Monday, October 21, 2013

What's In Carton #2?

I absolutely love fall. It is my favorite time of year and I try my very best to squeeze every possible moment from the season. But...

Ah, there is that ugly but. It is also the season that we endured a house fire two years ago. As soon as the leaves began to turn, I began to get an uneasy feeling. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but then we started moving the Halloween storage tubs from the attic into the living room and suddenly, all in a moment, I got it. The front door opened and the leaves fluttered across the lawn and I glanced at the plastic storage tubs sitting in the family room, and it clicked. I was remembering the fire.

There was a familiarity to the season and it brought back ugly feelings. There was a strange tension in the air. The Big Guy labeled it later that day and I realized I wasn't the only one feeling it. He said "the last time I brought those tubs down...I was spraying them with a water hose a few hours later waiting on the fire trucks."

The night our house caught fire was the same night two years ago that the Big Guy had decided we should start decorating for Halloween. The kids had hauled all of the storage tubs down into the living room and then they had left to go to the store, to buy rice to go with dinner. They returned a short time later to a house consumed with smoke and fire, and in desperation the Big Guy was spraying what he could see of the fire with our water hose. Of course, the water wasn't going anywhere because it was hitting those storage tubs which he couldn't see through the smoke just a few feet away.

We laugh about that now, but the memories are still painful. Here we are, two years later, back in our own rebuilt home, and the simple act of bringing out the Halloween decorations triggers a flood of tension and fear.


We had a nice surprise over the weekend. The Big Guy looked high and low in our basement and garage trying to find my sewing machine. It was a Christmas present three years ago and I had never even taken it out of the box. We were sure we'd seen it returned from the fire restoration warehouse, but it seemed to be in hiding. I desperately needed it to finish Halloween costumes, so the search was on. It finally turned up in the crafts closet upstairs. Strangely, that is exactly where it belongs, but we have no idea who put it there.

In the search, the Big Guy turned up carton #2. We have been through all of the boxes from the warehouse at least twice, and this box never turned up. Suddenly, there it was. (I have no idea- stranger things have happened, right?) Carton #2 contained our lamps. If we had to list the top 10 things we hoped we would get back after the fire, these lamps were way up there on the list.

When you open a carton from the fire restoration warehouse, you have no idea what you will find. Except paper- you will find a crap-ton of paper. And bubble wrap. And more paper.

Our End of the Trail lamp survived pretty much intact, except for a nasty brown residue that pooled under the horse. This lamp will need a new paint job.

The other lamp...well, it's missing a few things.

Like the knob to turn it on...

And the plug. What is interesting is that these lamps were marked "Sentimental" and "Fragile" and "Special Handling" but not "Damaged." They were returned, unclaimed, as in good condition. Alrighty then.

The cord has melted paint from our wall on it so I don't know if the plug fell off, or if perhaps they removed it as a safety precaution so we wouldn't try to plug it back in, but in any is damaged. And it was not damaged before the house caught on fire.

I am so beyond over this fire and the restoration it is not even funny anymore. But...

The Little Water Maiden lamp, hand painted by artist Rhea Grandon, that we purchased in our first married year, has returned. Carton # 2 has been found. We will rewire the lamps, give them a touch up, buy some new lamp shades, and restore them to their proper place in our new/old home. I will use the brand new, fire-stinky sewing machine to sew Halloween costumes. We decorated the house and yard. The season will go on. All is well.

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