Today was one of those days. Nothing went right. My mood was right there with the lumpy, cracked cupped floor boards, the big nasty mosquitoes and the wind that blew out the charcoal in our little barbeque grill.
For most, anniversaries of any kind are emotional but when the anniversary is related to something painfully stressful, the memories and feelings about the event can ramp up. I knew this week before the second anniversary of the fire was going to be hard but I did not expect it to be like this. I thought it would be sad, wistful and maybe even sorrowful. What I did not expect was to feel the weight of a moving truck crushing down on my head bringing the replacement things we have in a warehouse here before the deadline I set. The fire was June 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm. I wanted to be moved upstairs no later than June 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm. I would not spend even a minute of a third year not in our replacement home.
About six months after the wildfire that burned through our valley taking with it our home and 65 others, it became painfully clear that we were not going to be home by the first year anniversary. There were a few families who made it, a very few made it in those first six months but of the 66 houses that burned only a couple did. After we missed the first year anniversary I pointed myself to Christmas of the next year. We would have missed being home for one Christmas but not two. All the family would come and it would be like a post card.
We stopped rebuilding our house on the site where it burned and regrouped. We retired and moved to Montana. We started our house in August. Our contractor said he thought it would take 4 to 6 months to build the house.We were delayed really starting until late October. We had record low temperatures. The wood in the house was complicated and time dragged on. I had this crazy notion that we might be able to be in by Thanksgiving.
I even conceded to the fire that we did not need a whole house, just a little space would be enough. We had to move out of the ski condo where we were living for Christmas. We had no house and we were not going to have our post card Christmas. At that point I was bargaining for anything that looked like home. I came up with the idea of our little basement apartment. We were going to leave things there when we had to vacate the ski condo right before Christmas and then travel to spend a couple of weeks with family to allow the building folks to do their work so we could move in when we got back.They assured us they would be working over the Holidays.
Christmas came and went and we had a foundation and some framing but not roof.
We stayed in a hotel for 10 days. We thought maybe by my birthday on January 11 we could be in. January 11 came and went and we did not live there. On the 11th, late and in the cold, we trudged up in the dark and left a small tool box of mine sitting in the corner of the garage that had no doors. I put my name on it and I put a green ribbon tied to it. I did not have a pink ribbon but I had a green one from somewhere so I used that. I did not have anything useful in that bag, I had to rummage to even find something to put it it. I was important, though. I did not want the house to forget that I belonged to it even though it seemed we were not destined to live in the same place. There was something pathetically sad to me to let my birthday pass without some link to the house.
We left the hotel and moved back into the ski condo. We had to be out by Valentines Day. I thought for sure we could move into our little apartment. No. We could not. It was not ready. Back to the hotel. It was almost ready. My spouse went out of town and what should have been a joyous event turned into a crisis. I ended up delaying moving for two days because I could not get all the work that needed to be done done by myself. When Sophie and I did move in we were so happy to be here. We were so tired that when the bed fell down off its frame I did not even get up to fix it. Neither she nor I thought it was important enough to muster the energy needed to do anything about it. I just pulled the covers up higher and she snuggled in closer and we both went back to sleep.
So here we are, 6 days short of the 2 year anniversary of the Charlotte/Mink Creek fire and I am still, metaphorically, sleeping in a fallen down bed. The house is not ready in a lot of places but it is in others. Right now, we have no front steps, or back steps for that matter, but you can get inside through the garage. The stove is not hooked up to the propane but we have a tank with propane in it. We have toilets that work and we have running water. We have everything necessary to “move in” except the floors.
I am still working on the floors. As of last Friday I did not have enough time to finish the floors in time for the movers to move our stuff in on Tuesday. I have most of the floors ready but you have to march though a room that is not ready to get to the rooms that are.
Here is the moving truck headed straight at me. Here is why my day was difficult on everyone who loves me. No matter what, first word out of my mouth was OK, second was not, third was an apology. Regroup. Re-run. No matter what I could not dig myself out of the ditch. I even slammed a door, hard. I don’t usually slam doors. I was shocked as it happened. A nanosecond after the shock, my intelligent brain lept over my emotional brain and pointed out to me that the house did not rattle at all, that it was rock solid. Nice. The very next sentence out of my mouth was snotty.
All day I kept regrouping. I would begin again. I would take a deep breath and reconsidering what was going for inspiration to survive with a little dignity intact. I regrouped and re-began so many times today I got a group rate.
The day, after with its many failed beginnings and re-beginnings, ended well. I had to stop working at midnight because my floor top coat had to dry and I found a cup of all natural, unsweetened apple sauce in the back of my little apartment fridge who will meet its elder, upstairs French Door fridge when it comes home from the warehouse on Tuesday.