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The one where my house catches on fire.

So let me start by saying–I’m a pretty private person….sure I share my messy craft room and all my diy fails….but I don’t share a lot of my personal life with you. Mostly because you are here for crafts! But very quickly I realized that this wasn’t something that would be easy to sweep under the rug. It would be a little hard to explain why we are living in a hotel on my Instagram stories…or why we are gutting the house…or why I stopped blogging for a month. So I decided to open up the door and share it all. ALSO…as I shared…I realized what an amazing community I have built with this little old blog! I have been so surrounded with so much support and love and as I have shared, people have shared their stories with me! It has brought me so much comfort and perspective through it all! I’m so grateful for all of you!

Okay…so let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) It’s long. but that’s more for me than for you. I’m kind of using this like my journal so I can look back and not forget anything! (I also add in some facebook posts so you can read exactly how I was feeling on certain days!)

 

The fire: Nov 7.

 

Such a normal day. I was creating THESE signs and was trying to get some cut file pictures taken for a post due the next day. I had just finished when it was time for me to head over to my daughter’s Volleyball game. My husband had taken her up early for practice and so I grabbed my other daughter (the 14 year old). My son (12) was sitting on the couch reading and asked to stay home. He went to her Volleyball game the day before for 3 hours…so I was okay with him staying home (normally I make all my kids support each other and WE ALL GO)

We left. Time was 4:50

At 5:20 a number popped up on my husband’s phone. He didn’t answer because A. It was loud in the gym and B. we don’t use our phones for calling. 🙂 Very quickly the number popped up on my phone….and I almost didn’t answer but did after a few rings. I heard “your house is on fire” I seriously thought it was a prank call and almost retorted with “your fridge is running” but the next thing I heard her (my neighbor) say was “Your son is safe he is right here with me”   My heart sunk. This was serious. I slapped  my husband’s arm  and told him that our house was on fire and he literally got up and jetted out. I asked her if she called 911 and she said yes and I told her that the rest of our family was all with us. I hung up and sat there and continued to watch my daughter play volleyball…not a clue what to do. I didn’t want to leave because in the gym…everything was fine and normal. If I left and went to the house….it would become a reality…and I had NO IDEA what the state of our house looked like. I ended up calling husband and he told me to get my daughter and meet him at the house.

The drive was long and short at the same time  and my poor 14 year old was pretty upset. I kept telling her…”Jordan. We are all safe. That is all that matters. Everything else is replaceable.”   We turned down our street and were met with lights. Horrible reality crashed in.

By the time we had got there…there were no flames and house was standing….so I was optimistic. We couldn’t drive up the street so I had to park and run to find my son. I saw him standing there in a huge police jacket that someone sweet cop borrowed him. He looked so little with all those firefighters. I hugged him and the first thing he told me was “I got the 72 hours kits” Which at the time…I thought-WHAT! THAT is so ridiculous! Why would you take the time to get them!? We didn’t even make them with this kind of situation in mind!” But I didn’t tell him that. (I’ll share why this is relevant down below) There was no news. Firefighters were coming in and out and we weren’t allowed to get very close. All the neighbors were out and I knew they had questions and I had no answers-so I took my son to the car to hide out (and it was freakin cold)

And we waited.

As we sat there I tried to figure out just what happened without trying to traumatize my son even further. I didn’t get a whole lot out of him at the time but here is how it went down:

He was sitting upstairs reading when he got a bad feeling. My son is very sensitive and has dreams about people kidnapping him and makes us run fire drills all the time. I only tell you that so you see why he is such a worry wart. He’s the one who locks all the doors and won’t go out after dark. In October, we made the 72 hours kits. He asked a 100 questions about what we needed it for and I told him if we had to evacuate because of a flood or earthquake or something. I’m pretty sure the 72 hour kits made him more nervous than anything. So he is upstairs and has a bad feeling. He goes downstairs into the storage room and grabs 4 of the kits. (He had actually told me previous to this that we should put them in the garage but I didn’t listen) He dragged them into his room where he locked the door and sat on his bed and played his ipod and wondered why he was in there.  While he was sitting there…the fire was starting…right in the room next to his room. (it was the router …it was a year old $200 router from costco that was sitting on the floor. Apparently it couldn’t breathe with the carpet and FIRE.) When the smoke alarm finally went off…my son freaked out. He threw his quilt against the door at the bottom (like they teach you at school) and told himself to “calm down” (his words not mine) He opened up his window, popped out the screen and threw all 4 of the 72 hour kits up out of the window (he’s in the basement remember) He climbed up the ladder. With all 4 backpacks…he ran to our neighbors house that is the closest to the fire so he could warn her. She wasn’t home. Ran to the neighbor on the other side. He wasn’t home. At this time, my neighbor was coming out and her daughter noticed the flames right when she noticed Kaje. She is the one that called 911 and called me. Within 30 minutes of me leaving–this all happened!

There was an investigation. (“cause of origin guy” came) and he determined it was the router. (in case you were wondering if it was my son’s fault!) I have actually struggled with the fact that I had left my son alone to deal with this….but I never felt the prompting to make him go with us (which is what I normally do) And I think A. I’m glad he was there so he could let the firefighters and neighbors know that we were all out of the house and that we had no animals and B. This is his journal he wrote that night after the fire: 

 

So while I want to protect my babies and never want them to have to deal with anything “real life”- what an amazing experience my son was able to have. I love his sweet attitude about the whole thing. I can’t imagine being 12 and listening to the promptings and sitting across the street from your house watching it burn.

 

Okay. After about an hour and a half…the firefighters deemed it safe for us to enter. They kept calling it a “win” but prepared us for the smoke and soot.

I was not prepared. From the outside our house looks normal. I could see my craft room. It looked intact. But as I walked in…my reality was harsh and I got to see the amazing power that fire has.

These are the pictures I took as we walked through the first night. This is the big family room downstairs. 

The fire started in a corner of the basement. That room was completely destroyed. But my son’s room that shared the wall….looked 100% untouched. (he had his door shut and locked with the blanket at the bottom!) The house was so eerie.

Our life we had just left was still there….just covered in a layer of BLACK. MY crockpot was still on and cooking. My staged photos were still sitting on my craft room floor right were I left them. My washer had just finished it’s load. It was like a haunted house. Pictures do it no justice!

 

My 9 year old’s door was closed…so her stuff looks untouched as well. My craft room door was wide open so I had a nice layer of soot over…..everything. computer wide open on my desk! My poor 14 year olds door was open as well (she has a room downstairs) so she got the brunt of the soot damage. The smell was CRAZY. Literally made your eyes water.

 

It was so freakin warm downstairs and as we were shown around by the firemen in their big jackets and clothes, I had such an appreciation for them. I’m sure they were so hot, and while everyone is running OUT of the burning building…they were running in! SO thankful for firefighters!

We walked through and I went into mom survival mode. (thank goodness for kids. If I didn’t have them to put big girl panties on for ,I’m pretty sure  I would have plopped myself down in the middle of my living room and cried.  But instead I sent everyone to their rooms to grab pjs and clothes and anything they would need for school. I dumped out backpacks and grabbed what they needed for school (it was the end of the trimester and they all had finals the next day) and I decided that we were going to stay in a hotel with a pool so we all needed to get swimsuits. Half the lights worked in our house…and half of them didn’t. So we grabbed the stuff with the the light of our phones and headed the hotel.

(my parents live close..as well as my husband’s family and we had plenty of neighbors offer up their homes to us..but I wanted a swimming pool so we could maybe forget about the crisis we were currently in.)

oh…my…goodness. When we got to the hotel room and into normal lights…we were such a mess. SOOT is ridiculous. The light switches we touched and the clothes and deodorant we grabbed from the house all had a layer on it..and we just spread it everywhere. We literally looked like chimney sweeps. Another little tidbit about soot..it’s oily. so you think you just wipe it off…it just spreads it around. We had to scrub EVERYTHING we had taken from the house. I did laundry and then we all hopped into the pool. It had felt like the longest day ever…and it was only 8:30.

We swam while our clothes were cleaning and it felt so normal. I took a boomerang of my daughter jumping in the pool. We had a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest. We played marco polo.  We finally got out of the pool and got ready for bed.

I did not appreciate the quiet time when the kids went to bed. I had time to sit and contemplate and my mind was spinning and my phone was blowing up and I was trying to figure out what to do. I emailed teachers and work and anyone that I thought would need to know. I called the insurance and put in the claim. I laid there in bed…with not a clue what the future holds…..but laying within 15 feet of all the people I love and I knew everything would be okay.

 

The next morning: we did the school hustle. I didn’t want my kids to sit around and have time to think about the situations –so I thought going to school would be the best for them. Plus I wasn’t sure if I wanted them to see the house in the light of day. (I didn’t want to see the house in the light of day!)

I went back to the hotel after dropping them off. I remember laying there thinking…Give me some clorox wipes, I’ll go in and start cleaning. I’ll throw all my laundry on the lawn and all my amazing friends and neighbors that have been texting me and asking how they could help could just come grab a load. I was sure the downstairs would take some time to clean up. but I thought…we could all live upstairs while it’s getting worked on…just needs a good scrubbing. (at this point.. I think it was a blessing that I was naive about the power of smoke and soot. If I would have known almost everything was loss from the beginning I think it would have devastated me. I’m so glad the news came slow over the first few days.

{Holy crap this is taking forever.} Insurance called. They called a restoration company to meet me there. (Turned out to be my friend Josh from high school.) As we walked through…it definitely  looked worse than the night before. So much soot over everything.

This is the bathroom that is next to where the fire started!!!

 

 

He broke the news that things are harder to clean than just a clorox wipe. He had us pull the stuff we would need to survive and make a big pile so they could whisk it off and start cleaning it so we could get it back soon. (clothes and shoes and coats! I didn’t have a coat)  Then he told us to go buy new stuff to survive a week.  He also told us come up with a list of things we want to make sure are safe. Basically…you know how you sit around and ask yourself…if there was a fire what would you grab first? That crap. He took my laptop to see if he could salvage the hard drive. That was a huge concern! I had so many projects done that hadn’t blogged about! (p.s. it was saved! Got all my pictures!)

Insurance also transferred us to a suite in a hotel across town. So we had to run over and gather up the huge mess of soot from one hotel and take it the other hotel and check in. Then we had to go grab the kids from school. THEN we started the hunt for replacing our lives. We needed…everything. I remember walking through TJ MAXX trying to find clothes and underwear and socks and hair brushes and I passed a lady that had the cutest decoration in her cart. Oh man. That hit me hard. HOW FAIR IS THAT! She gets to buy all cute Christmas stuff and I’m over here buying underwear!  I was so mad!

I literally hit up 5 different stores. I felt so high maintenance….but you need so much day to day stuff stuff. shampoo, conditioner, q-tips, hair rubber bands, makeup, deo, toothpaste, face wash, backpacks, nail clippers, chapstick..I could go on and on and on. Not to mention buying clothes for 5 people. Pants and jackets and shirts. I know I was still in shock….That second day seems like such a blur. The younger two were pretty excited about the new stuff. but My oldest daughter completely understood the impact of the fire and I had to lay in my hotel bed listening to her cry herself to sleep while I did the same.  SO MAD AT THE FIRE! HOW DARE YOU HURT MY BABIES!

Nov 9– Walked through the house again. We pointed out everything that was important to us. Pictures and blankets my grandma crocheted me, and husband’s guns and My kid’s baby boxes. Every SINGLE thing we were concerned about were SAFE! BLESSING.

Keep in mind that every time you walk into the house…you come out smelling like smoke and covered in black. We had gloves but everything you lean against a wall or touch the doorknob…it was such a mess. I’m sure as I did all my shopping I looked a mess. I smelled. I had black marks on my face. It taught me not to judge other people as I come across them…you literally don’t know what they are going through.

 

After I picked up the kids from school, my son mentioned buying a sketch book….I realized they had nothing to do at the hotel. (besides swim and watch tv) So I whisked them off to the store and we bought a football, and playdoh, and coloring books, and pretty much anything my kids wanted. At this point, if they wanted a horse,  I would have bought them a horse. I just wanted them to feel whole and normal. We were eating out for every meal (the suite had a kitchen but we hadn’t bought food yet)

excerpt from my facebook:

“Random thoughts keep popping in my head. Just two days ago, I was planning what I wanted my tree to look like, and even started buying Christmas presents. Just crazy how your life can be drastically changed in an instant. Karl keeps saying, “I wonder what would have happened if I was sitting right there.” But- karl is always sitting right there. There were plenty of times it could have started when we were home and maybe able to stop it. That obviously wasn’t what is in the cards for us. And I refuse to play the “why me” game. When you say why me— it makes it sound like it should happen to anyone else but you— and I don’t wish this on anyone. 5 years ago- we wouldn’t have been able to financially and probably emotionally able to handle this. This is just our life right now. And time will pass and we will look back and see the many tender mercies that have come from this.”

(this is my daughter’s room. The other two kids rooms were 99% saved…and her room was a total loss. We had just redecorated it. How hard at 14 to go through losing all you stuff! Her room was in the basement so her room got hit HARD with it)

NOv 10: My kids had no school, so my sister in law and mother in law took them to play for the weekend. We had to meet with insurance adjuster and go over everything and do a tape recording of our answers to questions. (Basically how much debt we are in to prove we didn’t start this fire as a way to get $$) Totally made me laugh. Believe me…If I would have started the fire…my craft room would have been emptied!)

Going into the house today was weird. The restoration crew IS AMAZING. They had swooped in and took thousands of photos of our stuff before they started going through stuff to see what is “salvageable” and what is “non salv” (terms I have now used 100’s of times!) They had a guy come in and clean the floors and wiped off the counters  around each door knob and light switch was clean…so you can come in and touch stuff and have a place to set things down. They kept mentioning things I hadn’t even thought about, like getting our house winterized and getting a porta potty delivered and boarding up the hole in the side of our house.  ….just a bunch of random stuff that makes me realize that I could NEVER do this without them. They were also running big deodorizers to help get rid of the smell.

That is the doorbell that is melting down. 

The soot sticks to the studs in the wall. our house looked polka dotted. 

 

Today was also the day that we we started getting  showered with stuff. Food and laundry detergent and money and gift cards. I mentioned wanting to go to church but hadn’t bought dresses….and just like that…dresses showed up at our hotel door!

expert from facebook: “Emotions are high tonight. I have kept myself together for the most part … but tonight I got home -(“home” which is our hotel room currently — that stupid statement about how Home is where your family is is spot on. My home is not on independence right now. That is my house. My home is where my husband and Kids are. ) but I got here- hauled in a bunch of stuff that people have dropped off at my friend Tanya’s house, packages waiting at the front desk, church dresses, cards, food, treats, soda barn gift cards, taco soup, stuffed animals, hairspray, gift cards, nail polish, pjs, picture of the temple, money, board games, video games, socks (divine— these hotel floors are gross!) notebooks, even a Gilmore girls wallow kit. And it broke me. I have no emotions right now about the house. It is what it is. But the amount of love and support I feel is so encompassing that i broke. I just can’t even explain the magnitude your comments and messages and gifts could possibly mean to me. I feel it. I feel your love and your prayers and it overwhelms me. I’m the mom. I’m a fixer and a doer and that’s what I do. I do not enjoy being on the opposite end and having people take care of me… and it’s hard to accept. But as I sit here surrounded by stuff — I realize just how much I needed it. WE needed it. Before we even opened a box jordan said,” this is kind of fun to get stuff” —that alone is a gift! 🙌🏻 I needed your messages. I have read every one. You keep asking what you can do for me…you are doing it.”

It is really hard to be on the receiving end of things…but to see how good people are. to feel the love from everything. It was so touching and still makes me cry every time I think of people spending their hard earned money and spending their time to fill our needs!

(me and my daughter wearing dresses we didn’t buy!)

Another experct from facebook:  let’s talk shop. The downstairs is a total gut. Sounds like the upstairs is a total gut . I think they said the ceiling might be salvageable. 🙄 I look back to day one (which feels like yesterday and at the same time, weeks ago!) and I’m glad I thought it would be a quick fix. I’m sure if right off the bat I knew the severity — I would have crumbled. It’s a blessing that I got the news over time so I can take it step by step. But the hard fact is… we are looking at a big loss. I still think it looks like a quick wipe down… pictures don’t look that bad— but it’s bad. Karl told me to expect 3-5 months. We won’t be in this hotel too long. We will be moved into temporary housing. The restoration company have been the most amazing blessing! Everything is taken care of. They answer questions before I have time to think of them! I know people want to help— and I would love to give you something to do— but they have swooped in and tied up every loose end. I’m to the point where I don’t have anything to do! 😬😬 not loving this useless feeling! Currently watching an episode of the office… the one where Michael declares bankruptcy… 🤷‍♀️

That night was long. I laid there with my kids gone wondering if there were okay. I really let it sink in how close Kaje was to the fire. Husband was at work (Night shift) So I laid there in my hotel room and tossed and turned and wondered if my kids would come out of this okay. I had good feelings towards this whole situation. but I worried about them. I woke up and wrote this.

“I thought of something you can do! It was a long night- sleep doesn’t come easily Although I am so worn out. I thought of Kaje. I thought of him alone outside watching our house burn. I thought of him freaking out when the fire alarm went off. I thought of my sweet little boy acting cool and tough and I have no idea what he is really feeling. I thought of jordan. I thought how hard being 14 is. (The hormones😱) its already so hard— and now she has to throw the fact that all her little belongings are gone. Sunglasses, makeup, chapstick, perfume, books, all the photos on her wall of her friends! I thought of Kameron. How much does she understand. She’s so happy that we have a pool and kiwi strawberry juice at the hotel breakfast. When is it going to hit her that our life has changed?

I feel so much love from everyone. A caccoon of comments and messages. But I don’t know if my kids feel it like i do! I have shared the messages I’ve gotten With them- but they have mostly been directed at me —Kajes 4th grade teacher emailed me (his favorite teacher!) and I let him read it. His face lit up. -and then i realized- These kids need stuff specifically for them! They need a note with their name on it. To know that people are specifically thinking about them. I can tell them how amazing they are— but isn’t that what moms are supposed to say? I think it means so much more coming from someone else! It’s not about the stuff. I can go buy them stuff- it’s the meaning behind it. I want them to feel so overwhelmed with love like I do that when then think about the fire — it’s almost a good thing! This is a defining moment in their life. This splits their life. Now it is ‘before fire’ and ‘after fire’ (thanks Jen) and I want them to talk about both times as happy times. I want them to see good. Feel good. Be good!

So if you are looking for something to do- I’m swallowing my pride and asking. Nothing has to be big! A simple note with their name. Stickers. Chapstick. Anything really! ”

Guys. I almost regret writing this! We got showered with gifts again! I guess I just wanted my kids to remember it as this really fun time we got stuff and go to swim all the time. and boy, everyone delivered above and beyond! It was amazing to see. Board games and nerfs and legos and stuffed animals and blankets.  Drawings from our neighbors and sweet notes. My neighbor up the street spent her entire day sewing blankets for my kids! I literally couldn’t control my sobbing. I have only cried once about the “house” but this outpouring has made me bawl repeatably!

(look at the smile! So many fun gifts and surprises! )

Church was hard. I felt like everyone was staring at me. I was wearing a dress I didn’t buy in the only pair of shoes I had. and I sat there and tried not to cry. Not because I felt sad…but because I felt so blessed. Because I had felt so much love from my Heavenly Father and through all his amazing angels that he has sent to help me.

 

 

Monday morning: We met with the new claims adjuster. This one was a “large loss” one. Josh and this guy went through everything. picked out what could be saved and what was nonsalv. Cutting holes in the walls and ceilings to see what the damage was.

2 windows. and 2 toilets.

2 windows (the 2 that were in the kids room who had their doors closed)  The rest would be taken down to studs. I’ve said it once..and i will say it again. FIRE IS POWERFUL! Smoke and soot in the walls, in the installation, in the vents, in everything!

Walking through the house kept getting harder and harder. As the restoration crew sorted through everything to see what is salvageable….it felt so intrusive. I walked in on couple people laying out my swimsuits on the bed to photograph (everything is documented) and I immediately turned around and walked out. Imagine strangers going through every nook and cranny of your house. and as a blogger…I have so much “weird stuff” There is literally a box of empty toilet paper tubes on the floor (it was a blog post!) I wanted to walk through with them and “explain” it all. They kept reassuring me that they could tell I was a “neat person” but I felt like such a hoarder. The house also makes me angry. All my food storage WASTED. I had just bought a new microphone for youtube videos that go delivered earlier the day of the fire. Ruined. My friends birthday was on Sunday and I Had bought her present months before…gone. It was so WASTEFUL! I’m frugal and I’m like a boy scout and I’m always prepared….and all of it was just gone in a minute.

They broke the news that my craft room was going to be a big loss. LOTS of fibers and fabric that are hard to clean. You can’t really clean yarn and baker’s twine. Everything was open on display –so it all got touched. VINYL…my silhouette, fabrics, paint, everything. The did pull out a few things…but my new craft room will mostly be from scratch.

 

Ironically…as I walked through the house…you very quickly realize how unimportant stuff is. the pictures on the wall…I can print new ones.

I can buy new throw pillows and more fabric and more stuff. It’s just STUFF. I bought in on Amazon or Hobby lobby and I can buy it again. So basically…I was bypolar. HOW WASTEFUL…but its just stuff. HOW MADDENING. But whatever. I bounced between frustration and indifference.

 

We also started to get some of our stuff back that we had pulled out the second day! We had shoes and coats and stuff. OUR STUFF. It was like Christmas morning!

I was still getting so many sweet messages and texts. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A MESSAGE. It makes you feel like people care and aware and you are not dealing this all alone while everyone else just carries on like normal. This message from someone on Instagram was exactly what I needed!

 

This next week was a blur. I know I was at the house lots…and doing basic mom/ life stuff. The cause of origin guy came this week to analyse everything. (we couldn’t touch the basement until he released it)  I literally went to the store everyday. Everyday a new thing would arise that we needed. Nail polish remover, cold medicine, scissors, tape….so much stuff you take for granted! I didn’t mind it. I had to stay busy. I didn’t want any idle time to feel sorry for myself.

Nov 21

Facebook excerpt: “Alright…here’s an update on the fire situation. Almost all of our salvageables have been boxed up and moved out. Which means we have piles all around our house of stuff that is too far destroyed or not worth saving (like coloring books from the dollar store) The piles are big. Pretty much ALL of Jordan’s room…ALL of our storage room (besides the baby memory boxes and some Christmas ornaments I wanted saved) and ALL of my craft room. (seriously all of it. I think the ikea metal cart and some wire baskets were taken out…)

And I look around at my unsalvageable stuff…all the crap I have bought and saved and used and loved and I have officially reached the anger stage (Karl has been chilling in the anger stage for the last week) I’m mad. I’m mad about how wasteful it all is. All that food. All that fabric. paint. vinyl. My Christmas tree we just bought last year. We had just redecorated Jordan’s room. My Halloween decorations I just carefully packed away! All the years of buying little things here and there. I look at my food storage that I have been slowly building up…and It pisses me off. I’m frugal with everything. So just to have a fire come in and instantly make it all unusable just seems so…..ARGH! No words. I know it’s Thanksgiving…and seriously…I’m very aware of the blessings that have come from this. But I look at the all the stuff I have to buy to make us feel back whole….and it makes me…. overwhelmed.”

 

This week was Thanksgiving. It was so nice to go to my mom’s house and not deal with soot and play ticket to ride with my sister and act like everything was “normal” It was cut short when I had to meet a guy at the house on Saturday. His job was to go through EVERYTHING That was left and take pictures of it and then I got the joy of sitting down and dissecting EVERY SINGLE THING THAT WAS LEFT. Down to the toilet scrubber. I had to tell him where I bought it. When I bought it. and for how much I bought it. Here are the pictures of everything that was unsalvageable that we had to go through:  Every single thing in these picture in nonsalv.

 

Every single box had to be gone through. Every single thing. Not to mention the room with the fire. I just had to go in by memory and list what we remembered was in there. (at this point I was super grateful that the house didn’t burn down the ground! there is absolutely NO WAY to remember)

Guys. My craft room took over 4 hours.

I had to go over evverrryy little item in my craft room with some dude who has probably never been to hobby lobby. 4 hours. I had to tell him what everything was so he could inventory it. It sounded a lot like this:

“mod podge. no -mod. M-O-D podge. it’s like glue”

“washi tape. wash…washi with an i. it’s just basically tape.”

“Heidi Swapp letterboard. Swapp. Two p’s. letterboard. not leather board. letter. and letters to go on letterboard. It’s just like a felt board you put letters on. like fun quotes. yes. I have 4 containers of letters. Yes I need that many.”

“minc machine and foils. MINC. not K. not like the fur–although I do have fur fabric we can get to later-MINC. it makes things shiny. Minc.”

and on and on and on. silhouette, vinyl, “wedding tools” (weeding tools) I had to explain what “vinyl blanks” were.

I’m sure he thinks I’m totally crazy. Trying to explain why I had 3 instax camera’s because they were different colors and they each look good in instagram photos almost has me convinced that I am actually crazy.

This part frustrated me the most. I very badly wanted to say…oh just forget about it! Who cares about all my sharpie markers! I don’t care about the dumb frames. I kept having to bite my tongue because this is how  we get reimbursed by the insurance company…..So we have money to actually go buy a new toilet brush or sharpie..! but it wore me down quickly. Not to mention this happened on my son’s birthday! (luckily we were still at the hotel so he got have a POOL party!!!)

(this was taken on his birthday in the lobby of the hotel!)

Nov 28-After 3 weeks in a hotel…we finally got to move out and into the house!  HURRAH! We actually found a HOUSE. A house with 5 bedrooms, a theater room and less than 1/2  mile from our house! It was a complete and udder miracle/blessings that we found the house! The house is fully furnished…down to having spices in the cupboard (and the cutest nerf wall in the toy room! I’m totally going to blog about it!)

 

Now. I have always loved hotels. I mean…someone else cleans up after you and cooks you breakfast. but 3 weeks in a small hotel with bare minimums was slowly breaking us down. We did awesome in there…but the day we moved into the temp house…we all felt a breath of freedom. Room to breath, Space to play and not be on top of each other. We could walk without the neighbors calling the front desk on us. We didn’t have to walk all our groceries and bags up 3 flight of stairs.  (we do miss the pool)

And with the moving into the house means….we finally had room for restoration company to bring us our clothes!! AH!!! Imagine packing for a week vacation…and then that vacation lasting for 3 weeks. And of course–shopping at this point makes me SCREAM!!

The Boxes came a few days later….and I might have regretted getting them. It was a lot to go through. Everything was cleaned but the soot ruined pretty much all of our white clothing. It was weird to see –the soot stuck to the armpits of the clothes. So each shirt looked like we had some body odor issues! #HOT  We had an entire box of socks…I saved it for last because 5 people –2 feet…that’s a lot of freakin socks. BUT someone had matched up every single pair in that box! I could have kissed them!

Nov 29 FACEBOOK EXCERPT:

“I’ve had quite a few people tell me I have a good attitude about this situation…. which just makes me laugh. Someone told me- they could never do it. But guess what. You all could do it. Because when push comes to shove-There are only two choices. Lay in bed and cry and feel sorry for yourself. Or get up and deal. While there are plenty of times I would have liked to play the pity game- the reality is this— it sucks. It happened. No changing it. No playing the what if game. Time to move on. Time to see the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is this: we are all safe. We have insurance. Anything truly sentimental was salvageable. And In the end- house 2.0 will be amazing.

Sure-long road ahead of us. Would I have rather spent the day in my craft room making Christmas crap instead of buying 250 hangers, washcloths, and lots of little necessities you don’t realize you need until you don’t have them? You betcha ya. But do I get to use this fire as an excuse to not cook for 6 months. You can bet on it. Do I get to ditch old Christmas decorations and buy all new this year? Heck yes. Do I get to use this tragedy to guilt Karl into taking me to Disneyland? A resounding yes. Lots of silver linings.”

 

 Dec 1st. Today was bad. and good.

“Everything that was left in the house… is now in the trash.

Which means— if I randomly remember anything I forgot- I can’t go grab it.
But that also means— I can stop thinking and obsessing about all the random crap left and maybe I should salvage it.. maybe I might need it. Maybe maybe maybe.

#allthefeels” 

I drove up and saw my craft room crap in the giant dumpster that now resides in front of our house. A big giant nope. When stuff was in the house –I kept remember stuff we NEEDED….mail key, checks, A quote book in the craft room. Random little stuff that you don’t really remember when you are trying to find clean underwear. So it was nice that the house was intact for 3 weeks so we could grab things as we remembered. BUT everytime we would go in the house brought all the feelings. Seeing all the stuff would make me sad and mad. So the dumpster day really slammed the door. It was sooo nice to be done with the house. (we actually didn’t go in for about a week after this) We didn’t have to get dirty. We didn’t have to see our ruined life. BUT I  laid asleep for a ridiculous long time that first night in a panic about STUFF. WHAT if  remembered something  I needed? What if? AHHHHH! Luckily I haven’t really thought of anything…yet!

Christmas: Christmas was so hard. I usually have my shopping done by December. And the few things that I had already bought were destroyed in the fire. THANK GOODNESS FOR AMAZON PRIME. I spent the week before Christmas in a mad hustle trying to find presents for everyone. I had such a hard time because you need….EVERYTHING! How fun is Christmas when you get all stuff you ALREADY had but it got destroyed. I struggled. Everything worked out for the most part –and I was very glad to see Christmas come and go! (not in bah humbug kind of way…more like, I just don’t have the brain power to deal with this kind of way.) We did get to put out an awesome Christmas card though.

So here is where we are at.

Our house is down to studs. They have all been painted to white with a primer to seal in the smell (so when we walk in…it just smells like paint! not smoke! Can I get an amen! –the smoke smell isn’t like a campfire smell…it’s very electrical smelling and I know it will be a trigger for me down the road)

 

The heating guy was there today working. Estimated time to be back in the house is May (5 months) 5 MONTHS! (it might be sooner…but I don’t want to aim for march and then have it pushed back until May…) Admit it…when you saw my photos at the beginning you thought it just looked like it needed to have a good deep clean right??)

but soot is real. The smoke is up between each well. Lots of heat and lots of pressure!

The restoration company still has the majority of the stuff that was salvageable. We can ask for whatever we need back–but everything we bring into this house…we have to pack out. We did get a few of the kid’s favorite toys and odds and ends–but that’s about it.

I drive up every day to get my daughter and pick up the mail and my house just looks so…..normal. You would never guess what was going on inside.

I’m hoping now that it’s the new year….the house stuff will settle down. We still have to go over quite often to discuss how we want house 2.0…lots of decisions to make !(ones we are not prepared to make…so time consuming!) but now that the mess of the fire is over…it’s nice to see that our new house will be beautiful. I was always complaining about not having white cabinets…and while this is a pretty drastic way to get them….I’ll take it.

 

husband vetoed this one. boo.

Now I want want to turn tables and talk about the Blessings–I wanted to share because as sucky as this whole situation is….we have been  so blessed! We are very aware of the many tender mercies that have surrounded us!

*Perspective. After the call on the way to fire, my daughter was crying and said, ” I’ve been so worried about STUFF” I thought right then and there….”This fire can’t be all bad!” You very much realize how important things are…and how unimportant stuff is. I could grab anything I wanted to see if the restoration group could salvage it. And I sat there in my huge storage room and only really wanted 5% of the stuff that was in there. I keep thinking..we have too much stuff! Why do we have so many books when we don’t ever reread them and go to the library once a week!? Why do I hoard all these random supplies JUST IN CASE? Why do we have soooo many clothes when we only wear our favorites! I owl 16 pairs of pajama pants. I wear 4 of them. WHY DO WE ALL HAVE SO MUCH CRAP! Also….the fire could have been so much worse. My son could have been hurt.

*The fire station is literally down the road from our house. HUGE blessing. Fire spreads fast so I ‘m so happy that they could get it contained before it did any damage to our neighbors house.

*We had literally just moved our camper that parked in front of our house to get it winterized. like the day or two before, I kept thinking that it would have been RIGHT in the firefighters way if it was still there.

*Humbled: There are lots of Scriptures I have read that mention humbling yourselves. nothing is quite as humbling as having nothing. To rely on other people to buy me clothes and food. I would NEVER wish this on anyone…but I am so very glad that I have gone through this. It’s such a weird state of mind. I am better because of it. I have more empathy and sympathy. I can see the bigger picture and I am so aware of how I have been comforted by my Heavenly Father.

*the Weather-It was unusually warm for November! Having to spend so much time in the house without heat–it would have been so cold! (I mean ..it was still cold but not as cold as it should have been) The last day we walked through before everything got thrown away…it snowed and the temperature in the house read 37! BRRR!

*The Restoration company. I mentioned that the guy from the restoration company was my friend from high school. I thought it might be weird…but it has been SO NICE to have someone I know that I can bug and not feel dumb around! Their whole team has been so amazing. I can not say enough nice things about the Paul Davis crew!

*that it didn’t burn all the way down. There is NO WAY you can remember every little thing you have you in your house. I am so incredibly grateful that we were able to see the stuff that wasn’t salv because I know that I would have forgotten so much stuff! I actually ran into a girl at hobby lobby and she told me that she had a fire when she was a teenager. She said, “I don’t exist before I was 15.” Because all her stuff, photos, etc were burned! I’m so glad we all have a past! I’m glad we have photos and baby blankets and the stuff we loved! Also…I’m glad I don’t have to deal with trying to order new birth certificates and social security cards and that kind of stuff!

*The point in our lives. This is something that keeps popping into my head. 5 years ago…this would have been devastating. We didn’t have any extra money to go eat out and live in a hotel and buy all new crap. (insurance does reimburse you of course…but those first few days were all on us) I just think it has been so nice that this station of our lives, we are able to afford going through this and not have it be a big huge extra burden on us.–Also it was nice that I could take the kids to school and spend my day at the house. I kept imagining how hard this would be with small kids. I mean…babies have so much stuff! I would have had to find a crib and baby bottles and formula and diapers. So glad my kids are older!

*72 hour kits. As mentioned above…my son saved our 72 hour kits. We had made them less than a month earlier with the thoughts that if we needed to evacuate because of floods or earthquakes-we could grab them and go. NOT really planning on needed them for a fire. BUT…let me tell you….we have used those dang things so much. That first night we used the toothbrushes and wet wipes and hair brush and all sorts of little odds and ends that we didn’t think to grab! We ate the jerky and the candy while we were in the car waiting for the fireman. We used the underwear. We even dumped them out and the kids used them as backpacks when they went to school. They were the biggest blessing and we have every intention of remaking them again!

*Our rental house:

FACEBOOK Excerpt

” Last night I couldn’t sleep. I laid in a bed that wasn’t mine, on a pillow that wasn’t mine, in a house that wasn’t mine. And I thought to myself: this should be weird. It should not feel natural to move into someone’s house, use their dishes, sit on their couches, and decorate their fireplace with my stockings. I keep thinking: if someone moved into my house I would be stressing- did they take their shoes off after they walked in the snow? What if their kids were drawing on the walls! Some of my pans can’t go in the dishwasher! WHAT IF THEY PUT THEM IN THE DISHWASHER 😱😱??? But I can’t even tell you how smooth of transition it has been. From day one I haven’t felt weird as I’ve tried to figure out the dishwasher and what light switch works with what light. This house and all of the stuff inside of it has been the biggest blessing. It’s not really my story to tell on the circumstances of how we ended up in this perfect house that is right by our other house- but I can tell you that it’s been nice to think that maybe our fire situation was an answer to someone else’s prayers. #thankyouhawkins”

* Blog. I’m so grateful that I have this blog. First: because I have photos of my house as it was. I will not be recreating it. House 2.0 will definitely be a new clean slate….so I am happy I have the photos of what it looked like bf (before fire) to reminisce with.

( I have a post that shows what the house looked like on moving day)

and you can go here to see all these posts!

 

Also…I thankful for the people that have come into my life because of my blog. Which brings me to the last:

*People: My blogging friends and my blogging readers, neighbors, old roommates, friends, church, family! . I woke up one morning with over 400 messages on my instagram stories. It took me awhile to get through them all…but I have just felt so surrounded with love. My heart has been touched and I am a better person because of them all!  I am indebted to so many people!

A couple days after the fire, my mom sent me a text message that said D&C 84:88 –So I looked it up:

88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

89 Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.

At the time I was too much in survival mode to really focus in on the meaning of the verses. But a couple weeks ago at church, we started singing about angels—and I scrambled to find it.  This time the message hit me like a ton of bricks and I sat in a pew and cried. I cried because I have been the recipient of so many angels. We have literally been fed. We have literally been clothed. People have sacrificed their hard-earned money for us.  I cried because there is no way for you to EVER know just how much it means to me and my family.  The messages. The emails, The phone calls. The gift cards and dinners and blankets and packages and presents. The notes and prayers and thoughts and hugs.  I cried because there is no way I can ever repay you.  I cried because I have always thought I could do everything and I needed no one’s help….and I was wrong. I needed you. I needed every single one of you.

YOU are my angel.

About Kimbo

Kimbo blogs at A girl and a glue gun--where she puts her hot glue gun to good use (as well as her vinyl cutter and sewing machine) She loves all crafts and is thrifty (the nice way to say she's cheap) So she is constantly trying to come up with fast and easy projects that won't break the bank! She lives in Idaho with her hot husband and 3 kiddos.