Somehow I thought it all my stuff burned, including the house it resided in, I was off the hook with housework. How wrong was I!

At first it is like, “Poor thing, everything is gone. How awful.” Getting out of housework the first couple of weeks was like being the sick kid getting out of chores.  At first everyone wanted to take care of you but so you just sat there in a bit of a stupor. After a couple of days you were so bloody board and needed to be moving that when you re-straightened the covers on the hotel bed the 14th time you said you did it because it “just needed a little touching up.” Everyone delicately avoided mentioning that you had said it 13 times already that day. No one mentioned that sifting through the debris of what had been your house was a strange sort of housework.

After a you get through the first couple of weeks, those around you think you are gaining a little strength and could start taking on a few things without “overtaxing yourself.” Here come those real chores, dish washing, laundry, taking out the trash and suddenly you felt a little faint. Everyone rushes up to help thinking they pushed you too hard. As soon as you let them do it you realize that was a mistake. You really do feel a bit faint but it is not the dishes, the laundry or the trash. It is that everything you used to wash, dishes or clothes, or trash that you took out is  gone. You have the water and the soap but not the stuff to use it on, you have the trash but not the can to put it in.

After a little while longer the fog begins to life and you can differentiate day from night and up from down. After the shock and stress of the fire, you discover that there are not so many chores but they have to be done often. The hotel kitchen only has three plates and you use two at a meal. You have 2 pair of pants and 3 tee shirts so laundry needs to be done more often than when you had 5 pairs of pants and 7 shirts.

A little more time passes and in about a month you realize you are living in a mess. The new things are starting to accumulate but it has not dawned on you that you have “stuff” again and that stuff needs taking care of. I requires a place. Ah, here is the problem at this stage. You have nowhere to put your stuff. You are still living in a hotel room or with relatives who have doubled up to give you a room. The stuff ends up stuffed into boxes and finding the stuff you are looking for means that stuff is now all out of the boxes so you could find the right stuff. Trouble is you are still weary and confused from the aftereffects of the fire so it is just as likely that you (a) put the stuff back in its boxes nicely, (b) leave the stuff where it fell out of the box while you single-mindedly looked for a particular item of stuff, or (c) forget that the stuff is there and wander off to do something else.

We got into a temporary house at one month after the fire. It is a fully, and I mean fully, furnished house. It is furnished like a vacation condo with some of the owner’s things about. This is a really BIG place, there are a lot of things furnishing its 6,000 square feet. The workroom is lovely with shelves and nice light. All of the shelves were empty when we moved in. We now have all of our camping and outdoor gear neatly organized there. Sometimes I want to go sit in that room because there is logic and order to it.

The rest of the house supports two families. The original family who built this house sold it furnished to the current owner. She is now renting the house to us since her work is elsewhere. We are living in an archeological dig that dates back to 1974. It is a lovely dig, furnished with nice things along with its green, gold and red shag carpets but it is a dig. We jostle around our pots with theirs, our cutting boards and theirs, our plates, their plates, etc. Things are all well organized and taken care of but it is like having two families in one kitchen. And so it goes throughout the house. We neatly placed the towels in the cabinets above the racks where they resided and put our towels on the racks. The others are fresh and waiting to be reinstated when we leave. Thus, the bathrooms have two families.

We moved the twin beds in the master bedroom into a closet and moved in our own new bed. There are two sets of beds in the bedroom; the bedroom has two families.

Of the two families in the house, one does not make much mess other than cobwebs but the other does. The one family lives here in spirit along with their furniture, paintings and silk flower arrangements. We live here with out stuff and like any present family, we make a mess and it needs to be cleaned up.

I thought if I did not have much stuff I would not have much to clean. Seems I am wrong. As irritated as I can be about having to clean house, it is a very good thing to have a house to clean, even if it is only a temporary house.

dog in dog bed with eggplant toy.

Right after the fire Sophie had one toy, Eggplant, and one blue bed so it was easy enough to clean up. Now she has several toys that people have given her, three her winter coats, three leads and two beds. It is harder to keep it all tidy and organized.