I have to resume writing. Bear with me, please. Things are settling, but I feel like the snow globe of my life has been shaken up and I am still bouncing against the walls of it.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman says, "A home is more than a house, it is a state of being. A home provides space and shelter not just for bodies, but for the human spirit." My spirit wants it's roots back.
I want to go back to my burnt down house before the fire and just keep doing what I was doing, fixing it up post babies and keep doing what I was doing with making progress that I liked. The insurance company has taken good care of us and I cannot complain, but where I want to rebuild, they are dickering over the price as they should be doing. I have a roof, so what do I have to complain about? Really, nothing. I just miss my old life and an investigator said that I will never be the same person I was 15 minutes before the fire. I thought he was so full of nonsense when he said that-- it was a dramatic event, it was traumatizing, but I was me and was nohting else!(The guy was told me this as he was guiding me around the house as I, on automatic pilot, focused on just keeping my balance and being polite to the annoying neighbor. He wasn't being cliche to me-- he was being truthful. I kept telling him that he had things wrong and he'd say, "Ok, then you will be the first in 30 years!" and I would say, "I'm quite exceptional, you know." I don't know if he found me funny or if he was humoring me in my attempts to be funny.)
I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten up to go scan pictures into my computer or complete a project that I'd planned on doing in the months before that stupid fire only to putter around aimlessly, wonder why things are out of place and why I can't find things, and realize that they are no more.
I am supposed to say that it was all just stuff, but it wasn't! That crap that I had was part of me, it was stuff that I loved. We had 12 years of memories in that house, and what we had dragged to it from before we moved in. I had my favorite stuffed animal (Lamb Chop) in a dresser, and I wish I'd thought to get her out before I left. Five kids were conceived in that house, six took their first steps in it, two grew into adulthood after moving in with us and one was in junior high when it all happened. We lost pictures and books, and a poetry book from which I read to each of my children since the first one when I was 19. Cloud (in junior high) had saved all of her birthday cards from my dad and all of her presents from my husband on her Gotcha Day and had pictures of the two of them dating back twelve years. The fire took that all in six minutes. My house was not impressive, but it was ours with lots of memories.
My temp house is almost organized. I am in a neighbourhood where we have sidewalks and the houses are old, like 1970's. Narrow steps on split levels, tiny kitchens. The hardest part of the day for me is meal time. I had my issues with my old house, but let me tell you, I, for the most part, loved my kitchen. I knew where everything was, I had decent counter space and I had a decent pantry next to it. My new house has tall, tall cabinets that only Yao Ming could navigate-- if he wasn't tripping over Starshine, who likes to crawl in the kitchen meowing and pretending to be a kitten, or barking and begging and pretending to be an extremely annoying puppy. (So I call her my baby wombat and she never knows how to act over that because she doesn't know what wombats do. They probably act like kittens and puppies!)
I used to stand and eat at the bar ready with a dishrag for the spills and drips, or a napkin or towel, after I served my family around a huge oak table. Now we squeeze around things to sit down. When we are done rebuilding, Starshine will be five years old and won't need me poised to get her things or be spilling her drinks. I may have grandbabies!
The sidewalks are nice. I finally walked this evening. We ate out because my husband was doing a huge project for the insurance company on the table and we left the project, but before the meal was through, I told him that I wanted to walk home. I am sick of eating out. The month in the hotel made me tired of menus. I wasn't hungry.
We don't have a dishwasher-- I ordered a portable one from Sears and they canceled the morning of the delivery and are making me wait while they send my money back to me via the bank. (I started sobbing in the store. A dishwasher is important to me.) As soon as I get my money back, I am going to Lowes for one, and I will buy everything for my built up house from Lowes and sent Sears a copy of my receipts and what I paid. This wasn't the first time Sears messed up an order on me. My NINE children will remember why I don't buy from Sears and they will not buy from them and I talked two friends out of buying washer-dryers from them. Ordering appliances from a place that has it's central odering based a long way away and you get what you get. I totally support places like Lowes to encourage competition with Sears. May they become become "Sears. . . where America shopped."
I had been covering my hair and wearing long skirts for the last three years and have stopped. I am trying some other hair covers that don't look religious. The long skirt that I was wearing on the day of the fire was denim, but I had almost wore a favorite other skirt of a lighter cotton that would have caught fire too easily. When I went back in to the house, I couldn't crawl and had to walk and this, too could have hurt me. (Although one of the firefighters DID laugh quite hard at the idea of me trying to crawl in a long skirt and I had a complex for twelve seconds.)
Since not wearing the things (long skirts and religious looking hair covers) people are back to asking me obnoxious questions about why I have such a huge family. With what I was wearing, I was stereotyped and invisible-- answers to their questions were right there, I didn't have a big family because I liked children and chose to expand, I had a big family because I was religious! (One day I knew someone was stereotyping me and asked me the names of my kids and I said, "Jedediah, Jeremiah, Ezrah, and the boys' names are. . ." I had so much fun as I went into a bad accent!) I love my jeans now and I am back to making myself look nice on purpose. Few people ever looked past the clothes and it was OK-- I was married and a mother. When I take the kids out to eat and I am alone, I've donned the clothes so I don't get bugged. Seriously, I get the 3rd degree on my kids and I don't like it, it's like I am a traveling exhibit. "Your kids are good, do you spank them?" "Do you leave the younger ones with the older ones?" "Who babysits?" I so badly want to ask to see their checkbooks and personal information, but in a long skirt, "My husband doesn't let me discuss that." shushes people.
The neighbors annoy me. One lady looks just like the one at my old house and she smokes on her lawn so the smoke won't go into her house and it comes into mine. She complained that my kids wrote in the dust on her car-- the annoying neighbour kid at my burned down house did that on my car and I never said anything lest I looked petty. So this neighbour complained to my house owner who relayed it to me so, I had to tell my kids to stay away from her. This is sad because I like her kids, but they will probably be just like her so it doesn't matter.
Another dropped by and knocked and knocked and I was busy and didn't feel like answering the door. When I finally did (she kept it up for five minutes and I called my husband first to have him on the line to deal with the kook) and she was like, "I saw your cars here so I knew you must be around!" She had a kid with a runny nose, she'd heard of my family, maybe we could trade baby sitting hours. . . I told her that I am an illustrator and that I don't have time to visit and that I was doing a technique that had required me to be with my art and couldn't answer the door earlier and to call next time before she dropped by. She asked for my number and I said that I didn't give it out.
One of my friends bought a tattoo for me. It's of a phoenix and goes from my elbow to my shoulder. I love it.
I chopped off my hair three weeks ago and I love it. It shows off my eyes and my smile. (I do smile often in spite of the tone of this entry!)
I am not who I was fifteen minutes before the fire. Sigh. I'm not that excpetional. . . ;)