Sunday, January 31, 2010

No, you can't stay in your house while they repair fire damage

I was a deer in the headlights when we had our fire. I remember standing across the street watching the firemen parade through my home and suddenly remembered I did not have a purse, a debit card, a phone or even shoes (and we were standing in snow). I was wearing my Santa apron and had raw meat on my hands from the meatballs I was making. It would be a few hours til I realized I needed to wash my hands and a day until we remembered we needed to eat.

I had a mild panic, wondering where we would go for the next few days while they cleaned everything up. I was lucky and a fireman brought out my working iPhone (Mike's melted but that is a different story). I texted my friend 'house burning down' and she texted 'ARE YOU SERIOUS?' followed by a phone call. I asked her if we could stay with her for a few days while they cleaned up the home.

Then Red Cross came and asked if we had a place to stay until we found temporary housing. I said we would stay with friends for a few days and then maybe head up to see my family in Ohio for a little while since it was Christmas break. He gave me a weird look and a number to call if we wanted counseling for ourselves and the children along with a debit card to help with immediate expenses.

I called the insurance company to let them know what happened. They asked how long we needed to be in a hotel. Not thinking I said, 'I guess til Monday' (it was Friday)' . They just gave us the name of a hotel and confirmation number followed by the comment that they would check back on Sunday to see how we were on finding temporary housing.

I kind of ignored the temporary housing comment. We could just go to Ohio for a couple of weeks.

Then the firemen left and a 'disaster repair' company came by to look at the house with us. There were still some walls and I was thinking how we could sleep with a large gap in the exterior wall in the kitchen. We'd have to get it fixed quickly. It was very cold outside.

The man from the company told us they would have people to board up the house that day and to remove all valuables and firearms (because there are real jerks who watch the news and rob people who just had a house fire).

He went on to discuss how they would take the stuff and clean anything they could and even store it til we moved back in.

I was caught off guard.

"You mean we can't move back in after you board it all?" I asked.

He bit his lip and said, "Ma'm you won't be able to move back in here for at least four to six months. They need to take out everything to get rid of the smoke smell, demo the walls, remove the installation and ........."

His voice trailed off and I suddenly realized we would not be home after a quick vacation to Ohio. The term 'temporary housing' now made sense. This would not be a quick job.

He then mentioned to try an salvage a few clothes to put on a rush job. I don't even know what I grabbed. I put them in a basket and he said they would get the clothes to us in a few days and the rest of the stuff in 30-45 days.

Neighbors brought clothes and shoes. I don't know what we would have done without them. Honestly don't. None of us shoes on when we ran out of the house. Neighbors took us in their home and gave up their plans to help us. And it was Christmas, nothing, not even Wal-Mart was open.

That night when we checked into a hotel, I don't remember much but getting into their bathtub and trying to get out the smoke smell (it really is the most pungent smell you can imagine). I slept like the dead, we all did.

The next morning was even more of a blur. A neighbor brought me to Wal-Mart the day after Christmas to get things we needed to live. I thank God she was there. I had no idea--we needed toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair brushes, underwear (!!!!), socks, shirts, shoes. I honestly did not even think about fashion or what was cute. I just needed stuff. A month later, I don't even remember what I bought.

There was also a flurry of people who stopped by our hotel that day. Every single one of them was so incredible and kind. I was in such shock---I don't remember what we even talked about.

Even on Monday when we met with the adjuster (Mike had already spoken with him a few times), I was still in a daze. The adjuster told us to stay in the hotel til we found a rental house (luckily Mike did that stuff for a living so it was easy) and not stress about finding one over the holidays. I had completely forgotten it was the holidays by this point. The whole situation was getting clearer as he explained anything with plastic would be trashed and they would try and salvage whatever we thought was important.

Slowly I was grasping things. A company would take all that needed to to cleaned and then demo the damaged areas. And we would need to live in a different home, for a while.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I have the best blog post ideas.....

when I am away from my computer. I'll be sitting in car line, waiting for the kids, driving around or just getting ready to fall asleep. And bam, I have an awesome idea! I even think about the title, that 'hook' phrase and then, then when I sit in front of the computer, I go blank.

It drives me crazy. There is so much I want to say. Then I start censoring myself---can't write about that (too boring), don't mention that (too confrontational), and for sure don't go there (people will think you are nuts!).

So I end up just leaving my blog posting page and saying some random stuff on Twitter and sometimes Facebook.

And now I am wondering. Who is the blog for? Is it for readers--well let's be more honest--to get readers? Or is it for me? I started blogging to get things out of my head and to, in a sense, clear out my thoughts. But that's not what I do anymore. I began this blog trying very hard to open and honest.

But I haven't been able to do that, especially recently.

I could tell you how I feel like I am going to throw up if I see anything related to Christmas or how my sons have about 5 or 6 accidents a day right now. Adjustment has not been that 'fantastic'.

So depressing. I don't feel going there.

I could tell you about the remodeling we are doing and how I have learned the difference between French Country and Provential (I know I spelled it wrong!) French. And why the latter is just a really really bad choice if you have kids.

But what if someone reads this and has that style with lots of kids. I hate ruffling feathers.

I could tell you I truly fear the check and balance system in our government is in danger and that our leader is anything but.

Whoa--talk about ruffling feathers! That's politics and a big can of worms I don't have the strength do deal with.

So I'll just keep brain storming. Maybe going back to menus or wordless Wednesdays. Or better yet, devote the blog to LOST. LOST will be on soon. LOST will be on soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Do you love your stove?

The 'plus side' of the fire is remodeling the entire home. Now if I had lots of time and discussions with Mike, this could be fun I pretty much need to decide things like flooring, counters, cabinets and appliances now.

And I don't have a clue.

I am lucky Mike is in real estate. He knows what looks good. He even hooked me up with an interior designer. But I am concerned about the cost. Because insurance will not just replace our laminate countertops with high quality granite ya know ;)

Be forewarned, I am going to have lots of posts asking your thoughts on hardwoods, terracotta and even installation grades but I will spare you from that today.

My biggest issue right now is the appliances. We need a refrigerator, a range, a microwave, and a dishwasher. We have a scratch and dent outlet out here that we want to check out but I want to make sure I buy appliances that work. My dishwasher was running just fine and it was 12 years old. My mom has had the same Kitchen Aid for the past 25 years. Three of my friends all bought the same pricey dishwasher about a year ago. All have seen a repairman twice, at least. I do not want to deal with repairs.

I went out looking today and fell in love with a stove only to talk with a friend a few hours later to hear how her friend had issues with it. *sigh*

So my question---do you love your stove, your dishwasher, your fridge? Did you buy something expensive that you feel is worth every penny or did you find the best value that turned out to be a gem?

Share, share, share.

And make it snappy, I need to get my appliance measurements to the cabinet guy.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Clearly I am Completely Out of It

With all this focus on getting our home together and moving around like nomads, I have missed apparently a lot. Here's the random thoughts going around my blonde brain these days.

* Brett Farve plays with his pants on the ground. Not sure if this means he is consistently sacked or if he just likes to pull his pants down.

* A Republican won the Kennedy seat in MA. According to Robert Gibbs, this is because the people of MA really support what President Obama wants to do. I can't even describe what this thought process might be.

* Lots of people like 'Jersey Shore'. I can't get past the hair. Or that dialect.

* LOST is going to be on soon. LOST is going to on soon. I repeat this phrase every time I turn on the TV looking for anything to watch (after I watch '24' at least).

* Two weeks ago it was the coldest in decades here. Two days ago we were in the 70s. By the end of this week, we are supposed to be below freezing. Just how to you organize your closet space with that type of forecast?

* Our rental is a quite large home. I have always wanted a large home. Now I want my small home. The extra space is highly overrated. And cold. Especially on the coldest day in decades.

* I miss my Wii Fit Plus that is sitting in the salvage shop getting fixed. I sigh with each and every tweet, post and status update that mentions Wii.

* I am actually wondering if anyone has even had just one of these thoughts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

We are in a rental and we finally have internet

I think the title pretty much covers it. We are at our temporary house. We have all had some ups and downs. Luckily our biggest ups are our friends and family who have been there for us!
We would not have made it if it weren't for y'all!

I got cable just when the earthquake struck Haiti. My heart breaks for them (as I am sure your does too!). We lost all of our stuff but we are rebuilding and getting much restored. They will not be as lucky. We had help from our friends and family. Their friends and family are either dead or in the situation they are.

I really hope you have a chance to give to the Red Cross or other organization that will help them. You can text 'HAITI' to 90999 (Red Cross) and you give $10 (on your next cell bill). It's not a lot but if we all help, it is.
God bless and hug your family!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quick Check In

Things have been crazy here! I want to share so much. From the bad stuff like Spanky melting down everywhere to the super incredible stuff like the people in my life that are doing just about anything to help up get through!
But I am still in a two bedroom hotel far away from school, ballet and church. I am usually in a car or not here. And if I am here I am doing my best to try and keep things semi-organized. My main thing is being able to see the floor ;)
As a whole, we are OK. Your prayers are helping! The situation is not the greatest but it is getting better. This weekend we will be moving into a rental.
The kids are counting the minutes for this!
I am just happy I can cook again---did I mention I was making a lasagna with a homemade sunday gravy and homemade gluten free meatballs when the fire started. I morn that meal.
I wish you all a very happy 2010 and I will be back on line very very soon!