We got moved to a nicer hotel yesterday, we actually have a sitting room and kitchen now. We will stay there until Tuesday or Wednesday when we get our rental house.
Tessa is really freaked out. We spend 45 minutes consoling her last night and telling her that we were safe now and that the smoke alarm would not go off where we were. There would be no smoke, etc. We just had to tell her over and over, she kept asking the same questions.
So this morning, I got up after not sleeping for a while, it was finally morning and got into the shower. While I was in there I heard a loud noise. I thought to myself, “No, it just could NOT be… it would not be the smoke alarm.” Sure enough Jay poked his head in the door and told me the smoke alarm was going off.
I got out, and since there was no visible smoke yet, I threw some clothes on and a towel around my head, grabbed some stuff and we ran out to the van with the kids. (It was about 6:15am at this time, they were all still sleeping. And Yes, Ben was again in his underwear!!!)
After a few minutes, Jay went in to see if he could find anything out and the alarms were off and the hotel staff let everyone know it was just a kitchen fire and was out now and we could all come back in.
Ack. Did I not have enough adrenaline?????
Paisley is doing okay. She found some pictures and her journal in her room and seemed to take a lot of comfort from finding those. Her room is just unrecognizable. It is amazing. You can hardly tell what you are looking at.
Even though the fire was confined to her room, the heat wasn’t. I found a calandar hanging in the hall by my bedroom door and it was ripped and charred. There are plastic things in the little kids’ room that are melted. This is the room farthest from Paisley’s room.
Miraculously, the school room, right next to Paisley’s room, even the other side of the wall from where they think the fire started – is the least damaged, and the corner where my pictures are kept… is smoke damaged but intact!!!! My pictures will be okay!!!! My guardian angel must have gotten me safely out of the house and flown up to protect these treasures of my heart! Thank you, God!!!
I will keep you posted as things happen, there is not much else for me to do. I can’t be at the hosue because I don’t want Max exposed to the fumes. I had to wear a mask just to go inside, and even then it was horrible! Jay has been there most of the day to let construction, cleaning and insurance people in and out. Neither of us could sleep last night just thinking of the possibilities. Tessa had a fretful night too, and has become more and more clingy.
Paisley and James are going back to school tomorrow. I think they want some normality to their lives and they need the support of their friends right now.
You know, if this had to happen to anyone, we were good people for to happen to. We are surrounded by incredibly loving and supportive friends and family. God is incredibly good to us. I don’t know if it is just that I am in shock or if it is that we are so insulated by the love of our friends – I just can’t be very upset right now. It all boils down to an incredible inconvenience. And even though there will be some things that will be missed eventually, we have wanted for nothing so far. (Except for pillows – but that was the fault of the hotel.) There are so many out there who have no one. Max’s (future) Godfather showed up on the scene before the fire was even out just o make sure that we were okay and offer his help!
I saw the house this morning. It’s like a horror movie. The entire contents of all four bedrooms need to be replaced. Toys, clothes, furniture. They have good insurance, but there are things that come up during the day…like, they are staying at a hotel without a fridge or a table to eat at; I am trying to round up snack foods, water bottles, juice boxes, etc. Things that can sit out, KWIM?
All their food will need to be thrown away…the whole place reeks. Paisley’s room is a black, charred mess; the other bedrooms are soot stained with black water stains on all the walls. Toys are melted on shelves; clothes are horribly smelly–the ones that didn’t burn, anyway.
The downstairs is pretty much salvedgable, and the schoolroom with photographs looks pretty good. They’ll be out of the house for 6 weeks at least.
It is heartbreaking. I took the three middle kids home with me yesterday while smoke was pouring out of the second story, to get them away from the scene. It was on all the news stations.
They have a divine mercy wall hanging in the stairwell; it is black with water stains running down the wall from it. It looks almost satanic.
The kids and I were waking up this morning around 7:15, I got Max’s diaper changed and put some clothes on him. I was about to had him off to Posy and jump in the shower, but was sitting on the end of my bed talking to the kids a little bit when I smelled something funny. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. Then I looked up and saw smoke start to pour into my bedroom! I just yelled out, “The house is on fire!” and told the kids we were getting out. As we ran to the stairs I could see light in the bathroom and in Paisley’s room, but didn’t stop to see where the fire was coming from.
I got the kids out the door, set Max in his car seat (which was right by the front door, with a blanket inside it, THANK GOD!) Then I ran back into the house to get my phone. I called 911, grabbed a blanket and Ben’s shoes, and my car keys and went back outside. I put the kids in the van to help keep them warm while we waited for the fire dept. to get there.
So that is how it all happened.
Ben was wearing his underwear and a jacket that I grabbed on the way out the door, Tessa had jammies and bare feet, Posy had jammies and bare feet, and I was in my pajamas too! (The other kids were at school and Jay was at work.) We literaly left with the clothes on our backs. Kathi came and picked up everyone but Max. The paramedics checked Max out just to be sure, and he was fine.
The fire seems to have started in Paisleys room. The whole upstairs is pretty much ruined, with pretty extensive smoke damage downstairs too. Jay is there with the Ins adjuster and dealing with whoever else – constuction companies, public adjusters… this is a new labrynth to us.
We are both just kind of lost and feeling unable to make any decisions right now. I just keep going back to the fact that we are all fine and no one was hurt at all. Thank you God!!!
The last three years I have picked out a “virtue” or something that I want to work on in myself. The first year it was Peace, last year was Diligence, this year I have picked Sacrifice. I know that those aren’t really virtues per se. But it is easier for me to simply remember one little word and renew my focus.
I chose sacrifice this year because I suck at it. I am horrible about giving things up and I am horrible about keeping my focus on God instead of the small stuff in my life.
This year for Christmas, Posy gave me a painted wooden heart that says “Mom” in slightly lopsided letters. It occured to me that each day my life makes a gift to God. Sometimes the best gift I can give him looks more like a black-marker-scribble on a piece of scrap paper, some days it is a painted, lopsided heart done with the best of intentions, some days I manage to churn out a masterpiece. But my masterpiece days are few and far between. I have more lopsided hearts. But the important thing is that I am offering it to Him as my gift, no matter how imperfect. If I get frustrated and throw away my work I am just spinning my wheels, getting burned out, and not doing any good.
So in these days of not getting anything done but holding a baby and praying that the other kids don’t kill each other or our house collapse from mess, I have to remember to make the best effort I can and offer it freely and lovingly to my Father in heaven.
I hung the heart that Posy gave me up in my bathroom, where I wash my hands after every diaper change. 🙂 So I will see it and be reminded of it many times a day.
I would love to lose weight, handle money better, be a better homeschooler, mom, wife, and friend. I don’t intend to neglect those things. But when I lose my focus this year I will picture that heart and remind myself that I need to be a living sacrifice.