Monday, August 27, 2012

Cry If I Want To

You would cry to if it happened to you.

Today, we saw some of our things for the first time since the fire. It's been eleven months now. I had forgotten I owned some of that stuff.

It was incredibly emotional for me- seeing our stuff unpacked from massive crates, still covered in soot and ash, still smelling like house fire.

That is a distinct smell ya fire. It's the heady aroma of burnt insulation and charred wiring.

Three of our many, many crates at the warehouse.
Some of our belongings, those that the insurance company or fire restoration experts thought could be salvaged, were taken to a warehouse to be cleaned. That was the week of September 21, 2011. In reality, what was taken has been sitting in a warehouse, packed into boxes and crates, waiting on us to move home again. A few weeks before we move, they will clean our things and treat them with ozone to help remove the odor. What was not taken to the warehouse or to another warehouse that is cleaning our fabric items, was thrown into dumpsters. Six dumpsters.

Where is our 'stuff'? It's a toss up. Might be in this warehouse. Might be in that one. Might be in the dump. Who knows.

In the days following our fire, we waded through our home in disposable uniforms, latex gloves, and respirator masks collecting the things we didn't want to part with. We took our photos, searched for the boy's class ring, a favorite teddy bear, and Great-Grandpa's wallet. After that, I think we kind of walked away and let it all go. We had to. We had to grieve and let go. 

So, today...there it was again. Our stuff. And it was all fresh again. The smell, the destruction, the loss. 
Our furniture, removed from the crates. 
It will all just clean right up! Right? 
Check out the spindles in one of our chairs. Our house was super heated. Everything baked. Wood and extreme heat do not mix. Unless you're using the wood to fuel the fire. Then you're in good shape. 

I really don't want that chair back, even if you could clean the soot and remove the odor.

This was exactly what we expected to see. We have seen our entire home disassembled and we've seen what shape the framework was in after all that heat. And yet, it was so painful. 

Our pine armoire (and our cute little scarecrow!) before the fire.
This was our big, rustic pine cabinet before the fire.

And this, is that same cabinet now-
Post fire. 
The wood is cracked and split like dry kindling.
Inside the cabinet. 

We'll be having a long talk with the insurance company.   We had replacement cost in our policy. Not clean-and-send-back-damaged cost.

Ah well. Tomorrow is a new day. 

Let's look on the bright side. New furniture!



Sunday, August 26, 2012

We Have a Wall!

Check. It. Out!

It's a WALL!
Garage wall from the rec room side.
Garage wall from...well, the garage.
Everyone who's been within 10 feet of me in the last eleven months knows that I was not going to feel like we were making progress until I saw a wall go up. So, there it is folks. Our first wall. 

Oh, how I have needed to see a wall in my house again!

Now our house is going to start to look like a home again instead of a demolition or construction site. The cabinets are being built now. The power company is coming Monday. (Ahem. We've heard that one before.) Once the power is hooked up, the insulation crew can start working. And then we can build more walls!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's Electric!

This, is a light bulb moment if ever I saw one.

See how that works? Hold plugged in light cage in hand. Insert bulb in mouth. Voila! Light emerges from head. 

I sure hope they have it all worked out better than that because we are about to be electrified. The electric company says we've passed their inspection and they will be running full power to our house soon. That means we can get rid of this half-wired mess:
Temporary electricity.

The wiring is installed. 
New panels.
Think we have enough? Holy moly. I sure hope so. 

That funny looking orange goop in the pic? Fire Foam. 
Fire Foam. 
It seals all of the holes around pipes and wiring thus preventing the spread of fire and smoke through the walls. Those metal plates? Nail guards. They prevent nails from penetrating the wiring. 

New outlets. New wiring. New panels. We're going to be almost electrical-fire-proof! I don't care. I will still not own another slow cooker. Ever. (You reading this Big Guy? You want chicken and black beans, you're gonna have to cook that stuff in the oven, sir!)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Be Still

Wow. The last few weeks have run us over. So much has happened. Where to start?

Since I'm writing this at midnight, I'll just add a quick list of happenings.

  • Tuna was released from the orthopedic surgeon. Our little SCFE is all healed up! This is huge news. She had very high odds of losing her hip when she broke the ball clean away from the femur the summer before last. The hip healed and she learned to walk again, but we were not out of the woods until the bone completely fused around the stainless steel screws. She is out of the woods now!  
  • School started! Woohoo! This means I have my room table back and the house is quiet so I can actually devote my remaining brain cells to work. You thing I do to make money. (I do need brain cells for that. And a table. To myself. Quiet space!)
  • We passed the next codes inspection.
  • The insurance check arrived and cleared the bank. 
Wait...what? That's right! We got some moolah from the insurance company! We can pay people! And when you pay them...they work! We're looking forward to insulation next week.

Exciting stuff right there. Insulation and back-to-school celebrating. We celebrated our last night of summer freedom with skyscraper sodas.
The Fish, Little Bean, Tuna, and Rough Stuff with one massive ice cream soda.
How to end all of that end-of-summer sibling squabbling: fill one giant glass with ice cream and soda, add 4 straws. Ahh...enjoy the silence.

Little Bean gave her approval. (Or maybe it was just a sugar high.)
Little Bean on an ice cream high.

This arrived!

I cannot even put into words how happy I was when this sign arrived! I might have squealed a little when I opened it. We had a sign like this on our wall before the fire. We bought it on vacation several years ago in a little shop in Eureka Springs called Sleepy's. The Big Guy really likes this verse and the night of the fire it seemed to speak to many of us. The sign just seemed to glow in the light of the flashlights as we walked through our home with the Red Cross and firefighters. 

Several months ago, I contacted the shop owner and asked  pleaded for a new sign. They don't have them anymore, but the wonderful man agreed to make me one and he shipped it to us, no charge. I am almost teary just writing this. I love it! I cannot wait to hang it on our new family room wall. 

If you're ever in  Eureka Springs, please...stop by the shop and hug that man for me! 

Next post: Insulation! I know you cannot wait to see photos of our new insulation! 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our Journey In Numbers

Three hundred twenty days. That's how long it's been since our house caught fire. It's been three hundred twenty days since we've lived in our home.

We present to you, our journey in numbers:

4  Temporary homes we've lived in since the fire. (2 sets of 3 hotel rooms, 2 rental homes)

500 New 2 X 4s used in reconstruction.

2 New garage doors.

         3,500 Square feet of House-Wrap.

180 Sheets of plywood.

60,000 Nails.

40 2 X 10s.
Countless Acts of kindness, hugs, smiles, donations, and offers of support. 

Stay tuned...

The end is near. 

(Haven't heard that one before, eh?)