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Today was not about hills but about houses. In between other tasks, including working on getting our building permit, today I spent more time that I would have liked looking for a self-catering cottage in Scotland.

I have been been frustrated by trying to find a place for us to stay. We simply did not plan far enough ahead. It seems that most cottages are available starting in October this year although some are not available until May, 2014. Worrying about having accommodations a year out, be they a self-catering cottage or a house to call home, is something we are getting used to.

We are right at the edge of finding out if we are are going to get our house. I don’t want to say yes or no right in case any of our County building folks are reading this. Still, we are hopeful. We had a site inspection today and I think that went well enough. We are still patiently waiting although some anxious waiting is in there too.

We are not talking about how long it will take to actually build the house. We don’t want to talk about it. This is the 299th day after the fire and we don’t have a stick of lumber or a nail to call our own. Even the log that is on my desk won’t help, it is only a few inches long. It would not even make a decent stool. Well, I suppose it would be a fine stool for a Hobbit toddler.

Sometimes I feel like we are Hobbits liking our homes so much. We are very tied to our place and find it satisfying to just be there. Sometimes we have holiday time and after long discussions about where we might want to go decide that there is no place we would rather than be home. I suppose that speaks to how we feel without it our house–off kilter like a Hobbit who had to leave the Shire. I have likened our time in this temporary house as being on a trip and I was not sure how it was going to feel when we got home since everything home is not there yet.

We moved into this temporary house after following a month at the Marriott hotel in our town. A few days after we moved in I went to Lowes and bought a refrigerator just like the one we had. When ours burned, it was only two years old. We loved that refrigerator. It was our first french door model and it was our first counter depth model. We loved the design. The french door makes getting fresh foods out of the fridge so easy. No bending over and rummaging in the bottom of the vege bin where there were things you really don’t want to know about because you could not see in the back of the bin when you should have known about them.

We liked the counter depth too, it gave us a whole part of a kitchen we did not realize was there. Moving out our old white 28 cubic foot refrigerator a.k.a the “white glacier” to replace it with the new 23 cubic foot counter depth refrigerator made a shocking difference in our kitchen. It was like adding a whole other room. We could get into heretofore nearly hidden cabinets and it opened the vista over the mountains. We always had the view and appreciated it but when the fridge was gone the view opened up on ways we never thought possible.

photo of kitchen with french door frig on the right back.

The fridge in this temporary house was a fine and functional but I wanted something that did not feel strange. It was a few weeks before the fridge arrived and it was an exciting day. We carefully moved the fridge from this house into the garage, making sure it was clean and the door is open for ventilation so that it was ready to move back in when we take our new fridge home.

In those early days after the fire everything was so strange. Looking back I don’t quite know how to characterize the feelings I had. I do know that everything was hard. It was hard to get going in the morning because it was hard to find your clothes because it was hard to tell which ones were yours and it was hard to tell what you had anyway. It was hard to wash your hair, it was hard feed the dog, it was hard to do about anything just because you had to figure it out each time. Nothing was familiar. I think the lack of familiarity was what wore on me the most.

When the fridge was installed and I finished putting our food into it I closed the doors and stood back to admire it, and of course cry. Back, but then everything make me cry when I was reminded of the loss. For our fridge I mostly had an almost smug satisfaction that we had something so important back under our wings.

I went on about my business, whatever it was. When dinner time came I went to the fridge to get things out to cook. I opened both doors and reached toward the back to get something. In the process I found myself effectively standing inside of the fridge. My head drooped, weary, and my arms were splayed behind me where I had grabbed the doors. In that position I was overcome with the exhaustion that seemed to be a constant companion for a couple of months. In that moment of despair came one of the richest belly laughs of my life.

I thought to myself, “As long as I keep my head in the refrigerator I could pretend the house did not burn down. It was just what I yearned for, it was just like before.

One cannot miss the meaning of burring your head in the fridge and ignoring things that are important like, oh, say, not having your house anymore. Still, it is not just about burring your head. It was about taking a rest. It was about taking a moment soak up the familiar without having to put it i context of the burned house. Yes, my house did burn down but this refrigerator was the same as my old one so I had a moment’s rest as long as I did not think about the walls that housed that refrigerator. It was a good moment. I have since stuck my head in the fridge for a moment of brief rest–seriously brief because it is so strange. I do find it comforting to be enveloped with  the french doors coming around me and as I take in the wide well lit interior of the fridge that feels so familiar.

I cannot live in my fridge. After we find a place to lay our heads for a few days in Scotland, I will build a house call home and I will bring my refrigerator