i thought i would be able to come here and write about our new journey but now almost a month since my last post, and i really don't know what to write.
Immediately after the fire, we went straight to the Hotel Floyd, where Red Cross put us up for 3 nights of emergency stay. An absolutely wonderful woman (not sure if she wants to be named) who is the mother of one of Sage's classmates, arrived the next day with a huge care package, filled with clothing, toys, food, personal care items etc. She stayed for a couple of hours listening, talking, and giving me a shoulder to cry on. i truly can never thank her enough for her kindness, generosity, and help. She had also contacted a local church that arranged for us to stay a few more nights at the hotel while we tried to figure out just where the hell we would go.
The week we spent at the hotel is pretty much a blur. Kenan was dealing with the insurance company, donations and all the local folks who were calling, stopping by his shop wanting to help. I wasn't really in a place to deal anyone so I hung out at the hotel room with the kids and tried to find some kind of normal. We played cards, cuddled on the bed watching cartoons, played computer games and started re-reading The Hobbit.
We had several folks generously offer us temporary shelter. We ended up staying in a garage apartment that belongs to my friend who I goat-sat for a few years ago. It was a really nice little apartment/office, with two rooms, a kitchenette and a bathroom. It also had a private entrance, so it gave us plenty of privacy, and we didn't have to feel like we were invading.
We had a fold out table and chairs to use, and my friend made a huge pot of spaghetti with homemade marinara. It was absolutely delicious and a nice change from all the fast food and microwave meals we had been eating. After days of eating off paper plates in a hotel room, it was really nice to be able to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal together.
We had two inflatable mattresses to sleep on, and thank goodness for wi-fi and netflix we were still able to have our Friday family movie night. These tiny bits of normalcy and familiarity are what we were really clinging to this week. We were constantly trying to find/create a new normal.The kids were able to hang out and play with my friend's girls, and i did more socializing in that week that i have in the last two years. We sat around chatting over coffee, and i got a lesson in knitting.
The weather was pretty crappy that week, so we didn't leave the apartment much at all. Kids missed several days of school due to the weather but we did go out and hike through the woods one afternoon. We found a bunch of skunk cabbage coming up, even though it was coated in a layer of ice and snow.
During this week, we began receiving clothing donations from the local community and care packages from friends and family around the country. Many of the boxes were stored at Kenan's shop and we didn't even open them until the following week, because we were here temporarily, had no space to store anything. There were a few special boxes that were addressed to kids which were opened right away. So much love and kindness packaged up in boxes. Some contained necessities, others were full of toys and fun items to make us smile. We received an huge anonymous box for the kids from Philadelphia candy company.
The kids received new build-a-bears from Grandma & Grandpa T. This was one of our hardest evening thus far. Sage who had been enjoying the excitement of the hotel, and staying with friends, finally broke down. She had a complete meltdown, and sobbed uncontrollably for over an hour, which made Sequoia and i cry too. So we all huddled together and hugged, and cried and cried.
Although we knew our friends would allow us to stay as long as we needed, we really wanted to find a place to rent ASAP. The uncertainty of the situation was extremely scary. We didn't have time to mourn our loss or even let anything sink in, we were in a constant state of survival mode. No one ever expects to go from the security of a warm comfortable home, to finding themselves completely homeless.
Trying to find a place to move to in rural community is extremely difficult, but we had many local folks offing up extra rooms and basements. Kenan immediately contacted the man he rents his glass shop from, as we knew he also rented out several houses. He didn't have anything available, but his sister had an empty house next door to her that she used when family came to visit. It was fully furnished, and we were able to move in immediately.
So we packed up all of our belongings, which fit inside a couple of tote bags, said good bye to our friends and continued on.
"Already he was a very different hobbit from the one that had run out without a pocket-handkerchief from Bag-End long ago. He had not had a pocket-handkerchief for ages."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit