We didn’t start the fire…..really!

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Been a while, friends!  Just as I left you with my idea of video blogging PCOS related content, I up and vanished.  I have a really good reason, I promise!  We had a house fire and have been out of our home since mid April.

It all started on laundry day, with my very last load of laundry.  The dryer had just buzzed about 15 minutes earlier when I noticed a burning smell.  I happened to look outside the master bathroom window and saw smoke coming from the dryer vent.

Immediately, I ran downstairs to investigate.  The first thing I did was unplug the machine.  I noticed a very small amount of smoke coming from the left side of the dryer (we have or should I say had, a stackable unit, to help you visualize) so I opened the dryer door, still full of freshly washed and dried clothes.  I pulled out the lint basket, and could see flames inside of the machine.  (Side note, I am super OCD about emptying the lint after every single load, always, and we had even recently taken apart the whole dryer and vent to vacuum every little bit of dust and debris!)

I ran and grabbed a cup of water, throwing it on the flames, which seemed to do absolutely nothing, meanwhile the smoke was filling the laundry room.

The power ended up going out, so I used my cell phone to dial 911 as I rushed to get the dogs outside and then ran out onto the porch with Sara while we waited for help.  It was pouring down rain, I was soaked, and completely freaked out.  We had no shoes on, my cats were still in the house, and by the time the fire trucks arrived, our house was billowing smoke.

I called Abe frantically after calling 911, telling him what was happening, and ultimately hanging up on him as I rushed around trying to figure out what I should be doing.  When he later showed up, I was shocked, it hadn’t even crossed my mind that he would leave work, that’s how scrambled my brain was, trying to digest what was happening.

I hurt myself, running barefoot up a wet, grassy hill to secure the dogs for the firemen.  I heard and felt a big POP, and was suddenly in excruciating pain.  It turns out I tore my calf muscle, pretty badly, and was in an insane amount of pain for several weeks to follow.

The cats were rescued by the firemen, and Abe, who had to collect Brady and Katie.  Moriarty was all chill, and let the fireman carry him and bring him straight to me.

The fire broke the main water line, which the fire marshal says helped to put out the fire.  I knew we had a lot of damage, but I honestly expected to be back in the house within a week or two.  That is, until the contractor told us his estimate for finishing was 3-4 months.  *insert jaw dropping shock here*

The amount of things we lost is mind numbing.  Nearly all of our clothing, I mean everything for everyone of us!!  My craft room and Abe’s office were completely destroyed, nothing left.  The vast majority of the kids toys, all completely gone, lost to the fire and water damage.

The playroom where we spent so much time, where we recently renovated with new flooring and built ins, completely destroyed.

Handmade gifts that took hundreds of hours to make, the kids artwork, photos, books, collectibles from childhood and little keepsake memories, all gone.

But you know what wasn’t gone?  My family.  My kids, my furbabies, even our aquarium full of fish!!  We are all safe, and other than my torn calf muscle, all completely unharmed.

What a BLESSING!!!

Our friends, our neighbors and our amazing dance family took care of us when there was no one else there to help.  When I woke up in the hotel room, hearing one of my babies coughing and then began to cry because I had no medicine, nothing to give them, our dance family answered with cough drops and toys and clothes and toiletries.  I cannot count the tears of gratitude I have shed, being lifted up by all of our adopted family members, when we had no one to turn to and no answers.

Yes, we lost all of our “stuff”, but it turns out we were rich beyond measure and never even realized it.

We spent about 6 weeks in the hotel, before the insurance company found us temporary housing at a rental house near our home.  On the second night in the rental home, we found ourselves once again surrounded by firemen.

A carbon monoxide alarm starting going off, just as we were preparing to go to bed.  Thank goodness, because when the fire department came out, and the fire marshal assessed the home, he told us had we gone to bed that night, not knowing about the leak, we would have likely never woke up the next day.

Take a moment to digest that.

After walking away from a house fire unharmed and living in a hotel for 6 weeks, we nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  All of us, the children, the dogs, the cats, we all could have died.

Well, if we weren’t insanely thankful to be alive before, we certainly were now!!!

Can you imagine?!

So back to the hotel we went, for about 4 days, while the water heater, which was the cause for the leak, was replaced.

Having endured so much, and roughing it with so little, we got a letter in the mail from our insurance company.  What we had expected to be a reimbursement check, turned out to be a non-renewal notice.  The insurance company decided not to renew our policy, right smack dab in the middle of a huge claim!!  The house is demo’d and awaiting construction, and now we had to worry about finding coverage for our home that was unoccupied and destroyed.  Let me tell you, it is not possible.  The answer, is lender forced coverage which can cost 10 times as much for less coverage!

This is when I officially shut down and started having full blown panic/anxiety attacks.  We’re talking, not able to sleep, constant fear and stress, worried we will lose our house!  I started imagining having to rent a trailer, losing the perfect home that we loved and worked so hard for.  It was extremely painful, and excruciatingly traumatic on top of everything else.  Absolutely the straw that broke this camel’s back.

We immediately called our agent’s office, who was shocked that we got the letter in the first place.  They vowed straight away to “rattle cages” and find us answers.  This all sounded good, but weeks went by and time was running out.  I wasn’t sleeping, I wasn’t leaving the house, I was super depressed beyond words.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we got the amazing news that they were able to get our policy renewed…..for a higher premium and higher deductible.  But still, the amount of amazing, sweet relief this gave us…….immeasurable.

So here we still sit, in the rental home, no construction started yet, grrrrr, waiting for some good news and very cautiously able to breathe again, hoping to have nothing but good news and happiness in our future.

We usually have big birthdays for our kids, something I absolutely love to do, but have not been able to do with the two kids who had birthdays since all this madness started.  And we are gearing up to have a third birthday away from home, along with starting the new school year.

I had really hoped we would be home by now, I miss our beautiful home, I miss our veggie garden and spending the days outside swimming or playing or just relaxing on our own furniture surrounded by our familiar things.

I hope we have big news on construction soon, and maybe the contractors will surprise us and finish ahead of schedule.  I won’t nit pick and get into all the other problems we have had with various companies, etc during this experience, because in the end, it just doesn’t matter.  What matters is family, and we are all still present and accounted for.  We will embrace this adventure, and I’m sure we will speak about it often in the future.

In the meantime, hug your babies and furbabies and spouses, tell everyone you love that you love them, and just be happy.  Life is too short for misery, and you never know which day is your last.

Love and blessings!!  xoxoxoxo

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