This is not what I had in mind when I said I wanted to start 2015 off with a fresh start.
Not even a little bit.
I have a lot of feelings on the matter. I feel like I blinked and everything changed. Jan 5th started normal. I had Julia to get off to school, so I was up early. Showered. Brushed my teeth. Checking the weather on my phone so that I could make clothing choices.
I was confused about how the furnace suddenly smelled.
"Get out of the house NOW! It's on FIRE!!!"
Everything blurred. I was throwing clothes on. Informing Mike, who was on his way to work. Ordering Julia to dress, grab her school bag and get out. She did not hesitate for even a second. Spur of the millisecond decisions happened. Next thing I knew, I was on the porch barefoot with Julia and no coats or car keys. I had my socks and boots in my hands. We urgently put our socks and boots on.
Mike had arrived and went in for our kitties. Our little, pain in the ass, furball kids. No fire gear at all. He just went right in. I fully intended to follow him in to get coats and keys when he shoved me back out the door and handed me cats. I protested about car keys and he got them for me. I had no clue how bad it already was in those 2 minutes. That the fire was a blow torch coming out of our heat and cold air return vents.
I sat in my car shivering. Numb. Scared. Informing people. Just like that it was gone. Four years of rebuilding my life. I was watching it vanish in to smoke. A neighbor let us come inside. A good friend came to visit and give me moral support. People talked to me and asked me questions. I cried. Julia cried.
"Stuff is just stuff," I told her. "I have insurance. We can get new stuff."
That does not prepare you for what happens when you walk back in to your home after a fire. It's the worst smell ever on the planet. It clings to you and saturates everything that didn't burn. Every window smashed, broken. Much of what is left is broken, knocked over, wrecked or water soaked. There is no heat, water or power because the basement is burnt crispy. Appliances melted. Food inside them, cooked.
Julia's room didn't fully burn, but the heat and burning Christmas tree ruined almost all she had. I barely recognize her room because it looked like a bomb exploded. Complete with holes in the walls. It's the stuff that is not replaceable that moves me to tears.
It has been over 10 days now. Living in a hotel. Digging through the wreckage of our lives in single digit temps. Trying to figure out what the fire recovery service has, because the house is a war zone. Trying to function when all I want to do is cry. Breathing through anxiety attacks because I have to hold it together. Feeling immensely lucky and grateful for all the friends and strangers helping us. Knowing that I can't replace my family. They are all safe.
All I did was blink.
The emotions rise and fall. Julia's birthday party went well, and she was so happy. I had a moment of tearful joy at her happiness despite all that has happened.
We are all going to get through this. Because of all the amazing people in our lives. and because we have each other. The non replaceable items will live on in our hearts. We will make a new home. New memories.
So, even though 2015 has started off like a complete jerk, it can only get better this year. Right?