Thursday, April 18, 2013

What's In Box Number Two?


We began to unpack. If you've never unpacked your belongings from a fire restoration warehouse, have no idea how hysterical/heart wrenching/painful it can be. We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more. It was bittersweet.

I snapped some photos so you could laugh too.


I suppose unpacking the fire escape ladder after the fire restoration warehouse cleaned it might have only been hilarious to me, but I found it wildly entertaining. 

Opening a box of toys and finding Woody made me cry. Back in the day, The Boy and Woody were quite the pair. In this photo, The Boy is sniffing Woody to see if he is 'keepable.' This was the routine for hours- open box, unwrap item, smell item, toss in keep, keep but seal in plastic, or trash pile.    

Every thing was wrapped in multiple layers of paper. Every thing. In multiple layers. Seriously. Every thing. 

Toenail clippers. Wrapped in five sheets of packing paper. I bet those cost ninety-seven cents. I bet they were paid two dollars to clean them and packed them in a dollar's worth of paper. When you unpack your toenail clippers nineteen months after your house fire from five sheets of packing paper, do you laugh...or do you cry? What is the proper emotion at that point?  

These three little gems took several more layers of paper. In case you're wondering, that is a plastic icicle that fits over a Christmas light, Fish's baby spoon, and a wooden piece from an old Home Interior's Courting Candle. It's amazing the ability we have to identify our own random crap. Don't try to locate that stuff on an inventory sheet though. Eep. 

Tools. Tools should always be wrapped in plenty of paper. You wouldn't want them to get damaged in transport. 

This was returned to us. For real. This is a bag of those plastic Christmas light-icicles, melted into a big, burnt glob of stinky plastic. These were not wrapped in paper, but were packed in a box marked 'claimed.' They were claimed, but the insurance company has not paid for them, so we get them back. Yay! Because that is what I want you to bring back into my new home- fire-damaged, stinky, worthless plastic. (Have I mentioned how traumatized I am by things that smell like house fire?)

I know you can't tell what that is in that photo, so let me help. It is a boot. Yes, a boot. It is made of barbed wire and decorated with feathers, leather, and beads. Now, I know not everyone is into this whole native, rustic, Southwesty kind of decor that we're into and I know that to some folks it might seem like broken junk to begin with. But really, people. This is not 'rustic'- it's BURNT. Have you ever actually seen pony beads in that color? They used to be turquoise. The whole wire boot was kind of a coppery-pink color (that's a color, right?) that you see in the center. Now, the majority of it is BURNT. Burnt is not a color, people. It's not. We decorate in rustic, not rust. Char is not our thing.

We kept the boot. We're not sure why. We don't know if we want to repaint it and add new feathers, or just throw it away, or just keep it around so we can laugh about it. 

When we were finished unpacking for the night, we had six bags and boxes full of packing paper for recycling. We've unpacked roughly a third of our boxes. 

We were on a mission when we started opening boxes. There were particular things we hoped we would find and we did find some of them. I'll share them soon. One of the things we were hoping to unpack was our Little Water Maiden lamp. 

That lamp is one of the first nice things The Big Guy and I purchased for our home two decades ago. I fell in love with it at an art show and buying it meant we would be scraping pennies for a few weeks but I just couldn't take my eyes off of it. Our only furniture at the time was a milk crate and some floor pillows but he agreed we could buy the lamp if I let him bring home a twenty year old plaid sofa someone had offered to give us for free. I had to think long and hard about that ugly sofa, but the lamp came home with us. 

We don't know what condition the lamp is in now, but we couldn't wait to find out. We opened every tall box that looked like it might contain a lamp. Then we opened every wide box that could possibly contain a lamp. Then we opened every stinking box that was left, but no lamp. We called the fire restoration service and they assured us it was packed in box #2. 


We're thinking not. This weekend we're going to go back down to the basement and methodically open every single box again, but I'll be honest...I'm feeling some serious anxiety about that lamp.   

This whole process has been emotionally draining. As I opened boxes last weekend, I laughed out loud. I cried. I cried happy tears of "it came back!" and I cried painful tears of "it's junk!" I must have said "oooh look!" dozens of times. I said a lot of "are you kidding me's?" and "why's?" and of course, I said...



  1. "I suppose unpacking the fire escape ladder after the fire restoration warehouse cleaned it might have only been hilarious to me." It's not just you.

    But this whole process just defies logic. I get angry on your behalf every time I see a new photo of something that it cost them 4x to give back to you what it would have cost to replace, especially when it's MELTED BY FIRE.

  2. I sort of think the scorch adds something to the boot.
    Also: I can't imagine the trauma and horrid awfulness in the unpacking of mystery boxes.