in the first place). The nurse reported this dutifully, and then told me that I really just need to pay attention for decreases in movement, and rest and drink fluids and remember that they were picking up a lot of movement that I wasn't feeling at all. I should go in if I think something is wrong or if it's been hours with nothing, but I shouldn't get my maternity pants in a twist over numbers. Some babies move less than others, and it doesn't mean anything is wrong.

While I was hooked up to the fetal heart monitor, they set the little nurse call button/remote/TV speaker on my belly, as sound can wake up a sleeping baby. I wasn't paying attention to the sports talk show that was on, until all of a sudden I realized they were interviewing Donald Trump, and that I was accidentally PIPING DONALD TRUMP INTO MY UTERUS. I turned that TV off quick-like.

Reassured that everyone currently occupying my body is healthy, we took off for San Diego to stay with Lara and Robert for a couple days. We had a lovely time. We saw The Darjeeling Limited (wonderful movie!), visited the San Diego Zoo, walked around in Coronado, and hung out at Balboa Park. On Sunday morning, we went to Lara's church - arriving ten minutes before it started, and departing ten minutes after the benediction. Surreal.

But not as surreal as the fires. It got so bad so fast in SD. Lara and Robert's house was not affected, and they are currently hosting family members who are evacuated. We left for LA yesterday morning (after I wrote the first half of this post), and drove through three major fire-affected areas. It was awful - yellow, sulfuric smoke completely obscuring the sun. At one point I had to cover my face with a sweater it was so smoky in the car. My aunt is currently evacuated, as well as some other friends.

We're currently staying in Westwood with Kirsten, from where you can see smoke from the Malibu and Arrowhead fires (I think; it's smoke from the west and east, so my elementary geography guesses it must be those).

So that's the scoop on the last few days. Tomorrow the workers will finish our floors, and we'll pick up dear Atticus and begin the task of moving everything back into place. Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

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