Friday, December 30, 2011

And the Walls Come Tumbling Down

Day 2 of Operation Clean-Out and the walls come tumbling down!

Bubba's room is clean, the walls are down, and it's time for the insulation to come out.

Bubba's Room and Stairway
(note the fire extinguisher- we had one on every floor, just in case something ever caught fire. Oh, the irony)   
The upstairs girl's room is clean and waiting for the walls to come down. No more painted paneling!
Bubble gum pink walls covered in soot. Stupid Crock Pot.  
I guess I'm not the only one who stopped to draw in the soot.

Today more of our memories went into the dumpster.

I know when you look into this mess you probably see trash. But what I see is different. I see our lives. I see one of my kids' beds. I see Fish's precious art cabinet. I see the crutches Tuna blinged out with duct tape when she broke her hip. I see Fish's snow cone  maker. I see the mirror Tuna bought with her Christmas money last year.

I know, I know. It's just stuff. But it's our stuff. And it's in a dumpster. And it we've been violated. By a STUPID CROCK POT. And it sucks.

Don't get me wrong. I am happy. I am happy that Operation Clean-Out is nearly over and Operation Tear-Out is starting and that means that Operation Rebuild is just around the corner. I am happy that we will be back in a beautiful home before we know it. I am happy that I will have fabulous neighbors to welcome me home.

You see that? That is the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the neighbor's window. That's how awesome my neighbors are. I miss them all.

Stay tuned for my New Year's resolution. I'm not much for making New Year's resolutions, but this year I'm going all out.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Operation Clean-Out Begins!

One dumpster.

Two guys.

Two hours.

Twenty years worth of accumulated tangible memories.

The first dumpster, full in just under two hours. Yes folks, that is my furniture in there.

As I snapped this pic, the next dumpster was already on its way.  Pots, pans, toothbrushes, DVDs, cups, pillows, pieces of kid-drawn artwork, etc. were being hurled into a giant dumpster. Years and years of memories and things we loved, all being sent to the dump. It was painful to see.

Tomorrow the walls come down! Maybe I'll show up with a sledge hammer and be all
 "T O W A N D A ! ! !"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Phone Call- September 21, 2011

This was life as I knew it-
My Kitchen

Okay, maybe it wasn't paradise, but it was...normal. Hubby put the kids on the bus for school on a Wednesday morning, put dinner in the slow cooker (aka 'the Stupid Crock Pot), and went back to bed for a nap. I spent some time studying for final papers for the approaching end-of-semester deadlines and then left home to do a Pampered Chef show on the other side of town. Hubby took care of all of the evening activities, shuttling kids from after-school activities...all normal stuff. Around 7:00, he opened the slow cooker (Stupid Crock Pot) and decided he needed rice to go with the meal. He packed the whole herd into the truck and set out to buy rice. He was gone maybe a half hour.

That's about the time I got the call. My cell phone rang and rang. I was annoyed. My kids shouldn't call when I'm working. Dad can handle emergencies. My phone rang 4 times. Starting to worry, I clicked the answer button and this is what followed:

(Really loud sirens)
Me: WHAT'S WRONG?? What's happening?!

What happened next is blurry, but still seared into my memory forever. We went through the necessary questions- Where is everyone? Where is Dad? Is everyone ok? What happened? The kids were with the neighbor. Dad was with the firefighters. The house was burning down. Flames were coming out the windows. There was smoke everywhere. "COME HOME NOW MOM! NOW!"

I left everything and ran for my car. Some sweet lady packed up my laptop and helped me out the door. I don't know how I backed out of the driveway without hitting anything. The drive home was the longest, most frustrating experience of my life. There was one more phone call home to Tuna. It ended with "the dogs are burning to death, Mom."

I cried hysterically at my mother. I drove with  a death grip on the wheel. My hands were shaking. My body was shaking. I have never felt such terror and helplessness. I was just driving. Crying. Shaking. Rambling at my mother on the cell phone. Cussing construction traffic. Then I was in a friend's car. Frantic. Shaking. Then pulling into my subdivision. Onto my street. I didn't want to see...I was afraid to see...what would I see?

There were firetrucks. Bright lights. People everywhere. Family. Friends. Neighbors. Firefighters. My KIDS! The DOGS!! The dogs were out of the house. They were covered in soot, wet and scared, but there they were sitting on the driveway. There was my best friend. He was wet, smoky, shaking...we were crying...we were all together, one big lump of smoky, wet, sobbing family. 

Nobody knew what had happened. They had gone to the store to get rice. Returned to smoke alarms going off. Door was hot. Smoke rolled out of the door. Hubby had tried to fight it with the water hose until fire department arrived. Firefighters were throwing parts of my kitchen on the front lawn onto a tarp. 

That was it. Right there, in the course of an hour, my whole life was upended. Everything was off kilter, unbalanced, unfamiliar, bizarre.

There were people everywhere. Hugs. Tears. Plans being made. Emergency shelter arrangements. Red Cross volunteers. Bags of toiletries. Calls to the insurance company. Dogs going to the emergency vet. Hubby on oxygen. Chaos. Complete chaos. 

The Fire Chief approached. He said he would take me into the house and show me the damage and explain where the fire started. Oh dear God. Help me. It was the Crock Pot. Either the wiring, or the outlet, but definitely the Stupid Crock Pot. (we know now it was the cord) 

And suddenly, this was life as I knew it-
My Kitchen- After the Stupid Crock Pot

Burnt Chicken & Black Beans- and the Stupid Crock Pot