Author Topic: Start to look on the bright side?  (Read 405 times)

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Offline RayG

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Start to look on the bright side?
« on: November 06, 2012, 02:54:44 PM »
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  • While I was barely affected by this storm, I am not unfamiliar with being wiped out in a flash. When I was 15, our house (essentially) burned to the ground 3 or 4 days before Christmas. Luckily, no one was hurt, since it started during the day. This was a fast moving fire as the furnishings of the time were basically synthetic and went up like a match. I remember watching the phone melting off the wall as my Dad was giving the info to the 911 operator while we were crouched near the front door, and when they asked what the phone number was at the location he kept his cool and with the greatest of restraint told them that if they called "he damn well wouldn't be answering the phone!". It seemed like forever until the first truck arrived (as instructed by the Boy Scouts I ran to the corner to make sure they found it. Not that they would miss this great black column of toxic smoke billowing out of the roof of a house) and an ambulance a short time later. I got them to take my Dad inside and check his heart because he had already had at least one heart attack by then. I remember it started to snow while waiting for the BFD (Brentwood FD) to arrive, but I hadn't paid that much attention to the weather. In all the confusion, somewhere along the line, My dad went back inside the house and got the car out of the garage (I yelled at him later for THAT little escapade) and parked it up the street. Dad was in the ambulance for quite awhile while I was pretty much in shock, wandering around the scene with a pair of shorts, t-shirt and sneakers. It was a stubborn fire, and just like in the movies- when I though they were almost finished, they started smashing out all the windows and spraying water into the attic. So whatever part of the 15% that wasn't affected by fire was now ruined by water. A total loss of a house. That's it, gone. After a couple of hours on scene, the FD finally wrapped up and decided that we could look around to see if there was anything to salvage (as mentioned earlier, gifts were saved), but there was little other than the presents. I sent my dad to a neighbors and started to look around and that's when I started coming off the adrenaline rush and realized I was fekkin cold standing out all day in the snow in a T-shirt and shorts. A neighbor realized what was happening and gave me a coat to wear. it was too small and not very warm, but it was something. Dad went to pick up my mother from work while I poked around with a friend from the block trying to find anything more than the gifts. Dad must have called the insurance company from the neighbors house, because while he was gone, the contractors showed up to start boarding up the shell of the house. Mom arrived and promptly broke down in tears as any Mom would. We all started looking through the house and getting ourselves filthy from the soot and muck. They finally closed up the house and we went off to find a hotel for a few days- the first night we stayed at a fancy kind of place that nearly threw us out when we showed up looking like chimney sweeps. Once we explained, they were super nice and offered us free dinner... once we got ourselves cleaned up, of course. The next day, the insurance company arranged for us to move into a local "motel" for a few days. Merry Frikkin Christmas at a 'no-tell' Motel. We spent that week there and didn't meet with the contractor until after the new year. Dad was shrewd and had full replacement coverage. Contractor said that was great and we could have whatever we wanted to rebuild the house as long as it stayed within a certain number that he was given by the insurance company. Re-design, upgraded appliances, furniture, etc... A few days later we moved out of the "motel" and into a trailer on the property for the duration of the rebuild. This is where the 'bright side' starts to kick in. Once the initial shock wore off, my Mom was in a much better mood. We were all safe and together in our "Mobeeeeel" home. Not warm, because the heat was barely there at the best of times. But for the next 3 months, she was able to be involved in redesigning the kitchen, picking out furniture, color of tiles and paint, etc... And that spring when we FINALLY were able to get out of our redneck mansion and into our newly finished house, we had COLOR TV! The greatest invention, ever... Mom had her "ideal kitchen": All Avocado appliances (remember those days?). The downside was that the Living Room became off limits since there was now a den for watching television. The Living Room was now for 'company' ::)  There was a new puppy that spring as well- that didn't quite work out but it was fun time getting our lives back to normal, or as normal as our family could be. The next Thanksgiving was a very special one and we had all the relatives over, and that went double for the Christmas that followed. We were grateful we were safe, alive and in the company of our loved ones.

    So as the rebuilding starts and the healing begins- remember, as bad as you might think you have it, there will be someone, somewhere who is worse off. You begin by caring for each other, and thanking God (Buddha, Shiva, Jehovah or whatever deity or non-deity) you didn't lose more. Helping out those who may need a bit more support to get them going. Start smiling and planning for your new beginnings- you can't dwell on the past, or change it, either. What's done is done - all the usual cliches can be added as well. You may think that "nobody knows what we're going through!", you might be surprised that there are a lot of people who know EXACTLY what it's like and you are not alone, and won't be alone through this.