Saturday, March 31, 2007

simple pleasures

Today was a day of nice simple pleasures. Sent the boys to a friend's house so I could zip down to the Hershey factory to get Easter candy for them. While there, I got J a present better than I could have hoped for. You see, one of his most treasured possesions that he lost in the fire was a little black stuffed dog called Midnight. Midnight appeared in his Easter basket last year, and came from the Hershey factory. I had to try and find another one, but the odds of one still being at the store a year later were slim to none, I knew. I couldn't believe my eyes when I went today and there was a whole basket of them- J is going to be beside himself!

While I was doing those errands, W learned to ride a 2-wheeler bike without training wheels- a huge day for any kid! He showed off his newfound skills to me when I picked them up, complete with popping a wheelie (and staying upright!).

This afternoon was a true farm day- the kids were outside all afternoon getting filthy in the barns and having a ball, and D and I got out the tractor and pulled down a barn. There's no therapy like demo. It was amazing how sturdy it was for only being logs fit into each other- no nails holding it together. But now it sits in a heap, signs of an afternoon full of fun work. Another reminder to me that I really do need to get out this week to buy that camera I've had my eye on.

I'm was hoping for nice weather tomorrow to go out to the house site and do one last search through the rubble. Doesn't look good though- it's going to be nice and warm, but it is supposed to rain. I may go anyway- my chances to do it are getting fewer and fewer. Once the excavators come in to remove everything, any remenants of items will be gone.

Time to go and search e-bay- who knows what treasures I'll find...

Friday, March 30, 2007


Phew. What a day. There was not a moment to spare, but it all got done. Several phone calls and errands later, here is the scoop... we will be staying in a hotel, but a nice suite with a bedroom and livingroom, and the hotel has a pool. The insurance will cover that and all the meals. (room service anyone?). The best part of all of this? The boys are thilled at yet another adventure, lots of time in the hotel pool, etc. I am thrilled at not having to do housework or dishes for 5 whole days! :) Hey, I take what I can get. My good friend Serendipity has invited us over for Easter dinner on Sunday, and all I have to do is pick up a couple of pies at the bakery (1 blueberry, and maybe a cherry for me).

Then the afternoon was full of errands... into CP to deal with some stuff at the bank, register the boys for swimming (that whole normalcy thing), visit and old neighbour (and return her dishes that were brought full of yummy cookies). Then out to Perth to sign a contract so the hydro will set up their hookup for our trailer (oh, and pay them $500- glad the insurance will cover that!). Then we visited a dear friend in Perth (your MIL, J), picked up our mail from our neighbour, and came back to the farm.

Driving back to the old house site today I was actually glad to be there- first time since the fire. Must be spring. But it sure will be nice to be settled there. I know I have had enough of life on the farm, and I'm sure the G's have had enough of their boarders. We need our own space- not just space to ourselves- I've discovered that, nice as that is, it's not the same. Patience, B- only 12 days left, and for 5 of those days, I'll be having fun shopping and having my bed and meals made for me.

A wrench in the plans

So maybe I've not learned to be as laid-back by all of the recent happenings as I thought. Turns out our housesitting venture for this weekend has fallen through. Her house is ripped apart by renovations (been there, done that), and she kindly told me ahead of time how not fun it would be for us to stay there. I know she'll still take us if we want, but I'd like a working bathroom, thank-you! :)

So my first thought is- we'll keep staying with the G's. Wrong again. B2, thinking we were housesitting for the weekend, told her in-laws they could stay there. (J and B2- don't think I'm upset by either of these things- I'm chuckling at the cirucmstances as I type them).

So I call the trailer dude- surely it can't be a big deal to get the trailer a couple of days early? Wrong AGAIN. He has the plumping and hydro hookups all set up for the 10th. He only gets the trailer back next week, and is going to service it, clean it up and give it all new paint before we get it. He's even ordered new livingroom furniture and new mattresses for us. (A good thing, as I was a little creeped out not knowing who had been sleeping there before us!). So no luck there. The next step is to call our insurance gal to see if she'll pay for a hotel for the weekend- yay- Easter weekend in a hotel. And then there's the meals- will she pay for all of those?

And so my originally fairly relaxed day has turned into another sea of phone calls and what if's. My hubby has no idea that all of this is going on- he's at a retreat today and won't be back until tonight, by which time I'll hopefully have all this figured out.

Having said all that, I'd better get on with my day- gotta do the school thing, the bank thing, the phone call thing, pack up and leave this place cleaner than we found it. That trailer can't come soon enough, new furniture and all.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

5 weeks

Man- I can't believe it- it's been exactly 5 weeks since the fire. I try not to talk about it too much as I'm sure everyone else who has their own lives would get sick of hearing about it. I am amazed though, at both how much and how little have happened in those 5 weeks.

How little?

We still have no idea what we're going to build, what it will be worth, or when it will start.

I haven't been out to the house more than once or twice to root through the rubble... I know there's more stuff out there somewhere.

We still haven't got any idea of how we'll go about replacing everything (item by item or lump sum from the insurance company).

I still haven't been able to do all of the details for taxes and banking- amazing how often you have to ask certain people to do something that will take them 2 minutes and then they'd be done with it.

I still cry about my dog.

And my cat.

You'd think 5 weeks would be tons of time for all this to happen...

How much?

I've gotten to a completely different place in my walk with God. (in a good way)

My perspective of patience shifted almost immediately- for those who know how long I've struggled with this, it's really rather amazing.

My kids have dealt with, and apparently recovered from, the loss of everything they knew to be theirs. (Helps when they think the house is in heaven)

My husband has realized that he probably won't have much say in the decorating of the new house (thought I'd have a harder time convincing him he didn't need to worry his pretty little head about that).

So while others are back to normal, I struggle to maintain a sence of normalcy for my family. Our life is stalled. Everywhere I go, that's what people ask me about and I have nothing to tell them. Yes we are still waiting. And that's OK. No, we don't know what started the fire, and we never will. And, yes, I'm OK with that. Really, I am. I actually prefer it that way- what good would knowing do? It's not going to change anything, and the last thing I need is something else to stew over.

And it was not my fault- even though I was the last one home- even though I had a fire going in the living room and some ashes in a bucket on the deck. They didn't start the fire. We know that- so why do I still question it?

Time to go and create another normal day for my kids in someone else's house. School, playing in the backyard (which was fabulous yesterday, by the way!), Awana tonight- before we get ready to leave again tomorrow. Off to another house- for a week, and then another for a weekend. And then- home sweet home- the trailer... for now :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Boring is good

Ah... life with a healthy family. Errands were run this morning, school will be done soon, and if it gets warm enough, boys will be in the back yard getting muddy this afternoon. All is good. We went to Wal-Mart this morning and bought the boys new rubber boots and splash pants, which I anticipate getting very dirty very soon. There's few things better than the sight of two little boys with trucks playing contentedly in the dirt. They pretty much need to be hosed-down when they're done, but it's so worth it. I can write it off as part of school as a study on the physical properties of mud. Gotta love being a kid.

I don't know who it's more fun for- them in the playing or me in the watching them in their own little worlds of imagination. That's a huge problem these days I think- kids are so used to being entertained all the time- their fun is made for them, and they lose the ability to imagine their own fun. I know there are probably people who think I don't take my kids enough places and "do" enough "fun" things with them, but my kids have an uncanny ability to make their own fun. I seldom get complaints of not enough toys- the worlds that can be created with a few hot wheels cars (and in our house-sitting situation a Barbie cruise ship!) constantly amaze me.

Well, time to put their play on hold and do some book-learnin... for now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The life of the nomad

So we're housesitting for the M's for a week. Yesterday I was feeling pretty lousy, but my dear hubby helped me pack up and I was glad for it when we got here. The high speed internet alone is worth the nuisance of packing and moving out for a few days! But it is nice (and important) to have our own space- the boys seem to be different kids when they're not living with someone else. I'm sure that's true for a lot of us.

Last night I looked out at the backyard, with the sand box and all the boy toys and trucks, and thought that my guys would have a blast getting all muddy out there. Alas, it's not to be, as W woke up in the early hours of the morning- you guessed it- throwing up. The torch has been passed. Poor kid. He's a much better patient than his brother though- a little TV and a glass of gingerale and he's pretty low maintenance. As opposed to J, who thinks his world is ending every time he gets a little sniffle- ah the life of a drama queen. But I'm not going far, as I don't have bets on the crackers staying where they are for very long. We'll see though- he may surprise me as the gravol he took this morning stayed down for an hour before it came back up, so I'm sure a bunch of it got into his system.

Well, I'm off to surf the internet at the speed of light- gotta enjoy it while it lasts.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Heavily medicated

So indeed I am now sick. I think it's God's way of slowing me down when I've been doing too much. Don't really have a choice when standing up makes me dizzy and queasy. Even so, I'm ditching the gravol today and packing up to housesit for a week. Kind of the last thing I want to be doing today, but I don't want to infect the Glennie's, and I'm sure they'll be glad to have their house back. Hopefully by the time we come back here for another week, everyone will be healthy.

This whole nomadic lifestyle is starting to tell on the boys a bit. They are having attitudes about things they normally wouldn't, and are much more sensitive to my efforts at calling them on it. If there's one thing I know, attitude is a choice- you can't choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you deal with it. It's a good lesson to learn early in life.

Well, the screen is starting to swim a bit- think I need to have a laydown for a while before I continue packing. Maybe just one more gravol wouldn't be so bad...add some Nyquil and a glass of wine and wake me in a week.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Today was spent at the homeshow, with J being carried most of the time as he still had that "sick" look in his eyes. I wonder how many innocent people we infected with his germs today? Ah well, it was worth it- I think. I'm a little overwhelmed at all the options open to us as we rebuild.

The most enjoyable part of the show for the kids was the "dock dogs"- basically it was a big pool of water where dog owners would throw a toy in and their dog would jump in after it. A competition to see who could jump the farthest. The record was close to 21 feet. I'm still trying to figure out what that has to do with a new home... enjoyable nonetheless.

On the way home it was a stop in to Home Depot to check out a washer and dryer they had on sale- we ended up buying it- don't think I'll find another set with the features I want for that price- way less than I expected to pay.

So I'm pooped now- gotta get the house cleaned up before the Gs come back and get ready to move to another housesitting gig for the next week. Don't really want to pack everything up for just a week, but I'd rather do that than get the germs the Gs still seem to have. No time to be sick. I'll be glad when we're in the trailer. 16 days and counting :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

the long and winding road

Well, J isn't so close to his old self as I thought- low-grade fever again today and after a small attempt at school, he slept the remainder of the morning away. I guess we may have overdone it a bit yesterday. Our plans to visit the home show tomorrow may have to be cut if he's still feeling lousy.

The chickens are much better today. The poor girl who could barely stand up yesterday is her old self now. Amazing what a bit of fresh air will do for the soul. Only 6 eggs today though; performance is slipping a bit. It makes me think of "Chicken Run", a movie that was always funnier, but is so much more now that I've experienced taking care of the girls.

We've made some progress with the whole house business. We have 3 people working on quotes for rebuilding- foundation and all. My adjustor told me this morning that they're not going to make us re-use the foundation. The question of stability is huge considering all the heat and water damage that it has sustained. I'm just as happy about this- no evidence of the house that burnt down (an emotional decision, I know, but I don't want to live in any part of that), and freedom to design the floor plan that we want. The builder that I have contacted myself is very willing to work with us and our budget to find a house we would really like to have.

And our contents evaluator touched base today too- they are coming along valuing all of our items- as I expected, it's come to a much higher amount than I dreamed. For a family who didn't have a lot of "stuff", we sure had a lot of stuff! That's still going to be a while before it's finalized, but at least I know it's coming along well.

And now for some therapy- I'm starting to plan my veggie garden- it's going to be nice to see all that new growth. And since it's 8 weeks or so until planting season, I can start some of my seeds already! I'll have to take them around to all the places we'll be living, but hey- they'll be adaptable as a result.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

chicken theology

So we're here on the farm taking care of the place while the Gs are away. Looking after their dogs and 8 chickens- or "the girls" as we call them. In return for food and shelter, they give us 8 beautiful fresh eggs every day (7 if it's been really cold). I've been learning a bit about this whole pecking order thing now that we've been looking after them. It's very clear to see who's at the top and who's, well, not. I went in this morning to find one poor girl who's had nearly all the feathers pulled off her neck (not a flattering look for a chicken) laying in the wood shavings. She was just floundering around looking as if she couldn't walk. So I went in to check on her and after some encouragement she got up and walked around. It was plain to see where she stood in the order- dead last. After a call to my sister B2 to see what she would like me to do for the poor thing, it was decided that I would try to separate her from the other chickens in the other section of the barn with her own supply of food and water. Sounded simple enough. What followed was a (I'm sure) comical scene of me chasing her around the coop trying to pick her up and take her to safety. Chickens can be surprisingly fast when they want to be. She wouldn't let me get near her. Next try was to lure her out with some food- all the other chickens crowded around and wouldn't let her near. This was followed by more chasing, and then trying to simply shoo her out the door with a stick. This was a very unpopular move, and made her run away faster than ever. So I've been left with no choice but to leave her to her own devices, fending off the bullies as best she can.

All of this makes me very philosophical- how often does God try to rescue us- shoo us out of danger's way, or just pick us up and carry us to a place of safety, only for us to run away from him like we're better off where we are? Man- where did that come from- I haven't had enough coffee to be spouting thoughts like this today.

Gotta go- I'm meeting a guy to determine where the trailer is going to go on our land today. Don't really want to go back to the site- I hate seeing all those piles of charred rubble. I'll be so glad when it's cleared away. One step at a time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Well, day one of my blog and day two of the stomach flu. J is doing much better today, on a steady diet of gingerale and popsicles. I figure aside from getting out of school, there's got to be some perks to being sick. He's on the mend for sure, hasn't thrown up today, but I've barely been keeping a high fever at bay.

Life at the G's farm continues- we've been enjoying a quieter house since the G's are on vacation. Not that I minded having all of us here, but there's not much down time with 9 people in a small old farmhouse. I'm sure they're grateful for some time away as well. I think the hardest part of all this is how displaced I feel. I just want to go home, and for once in my life, that's not an option. There is no home to go to. I don't think I ever truly realized how much I loved my little haven, humble as it was. I am looking forward to having our trailer set up- more like a small house than a trailer, really, at 500 square feet. It won't be home, but it will be on our land which I have grown to love in a few short months.

I have been grappling all day with the fact that in two days it will have been a month since the fire. Doesn't seem possible, really. Have I really been here a month? I still remember waking up in my bed for the last time, with the cat jumping on my feet and the dog licking my face to say good morning. That's the worst. For the first time in 9 years, I've had to be without my girl. I knew I'd miss her when she went, but I no idea how much. I'm really hanging on to my belief that animals go to heaven. (Mind you, I prefer to think that only the furry animals will be there- no snakes and insects, thank you very much.)

Time to take the sick little boy in my arms and try to get him to go to sleep- should be fun, considering he slept the morning away...

waiting for spring

Today is the first day of spring (I think). J looked out the window this morning and said, "Mom, if it's spring now, why is there still snow?" Wouldn't that be nice- all the snow and cold winds automatically gone on the first day of spring. Insert robins and daffodils, and a warm breeze. This winter has been shorter than most, but for some reason I'm craving a taste of spring more than I usually do. Maybe it's because I know that as the seasons pass, the time when I'm not homeless anymore will be coming closer.

J is certainly feeling better today. The appetite's not all there yet, but he's happy to finally be feeling up to playing with his big brother. W is happy to finally have someone to play with too! They've been keeping each other nicely entertained all day. We'll see how he "feels" tomorrow when I tell him it's time to get back at the school books. W's been really good about doing his schoolwork while his brother gets to relax, but I'm not sure that would last much longer.