I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007


Life has been in a bit of a holding pattern since the fire at my sister's place last Thursday. Not that things haven't been happening (since really we seem to have been almost constantly on the go), but I feel as though little is getting done. School has been on a definite break for my girls and my nephews, though R did get some more work done on her Historica project. I figure the academics can wait for a bit and we'll just add it on to the end of the year - but the Historica fair is next Thursday, and I want them to do their projects justice. Things seem to be stalled, that's all.

Meanwhile, on the fire front, my sister and her husband have been busy making calls, figuring out their plans for the future. It's been surprisingly good having 9 people in our little house. I guess the right attitude makes all the difference. We did go through the salvaged photo albums and pull out a good many pictures, and on Tuesday my sister and I went to the house site and started going through the piles of rubble. She was alternately laughing and in tears, depending on what we pulled out. A few interesting finds:
- pages of paperbacks from one area of the house, and intact books with soot on the covers in their bedroom, the least-burnt part of the house
- intact Lego and melted Lego ... what decided what melted, I wonder?
- a gift for M's birthday, still in its plastic bag and perfectly good to give to her
- my bro-in-law's chain saw, melted down one side
- the side wall of the computer, effectively dashing any hope of finding a hard drive that could be rescued
- metal that had melted, then cooled in little metal puddles
- glass that had done the same - according to the fire department it was a very hot fire
- part of their nativity set (one wise man, Mary, and the Baby). We should find Joseph or people will start to talk
- a couple more photo albums
- the large metal plate that held the strings of the piano
- skates that had been fused together
- more Christmas decorations, including outdoor lights (the cable all melted together), window candles (melted and broken), strings of beads (intact and looking strange, all bright and shiny against the drab grey and black of the charred wood and ash), and three needlework decorations (the wooden frames were gone but the fabric and stitching was not even singed)
- a bunch of dishes in a metal rack, which took us a moment but then we realized was the rack from their dishwasher

It is strange to see the items that we think of as making up 'home' reduced to rubble and barely-recognizable bits. But then, it reminds us that home isn't in the things. It's much more intangible than that. I saw a quote online and now wish I could recall it - of a little girl whose house had burned down and when someone said they were sorry she had lost her home, she replied, "Oh, we still have a home, we just need a house to put it in." I like that.

It was an afternoon of hard work and realizing that my muscles have gotten out of shape over the winter.

Today was an afternoon meeting with the group planning a weekend retreat for pastors' wives for which I've been asked to lead the worship times. That's at the end of March.

Tomorrow is band rehearsal for Sunday. A set list would definitely be a good thing for that, but my mind is acting very lazy this week.

And in true "ha-ha-you-thought-winter-was-ending-but-I've-got-one-more-storm-brewing" Mother Nature style, we're supposed to get the biggest storm of the winter tomorrow night. I'd normally relish the thought of a snowstorm, but our older sister is hoping to come up this weekend (yay! more people in the house!) for a visit we have all been hoping for. I don't want her on dangerous roads, though.

My thoughts are stupidly scattered. They're sort of running here and there, peeking around the corners of my mind then running away again, then hiding behind things and jumping out to yell "boo!" and then laugh maniacally and run away again.

Look, there goes another one.


Cathy said...

I posted a comment on your entry below as well; this is horrible news to read, Barb.
I am so glad that they are all fine. Our best wishes to everyone.

barb said...

Hey Cathy, thanks. I'll pass it on to them. They really are doing well, all things considered. I'm glad we can be here to help out.

sue said...

"What decided what melted?" Indeed. The needle work minus frames... It really is incredible.
What, besides the pets of course, have brought the most tears? I am anxious to just sit with her with a glass of wine and listen. I don't think it will be tonight, however....

barb said...

Definitely the pets, but they would have succumbed to smoke inhalation very quickly so it would have been pretty painless for them. Family photos and a ceramic house made by someone very special were two things that she first thought of, but we found the house (cracked from the heat) and are salvaging photos.