No Place Like


“I hate that shower,” said Hubby, after his first shower upon getting back into our house after the roof caught fire on December 11, 2017.

It was so disappointing to hear he doesn’t like the new shower!  The shower we had, pre-fire, was huge!  You could get a family of eight in there and still have elbow room.  The new shower doesn’t even get him out of the spray to wash his feet.  What did we do with the part of the shower we lost?  We combined it with a small closet to create a laundry area.  No laundromat, and no stairs on laundry day.

The work isn’t completely done.  There are so many little items to be finished up: second coats of paint, trimming, cleaning, etc.  We even have a temporary sink and kitchen counter.

We have our soft goods: clothing, shoes, bags, pillows, sheets and towels.  I’ve been wearing my exercise gear as summer clothing.  The same dark things over and over. It was winter when the fire drove us out into the cold.  It was a bitter cold winter.  The last few days it was in the 90’s, Fahrenheit.

The first thing I grabbed from my stuff was my red shorts!  They would fit me now.  No, not really.  I had to synch them up with a belt. Back to the Goodwill with them.  Going out for the evening, I dressed in my white with black poke-a-dot dress, both cool and bright.  I am a happy girl.  My skinny clothing is comfortable, and I am freshly motivated to continue with my health and fitness plans.

My reflection doesn’t always reveal the truth to my eyes.  I see myself as fat when I’m not, and skinny never.  But the fit of the clothing I last wore two years ago, is clear objective evidence of success.  Much more motivating than an abstract number on a scale.

When we moved into this house, I swore I would never move again in my lifetime.  Well, that didn’t really work out.  We have moved four times since I said that.  I am afraid to say it again.  It is a work in progress, but we are home.

Until our furniture comes, we are supervising renovations from our travel trailer, in the driveway.  At least it has air conditioning on these hot days.

On Being Displaced

Being displaced sucks.

Sure, I focus on the good things.  Living in the Residence Inn Marriot was fun, with halls to walk when it was cold outside, a mini gym, a saltwater pool and a hot tub.  Who doesn’t love a breakfast buffet laid out for you everyday, and the three times a week dinner brought in by local restaurants.   My physical activity offset my inability to control my meals, and I am sure my nutritionist was frustrated by my lack of responsiveness.

We were finally found a rental in Slippery Rock, Pa.  A college town.  A college rental, empty of students till the start of the next semester.  Or landlord, desperate for anybody to pay rent for a few short months, gave us a lease after requiring a hefty pet deposit and insurance against pet damage, also welcomed our Boston Terrier and two cats.  We are within walking distance of every restaurant the town has to offer.

The cats cause stress.  The cats were pretty good at my daughter’s home.  Some minor scratching my daughter assured me she could handle.  The last two days at the hotel the cats poked holes in the leatheret dining chairs.  To the cats’ delight, the rental furniture provided at the house include the same type of  dining chairs.  Now I wonder, how many of these chairs will I end up buying.

Most of our furniture survived.  We were able to get one cat-stand out of storage, nicely cleaned and oderfree.   The scratching posts are packed away someplace.  The cats favorite chair is in storage.  Fortunately, Brutus has his bed.

We have begun replacing the stuff destroyed in the fire.  But every day presents a new challenge.  Every day we have to  compromise  in how we do things, because our stuff is in storage.  The meat thermometer is in storage, but I remember cooking by knowing the weight of a meat and estimating the time for appropriate doneness.  Bless the Red Cross for providing us with blankets, because all our extra blankets are in storage.  I have very warm thoughts for the Red Cross while snuggling under my blanket.

We camp.  We have had many moves.  We know how to make do.  But it is so nice, to be in your own home, with your own stuff, doing things the way you like, without worry about how it affects others.



Back on Our Own

After a wonderful family Christmas,  Hubby and I got a reservation at a local Residence Inn to wait out the restoration of our fire damaged house.  As much as I  love my family, I also love having my own space, as do my granddaughters  who cheered to get the news that their rooms would again be only their own again.

We are thankful our daughter and her family welcomed us while we got our bearings while adjusting to our new circumstances.

Some old stuff had to be cleared out, to the benefit of the local Goodwill, to make room for our invasion.   Thank goodness for our good insurance coverage.  Never did I seriously think I would ever have to take advantage of my insurance, but I faithfully paid my premium every month for 46+ years.

We have also continuously had insurance coverage on our automobiles, all our personal belongings including a rider on valuable items, and our life.  Health insurance was affordable thanks to our employers, but there were times between jobs that we suffered the insecurity of our health being uninsured for as long as 6 months at a time.

Some people believe all this insurance is unnecessary.  Over our life together, Hubby and I have had a to dip into all but the life insurance.  I have a growing belief that the day we do cash in on our life insurance is coming, but we hope to put that day off for as long as possible.

I suppose if we were wealthy we could be self-insured, but we have never been wealthy.  We are now, thankfully, average middle-class people.  Insurance helped when we were a struggling young couple expecting a baby, or needing an unexpected minor surgery requiring a hospital stay.  As we have gotten older, medical expenses seem to be growing exponentially, even as preventive medicine has become a staple of medical care.

I have a bad feeling, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

What’s This


Roofing work ended in fire.  A mishap with a blow torch.  A quick thinking volunteer fire fighter, moonlighting on the roofing crew, sprang into action.  The hose we had put into the garage in preparation for the change in the weather three days earlier, was pulled from storage and hooked up to water.  Hubby ran to the basement to turn on the water to the tap.

At one point, they thought they had the fire out.  It flamed back up.  Meanwhile, I was on the phone with 911, giving them the address and getting police and fire to the house, and relaying messages to get out of the building.

I RAN OUT of the house, no coat, into the cold.  A neighbor loaned me a jacket.  Another brought us a pot of coffee.  The Red Cross came to our aid.  Our darling daughter has opened her home to us, our dog, and our two cats.

I guess time got away from me.   All of this happened on Monday.  Tuesday we met with the clean-up people, who took lots of picture.  Wednesday we met with the insurance adjuster.  Thursday we met with the arson inspector and the prime contractor.

The quick summary is that everything needs to be cleaned, most of the house needs to be gutted, and all this will take five or six months.  Because of this lengthy time period, we will allow the insurance company to move us into temporary housing, and allow our granddaughter back into her bedroom, but this will take a little time.

Until we are resettled, my daughter and I  will enjoy our favorite guilty pleasures (only the non flattening ones), including our two favorite soap operas General Hospital and The Walking Dead.

Note:  All Christmas gifts are fine.  I still have a little shopping.  I’m truly blessed by a wonderful family.  Merry Christmas. 

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