I kinda still can't believe it, though trust me, it's very very real.
We had a fire.
It was so so crazy scary. Traumatizing really. You don't get over what we saw that day right away.
It burned a lot of our property, including extensive damage to our windows and siding.
It burned our backyard. Not singed - most of the grass was gone.
We have no shed or much fence.
It burned in spots all over our garden including our fruit trees and most of the plants we'd already put in this year.
It burned all my perennials.
It burned all our shade trees.
We had to leave for a few days because of the smoke/no utilities.
(all of these photos were taken the night of the fire)
I didn't want to blog about this right away for privacy issues and because emotions were just so raw. I was a mess for a few weeks. No lie.
It has been harder emotionally than I could ever have imagined. I held it together that night, even cracked some jokes with neighbors. But then I kinda fell apart. And I would think I was okay, and come back to the house and fall apart again. And again.
I'd have mad days, sad days, and smad days.
I've been working on patience (a lesson I needed maybe?). Patience with my crazy emotions, with people around me, with how long everything has taken to get fixed. Oh wait, nothing is fixed yet except the A/C. I am ready for everything to be done. It's been hard seeing the neighbors' houses being worked on and not ours (it affected quite a few families - ours is the 2nd worst as far as damage goes).
We are grateful to be able to live here, though - our neighbors are out of their house until the end of summer while their home is repaired. That would have been SUCH a huge disruption - can you imagine my red-headed spectrum kiddo being okay with that transition?
The fire affected everything. Since the pneomonia a couple of years ago my body tends to freak out and make me sick or get a random infection when anything stressful happens. So I was sick for a few weeks (even turned into an ear infection -yay!).
It also threw off:
speech and match tutoring at the school
callings at church
going out of town for Memorial Day (nope - gotta fix those melted sprinklers!)
my daughter's next door friend not being here all summer
no backyard for the summer - the kids haven't been able to play back there (grass growing back + dangerous stuff still + no privacy + swingset damaged + can't eat out on the back porch ETC ETC ETC)
putting off the home improvement projects we had slated for this summer. There will be enough of them going on. Not much we needed/wanted done of course.
extra Dr. appointments.
our relationship with neighbors - one of which we'll have on-going issues with now that the trees are gone.
our garden! It was so lush and pretty and produced SO MUCH FOOD for us in the summer. It's really my husband + Monkey's garden (still). And it's amazing. And they're sad. Even the compost piles are gone.
The girl's birthday. Had to simplify a little, not get her the big present we'd been planning (because it was a project and we had no time), but her party had to go on. And it felt SO good to be creative for it. Which is why I was extra sad to lose those photos.
Not to mention our financial plan.
Seriously, name something in our lives - the fire disrupted it.
We've spent hours and hours and hours calling people, meeting repair people at the house, talking with insurance, and Aaron has had to scramble to fix melted sprinklers, etc. (not to mention decision-making and major stressing). Hours we'll never get back. Not to mention that the time Aaron had already spent on the garden this year was for naught.
And none of this was our fault.
We tend to find ourselves looking out the back windows a lot. The view is so different.
Some days it still smells like smoke quite a bit - and it's been awhile now.
When Aaron mows the lawn, he ends up covered in soot.
With all the sadness and complaining, I cannot deny that we were watched over.
Lots of people were in the right place at the right time that afternoon. Including Thomas, who was at cub scouts instead of watching everything go up in flames like my other children did. It was a crazy fast and hot burning fire, and was very dramatic. So glad he missed (most of) it. Monkey is still not okay with what happened.
We had propane tanks in the backyard that didn't blow. Miraculously.
We had tree branches stretching over part of the roof of the house. The trees burned, and I was just waiting for the roof to catch, but it didn't.
We can live without the shed.
Some of our flowers, grass and some plants are starting to come back.
And we're all okay. No one was hurt.
(The backyard toys all melted)
The fence? That's so much harder to live without. We had such a private, green, shady backyard. That's gone now. No more leaves (they all fell - it was fall in the Spring!), soon no more trees. And people STILL go by our house and gawk and point and take pictures. And sometimes climb over the fence. We have caution tape, what's left of the gnarled fence, and private property signs, and still people climb over?! Seriously. People are rude.
On the right below you can see the remains of our neighbor's shed. What you can't see is the remains of our shed, which was next to that. It's just gone. We also had a wood fence up against the chain link - not a sign of that left.
We don't know yet how much of a financial toll this will take. It was looking okay, then scary bad, then not so scary/still bad, then maybe okay again. We'll see.
Sorry for not being able to blog about this earlier - so weird purposely skipping such a MAJOR part of our lives here on this blog. But if you look back, you can see hints (if you knew what was going on). The fire is why our quilts were all washed (by a kind friend), why my daughter washed all the doll clothes and has an air purifier in her room, why I was happy to see one lone iris bloom that made it through. It's also why I was so glad I got out my camera to take everyday photos of our backyard (seriously, click back and compare). So green and shady and full of plants!
We'll get there again.