Sunday, July 3, 2011

Plodding on...

The aftermath of a house fire requires much focus and plodding.

When Mike built the house over a period of three or four years, while working full-time, he was totally focused, that was all he did. He was up very early and would put in two hours of work before going to his job. On the thirty minute drive over country roads, he changed into his professional attire, only to reverse the routine on the way back in the evening. The children and I took a meal out and joined him at 'the land', as we called it back then. That was focus.

Once again, throughout the rebuilding process, Mike is and will be very focused. He meets with the contractor almost daily. They are hammering out the details to come up with a number for the insurance to look at while we are gone the next two weeks (more about that later).

Meanwhile tearing up and taking apart the original house continues. One more day of hard work and clean up before the reconstruction crew begins in a couple weeks. Here is what the place looked like at the start of the week and at the end.

Front - above

West side

Front - above

South side - from below
Do you notice the squash plants, the lettuce and the tall tomato plants?

Plodding goes on in different areas: shopping (whether online or in store) to replace what we lost; entering every single purchase into a spreadsheet;  restoring what we salvaged; and sorting through ALL. There is not much time or energy left to do anything else.

Monday I had to go into Marion to order a replacement pair of glasses and clip-on sun protection, so I stopped at a couple places to chip away at the shopping list. In one store my cart was overflowing. A little boy looked in amazement and said, "You must be rich." (Actually, I was at Big Lots.) I said, "Well, my house burned, so we have to start over." Then he repeated several times so sincerely, "That's sad that your house burned."
Mike fits in replacement shopping with every trip to town. Then comes the equally time-consuming task of recording all the required information about the purchases. Can you imagine what that was like BC (before computers)?

There is the constant restoration cycle of all the items we found with each trip back to the house--from the garage to the kitchen sink to the ozone room to being sorted and put away.

In any case, we weren't about to miss Monday Night Meal. As we were leaving Stephan's, I remembered to take my picture of the day.

Each day brings new surprises. On Tuesday our neighbors across the lane, gave us a beautiful bedroom set and other carefully packaged household items. They are downsizing and moving. They make it sound like we are helping them! A corner of the garage is quickly filling up.

Our big surprise Wednesday came in the evening. We were invited to the welcome meal for the new group of Basque young people (four girls this time), and there we learned that one of them is from our Amaia's town and their parents are in the same friend-circle and we have met them--Koro and Joseba

Rita and Libe
Thursday, I organized the three sets of letters to my parents for their 50th anniversary in 1992. 

Letters from friends, family and Argentina
I had a few pages and cards to add Friday when my brother Ivan brought me a big box of family archival treasures. He has been cleaning out Dad's office and moving Mother into Grace Village. He was on his way to Cincinnati so we met for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and talked so much I forgot to take my daily photo.

Later in the day the obvious opportunity arrived with the delivery from the restoration crew. There were two companies involved in rushing into the fire-and-water damaged house to retrieve whatever they could. It was dusk, water was already pouring down on the lower level, so they had to work fast, hoping the ceiling would not start coming down as well. 
There were 14 big boxes and hanging items from the dry cleaners enough to fill two large closets--an embarrassingly enormous quantity. 

The moral of the story is: Diligently and drastically get rid of anything that does not work for you anymore...especially before a house fire! 
They even cleaned the cut up jeans I use for mending. I can always find the right patch for any and all my family's needs, and now I can offer super clean patches!
We are grateful to have our clothes back before the trip to Las Vegas. We leave tomorrow around noon for two weeks to take our granddaughter to the dance opportunities she earned: ballet seminar; national competition; dance workshop.

So this is where we are in mid 2011.


The Bug said...

It just sounds exhausting - & yet I'm so moved by all the folks who want to help. I think I'll take your advice & clean out my closet TODAY :)

skoots1mom said...

i've been cleaning closets and have more to go...
safe travels :)


My mother was a hoarder and in dealing with her death....and dealing with her house....every time I work there...I come home and get rid of tons of stuff. I don't want my kids to have to do this for me. Your advice on cleaning on closets is good advice. I was so moved by your neighbors generosity.

Lori: Teacher Turned Mommy said...

it's amazing what people can come up with to share when the need is there. glad you found friends and neighbors who care enough to share