House Fire Chronicles: A Very Brief Update


This beautiful painting by Zoe was on the wall in our playroom.

Thank you all so much for your kind wishes, hugs, prayers, meals, gifts and really fabulous hand-me-downs (I love Montclair!).  We are so grateful to the wonderful friends who gave us their comfortable third floor for the past month.  We are also missing them a little bit now, as we’ve moved into a rental house that is just about two blocks away from our actual house.  We feel very lucky, even though the day we moved in here some men in trucks arrived to dig a huge hole in the front lawn in preparation to clean up an oil leak (this originated from the neighbor’s tank which was removed about a year ago).  I write this, by the way, to the beat of a jackhammer outside my window.  No biggie;  it will all be over in a week or two, the guy smoking a cigarette on my porch tells me.  Besides, I have to say again, I am so grateful to be here, this close to home.   It meant a lot to me that, while we’re waiting to move back (a year from now), our orientation to the town is basically the same as usual.  Close to school, close to neighbors, close to the construction, which should begin sometime soon.  Zoe is back on her old school bus and both kids are right around the corner from their friends. 

This would be more heartbreaking, I think, had our place just burned to the ground with all our stuff inside.    Instead, all our stuff is mostly intact, caked with soot, ground through with smoke-stench, but still there.  In a strange way, this has given me a chance to say goodbye.     

 Though the air inside good old 14 Victoria is really not safe to breath, though it is a darkened horror show, full of broken glass and other hazards, every few days, I put on a mask and sneak in to see what treasures I can rescue—a drawing that’s not too charred, an old favorite stuffed animal (I was able to scrub it fairly clean in the machine, though it still smells like smoke), a bra (seriously).  My clandestine game of search and rescue is coming to a close soon.   The place has been picked over and inventoried and assessed by salvage and content experts one of whom eloquently declared our stuff to be “toast.”  Read: not worth trying to salvage.  Which we’re now ready to hear I think, ready to move on. 

The next stage I think, is demolition.  Or something like it.  Stay tuned.  A phoenix is on the horizon.

My apologies for not blogging much these days, not following much and posting the same thing on FB and WP.  It’s not just a case of laziness or being overwhelmed.  I am writing, though mostly my book—which is keeping me sane—and limiting the time I spend at the computer.  The kids need it more.  And me.



21 responses to “House Fire Chronicles: A Very Brief Update

  1. Best wishes to you and your family; so sorry for your loss.

  2. Lisa, sweetie, you did NOT just apologize to us for your internet absence! Please. Not to speak for everyone else here, but I feel pretty certain that your virtual community gets it, and is 100% behind you. I am, and am thankful that you and your kids are safe and able to take comfort in each other. Love back to you and yours. Take good care; we’ll all be here when you’re back, whenever it works out.

  3. Tele is spot on Lisa, its wonderful to hear from you occasionally, and I hope you will be able to chronicle and share your journey for the next year with us all. While what has happened will always remain as a painful part of your lives, it seems already that there is the glimpse of possibility land. Take care 🙂

  4. And the painting is wonderful, a real treasure!

  5. A phoenix indeed is on the horizon. And Zoe will paint again. Love you!

  6. So sorry to learn you’re going through this. You’re in good spirits, which will make it a less painful experience. And everyone is safe. Always a good thing in the end. Take care.

  7. Hope you find more and more light through this major journey changer with the house fire remains.

    Lisa, you might seriously need to discard some of the smoke tainted stuff. Please consider it. Smoke particulate is not healthy. It just isn’t. Firefighters exposed to smoke…it’s been proven on a long term basis in medical studies, it’s not good for their respiratory system.

    It’s just not a good idea to have kids sniffing in smoke tainted toys…

    (I worked for a provincial regulatory agency for fire code enforcement. I was a librarian on fire protection and firefighting resources. This includes toxicity of burning/burnt materials and exposures.)

  8. I love the painting!

    Your apology is not accepted because it is not due. Not to speak for anyone else, your virtual community will continue to be here when you need us to be. We will continue to support you when you need the support. We will continue to surround you with hugs, blessings, prayers and whatever else we are able to give you that will lift you up.

  9. Thank you, Lisa, for enriching our lives with your reporting and writing. I think they took courage. I look forward to reading more, when you can post more, and when its out, to reading your book. Best of luck. Steve

  10. You have such strength. I hear it in your words, and admire it very much. Please continue to keep us posted. Your blog seems to have a new purpose now–to help you sort it all out, collecting all the stories of your past life in the house, sharing some teachable moments with your readers, and watching your new future unfold. Btw, thanks to your stories, I’m incredibly cautious around candles.

    • Thanks, Monica. Caution is warranted! We’re actually being symbolic about Hanukkah candles this year: putting them in, but not yet lighting them. We don’t even have any matches! Actually today is my first non-fire related post, but I don’t think I’m done writing about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s