I usually do not write two blog entries in one day but this is a special day. This is the day we return home.This is the day we move into our replacement house for the house that was burned by the Charlotte/Mink Creek wildfire on June 28, 2012. We have been waiting for 608 days for this day.
This morning I wrote about moving into our tiny 390 sq ft basement apartment in our as yet unfinished replacement house. This evening I can write from the 390 sq ft home within our home-to-be. I can tell you it is a fine place to sleep.
I had so much to do today that I woke up at 5 am thinking I might as well get on with it. I asked the hotel for a late check-out fearing the worst. In fact, I got everything packed and headed to our new home by noon. At 1:30 I texted my spouse who is out of town at a meeting that Sophie the dog and I were home and we were going to take a nap.
I hereby proclaim these 390 square feet are a fine place to take a nap. Granted both of us were exhausted, me with doing stuff and she with keeping up with me doing stuff but such a fine nap we had. Our little 8 ft x 11 ft bedroom that has a 2 ft by 3 1/2 ft bite out of it for a closet has a lovely pattern and shape from the view of the pillow. The ceilings are tall, 10 ft, and the variability of the closet wall and our 4 ft x 4 ft partially above ground basement window gives a welcomed view of the trees.
It is peaceful here at this house. The sweep of the ground as it runs gently down to the road is like a glade from a Christmas Card. The forest around is blanketed with snow. The deer shyly but with intent make their way browsing just at the edge of your sight. It you look at them they look up with their big eyes waiting to see what you have to say to them. It is also sort of noisy since there are four construction heaters going to help the drywall dry. It is like having 4 jet engines in the house. Three are upstairs in the unfinished part of the house and one is here in the garage/basement close to the door of our apartment but when we close the door it is sung and quiet.
The apartment is still in disarray. The bathroom is perfect. It is the only room that is not in disarray and I keep making sure that we have one island of organized space. It will stay organized since no one remembered that we would prefer hot water. Cold water it is, too, coming from a deep well through the snow-covered frozen ground. I have a small electric tea kettle so who actually needs heated water from a hot water heater?
I am not sure when we will get it all sorted out but I do want to have hot water and the apartment beautiful, even if it is not totally finished by the time my spouse comes home on Monday night. I want to again thrill and amaze him with my ability to tear a place up and put it back together before anyone truly catches me and makes me stop tearing stuff up. My dad said about my mom, “I never know what she will have done when I get home at night. One day I will go home and find she has taken the bed apart.” As the family story goes, she had taken the bed apart that very day to paint it. It seems I come by my need to re-do stuff honestly. It is in my blood.
I think today was the penultimate “How much can you get in a Subaru” day. We had tons of stuff at the hotel. I had drill bits and screws taken from my pockets when I returned to the hotel to sleep after working at the house all day. We had left over pizza that was delivered last night at 11:30 pm when we finally got dinner. In addition to clothes, dog beds and blankets, paperwork and some remaining salad dressing and mustard we had two computers. My spouse has a 1,000 ton Alienware computer that is the size of a Volkswagen bug. My computer is built into my monitor but the monitor is 26″ so it comes in a very large padded box .
We also had two loads of freshly laundered clothes We don’t have a washer at the house yet. I wanted to give us a running chance.
When all was said and done I stuffed into the Subaru two hotel luggage trolly loads and one shopping cart about 1/2 full. The hotel staff who were all happy that we were finally going home were shocked. I kept coming with stuff and I kept getting it in. I am certain that my Subaru is actually a Tardas from Dr Who.
After stuffing the Subaru, and not wanting to leave the house once I got here, I stopped off at a discount store to buy a mirror for the bathroom thinking I was being efficient. As I was paying for a rather large mirror that was 75% off, it struck me I had to get it in the Subaru. I quaked in my boots. Being stalwart, I told the sales person I could get it in. She kindly brought it out for me and I thanked her and invited her to return to the warmth of the store noting that I might be a while. I had told her the story of our move today and she stayed there in the cold with me as I found a place for the mirror. I don’t know whether it was a sweet kindness or waiting to see if my Subaru was going to explode. I know it was kindness and I think it was about the impending Subaru eruption. In a county where half the cars are white Subarus, who would want to miss the one that threw up household goods and a dog in a store parking lot?
Off and on through the 17 mile drive home I was quiet and normal and then I was crying. I could not say what affect went with the crying. It was sad but it was about going home. I don’t understand how I could feel sad when I was reaching a goal we have spent nearly two years trying to reach. It was not about losing the old house, that is mostly a memory of the past.It was not about moving home without my spouse being here. It was not about the new house very much.
It was about home. It was about knowing this was the last time we would stuff the Subaru and move to yet another place. It was about the wretched exhaustion and bleakness of the past 11 times we packed up and shifted locations again in the past 20 months. It was about me. It was about us. It was about our neighbors whose houses also burned that were on my mind today. It was about all those everywhere separated from their homes. It was about my overwhelming wealth and privilege to have a home to come to. It was about those displaced by war and disaster who will not have the resources to recover that I have had.
Before the fire I knew of sorrow and I knew of being displaced from home. I knew of victims of human and acts-of-god disasters. I know those things now and I know how extraordinarily blessed we are to be able to return to a home of our own.