Finding a house is rough! I had no idea how hard it is to find a place to dwell. I think of "to dwell"-- to live, a permanent or at least semi permanent place to live, and I have always taken it for granted. I met a lady yesterday from Guatemala and she came to America the old fashioned way-- over the border 25 years ago. She is now legal, but while I am temporarily homeless, the desperation that drove her to leave her country was sickening. I am homeless, but she had been roofless. I don't feel happy thinking of people worse off than me, but I did whisper prayers of thanks for what we have and asked G-d to take care of those who struggle far worse than we have.
Today marks a week post burn. I was lucky to get out of my house as I did. On the day of the fire, I swore that I had never in any real danger, that there was never much smoke for me to breathe, that I got out with time to spare, etc. Memories are coming back. When I decided that the fire was too big for me to deal with, I left the room fast, went to my sons' room to put out a candle (I had thought that the fire would be contained to the one bedroom) and went to the living room to get the kids who were home out. I saw the bedroom that was on fire as I had to pass it again and it had spread the length of the bed and gone across the room. I must have gotten out right before it went "voomph" (my word for being taken over in flames without an explosion.) When I recollected this to my husband, he said that the fire investigator said that with the polyester covers and the stuff that mattresses are made of, that this would have happened.
I really hope that this doesn't become a focal point of my life-- what COULD have happened. Right now I am thinking about it a lot, but it was only last night that I realized how much danger I was actually in. The first few days after the fire, I was imagining my kids stuck in the house when 7 of the 9 were in school and college. They weren't in any real danger. I was less than a minute away from being seriously hurt. I was moving fast but not aware of how bad it could have been. I keep thanking G-d for the fire safety classes from elementary school so I knew to get out.
I went to bed and slept without valtrex last night, but my doctor wants me to keep a 3 day supply on hand lest I be kept awake with memories as they return. (He wanted me to have more but I am afraid of getting an addiction. I have my favourite pharmacy but it's not open on weekends and he wants me to have access.) When he said this to me a few days ago I was like, "I was never in danger, stop that!" He was a Navy firefighter and smiled at me and said, "Your house burned down in 20 minutes and you had to have been in there for at least five. You are not remembering things and you will be a little shaken up when they come to your mind. Right now you are assuring yourself of your safety." Am I freaked out? I don't know. It's scary for the close call, but there are KIDS in Afghanistan who are under fire every day, seeing their friends get hurt and getting closer calls than I am. People are in custody battles-- put me in the hands of AllState to an Alaskan judge any day! I had PTSD over my custody battle several years ago-- for over a year afterward, with the battle taking 3 years, I was calling my lawyer confirming things that I just missed!
The house-- one of the nights my husband went out to look at a place, he said it looked like the family had just disappeared, like evaporated from the face of the earth. (This was with Another Company, NOT Jack White/Prudential, who AllState suggested.) The leasing agent wasn't even embarrassed! She shrugged her shoulders, "The renters were given a 24 hour notice." The place stank and the dishwasher was open with yuck in it. I realize that the agent didn't have control over what the renters did, but she could have pretended that she was sorry for wasting my husband's time as well as that of the two other couples who were looking.
Why are the renters of that place so rude? I was a single mom and had just had a baby. The owner wanted to sell and there was no way I could get things cleaned up so he could show it, so I told him that I'd like to get out of my lease so he could sell the place and he was thankful for my consideration of him.
Jack White is established, but we had wanted to give a smaller, upstarting company a chance. Well, there is a reason that the bigger companies do better. Maybe if James and I amass a bunch of rentals, we can work with a fledgling firm and help them get off the ground, but we are a family of nine who needs a house three days ago. Jack White had several homes for us to look at and they have been excited to show us the homes. I'm all, "I want to cry! I lit the candle that burned my house down!" and they are saying, "What is done is done, it was an accident and you won't do it again. You have a chance to do a little better, try out a new nighbourhood, see if you like it! Allow yourself to enjoy this!" That is nice. They want us to have a nice experience.
Another rental company was contacted by friends. I didn't know (and don't mind) and I called and asked after a place. I mentioned that I needed a place ASAP as my house had burned down. The woman who had an annoying voice told me a bunch of info on me and when I finally told her to stop talking about me and that I wanted to see a house, she said it was too small. I asked if she had another one in what her first decided was my size. Well, no. . . I couldn't fathom why she gabbed so much at me and yelled at her for wasting my time. That was another small firm. Maybe she was bored?
We saw a house yesterday on Lake Luciele where we could see SP's float plane-- my mother and step dad were in ecstasy when I told them! They'd fly up just so they could be on the lake where she lives. (This can be sung!) I'm not crazy about the x-guv but what got to me about the house was that it has a white carpet. It's like a '70's show house with a cool staircase and very open, lots of wood. A gargantuan intercom which isn't needed in a house like that because it's so open.
Another house is really cute and is a tri-level that I loved, but it's in a neighbourhood that I think was built on a man-made hill. My mom used to be huge in insurance in Alaska and when I looked in the back yard and saw the cliff, then saw what appears to be a sink hole, I thought of what kinds of gymnastics she'd do if she saw it. Really, it was maybe 30' from a cliff and you could see that it just isn't safe. One slightly bad earthquake would send this cute house careening down the wooded yet almost vertical cliff! We could end up with the Crumpet Annual Disaster Relief Fund!
Cloud saw a house on the other side of the area that we live in. She'd have to change schools, but she said that two friends are moving over to the other school anyway and they are on her athletic team. She loves the house and I may go for it. She wants to choose from the donated furniture. . . I will get to design our new house, but I think for her, coping may be to design and do this interim place. She even pointed out the neighbourhood to me, "You can walk every night and we've been here at Christmas and everyone has pretty lights!" She's adorable!
One of my son's former teachers had a housefire a few years ago. Apparently she was talking to a fireman after a fire prevention class for her students and he got a call and had to go. A half hour later, her husband called the school and told her that she had to come home, that their house was on fire. She went and the fireman she'd been talking to was there with his crew.
Last night we went to a church family's house for dinner. They are so nice and sooooo smart. Very learned people. I started crying for my books when I saw theirs. I'd borrowed a book from "the wife" and started to cry more because of course I can't return it. I wanted to know what it was so I could get her another one and she wouldn't tell me so I can't buy her another one! My books. I have so many thank you notes and I looked in my new art supply area of the hotel and only one book survived that I took out after the fire, but it's not in great shape. [I do artwork on my envelopes and it's important to me and the books are gone. :( ] I miss them. If I didn't have kids, I might have died saving my books! I know that bibliophiles understand this.
I had just wanted to update on the rental and I said more. Did you stay with me? I am doing well. Memories are coming out that are bugging me and may shake me, but I have a life to live and lives to lead. I have a penpal who I normally write several times a week just because I normally come up with things to draw and I need to write to him today, and there are thank you notes that I am blessed to write. I am buying a charity box for our new place-- our pushke that we had got burnt up in the kitchen and I hope that some of the money can be washed and recovered and donated to an emergency fund-- it was getting heavy!