The Beginning

The evening of September 21, 2011 a bad crock disrupted our lives.

The day started out fairly normal. We had a busy day ahead. I had to study for upcoming college finals and do a Pampered Chef show that evening. The kids had after school clubs and practices and such. Knowing he had to shuffle the crew around and get everyone fed on his own, The Big Guy put a meal in the slow cooker early that morning. It was a new recipe. Black beans, chicken, cream cheese, cheddar, and salsa, all slow cooked to perfection and served over rice. It sounded wonderful. We'll never know.

The crock pot had an adjustable temperature setting. He selected burn-the-damn-house-down-hot and went on about his business. That evening, realizing there was no rice in the house, a prescription needed to be picked up at the pharmacy, and the Boy needed to pick up a library book, the Big Guy loaded up all of the herd and headed for the store.

The grocery store is in the same parking lot as the library and pharmacy, so he really just made a big loop around the parking lot dropping a teenager at the library and store and then picking up the prescription before grabbing both kids and heading home. He stopped for gas, but seeing the price decided to wait a day to fuel up. That was a decision that likely saved some of our pets and memories.

The herd returned home to the smell of something burning and upon approaching the front door and hearing the smoke alarms, the Big Guy realized it was indeed our home that was on fire. He shouted for the kids to get back and call 9-1-1 and he slowly opened the door and tried to make his way in to get the pets. The smoke had already filled the house and it was impossible to reach them. It took 4 minutes for the fire department to arrive.

That's when I got the call. I was just winding down a great Pampered Chef kitchen show when my cell phone began to ring repeatedly. I silenced it 3 times before finally answering in frustration. My oldest daughter screamed out in terror over the sirens "come home now mom- come home NOW." We shared one more phone call as I drove toward home. She said "the dogs are burning to death mom."

When I arrived at home, the fire was out and the dogs were on the front lawn, alive and black with soot. The rabbit had been rescued but the bearded dragon had met his end. The firemen were tossing out buckets of black insulation onto a tarp on the front lawn. We soon learned that there had been an electrical fire involving the crock pot. Our lives had changed drastically, but we wouldn't realize how much for some time to come. It was all very surreal.

That was the beginning.

I started this blog to chronicle our recovery, which I imagined would be 3 to 6 months. I wanted to show our friends, family, and neighbors the progress from burnt out mess to beautiful, rebuilt home.

How naive I was.

It took 15 months to get the house back into living condition. This blog is about the reality of fire recovery and reconstruction. It is about the pain and joys of a family that has endured the process. It is about our journey- the good, the bad, the whole crock.

I've realized there is no real end to fire recovery. There is no absolute point where we will say "that was an experience, glad it's over!" Day by day, it will consume less of our lives. Maybe someday, when I realize the blog is more about our daily lives and I never write about fire recovery, I'll rename the blog. I wouldn't hold your breath.  

It all started here::

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