Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grateful

Wow.

That is all I can say at this point. I am humbled by the outpouring of generosity. From the Amazon gift cards to the donation over on the Habitat for Travis site, to the caring heartfelt emails. I say thank you. It has meant a lot and eventually I will personally thank each and every one of you directly rather than via an impersonal post, but for now I'll say it again. Thank you.

For the last few days I have been concentrating on digging through the debris and cleaning up the mess left behind. Of course there have been moments of tears, but also little discoveries of joy. Such as both boys birth certificates. Sure they are singed on the edges, but the little ink footprints are still visible. We also found my wife's rosary, my class ring, a few pieces of Jennifer's Department 56 Halloween village, and a handful of Chuck E Cheese tokens. Many thanks to my nephew who along with help from his football buddies made most of those discoveries by digging through the watery black muck.

There have also been some oddities. The fire got hot enough to actually melt our refrigerator down to nearly half it's original size, yet a bottle of ketchup inside didn't so much as warp. And along with cockroaches add green shag carpet to the list of things that could survive a nuclear attack. Yes, sadly I really did have green shag carpet in my house, in the very room where the fir started and large sections of that carpet survived and are just as ugly now as they were before the blaze.

Friends help me load all of the metal that was once our household appliances and what not onto a trailer. We took the load to the local scrap yard where a man paid me a thirty five dollars for what once was a our fridge, freezer, washer and dryer and other assorted metals. One of the toughest moments for me was watching the giant magnet lift my world goods and deposit them atop a huge pile of rusting metal. I'll admit it, I shed a few tears as I stared at my blackened things settle in among the refuge of others. Some how it felt final, like dropping a handful of dirt into an open grave. Though, I'm afraid there are still more such moments to come.

But thanks to the compassion of so many of you, I know that both me and my family will get through them. For that I am grateful and again, I say thank you.

54 comments:

Michelle said...

I'm so happy to hear that you and your family has recovered a few special treasures from your home!

Michelle said...

ok... the shag carpet? I just had to ask...

Scott Lessard said...

It's been pretty cool seeing the response to your need, Travis. And, thanks for the updates. Hopefully more victories will be coming your way.

Perhaps a pencil or some trinket won with those Chuck E. Cheese tokens. If your boys are anything like my kids, you already recovered gold.

SL

Barbara Martin said...

It's good to have an update from you, Travis, and with found treasures, too. Chuck E. Cheese tokens...who would have thought...

Hilary said...

Thanks for the update, Travis. I hope there are more treasures to be found.

lyzzydee said...

Mmmmm Green shag pile carpet!!!!! What does that tell us about your obvious lack of taste????
I hope you continue to find more treasures. Doesn't your insurance company arrange for clearance? They do over here.

Erica Orloff said...

Green shag? Oh, Travis . . . where do I even begin. ;-)

Thank you for the update. As Stephen has been sending me tallies and comments through the day . . . I have been awed by fellow writers and bloggers and your friends. Maybe they are all Buddhists and don't know it:

To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one's own in the midst of abundance.


~Buddha


Please keep us updated. Know many people care about you guys and you are being Prayed for and thought of.

Junosmom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristen Painter said...

Good to hear you've had some small pockets of happiness in amongst the trials.

Mary Witzl said...

Travis, I'm so sorry to hear about this. My sister's house burned down a few months back and she was devastated by it. How wonderful that your sons' birth certificates, your wife's rosary, and your class ring all survived.

Green shag carpet, though? You're a brave man to admit that.

Junosmom said...

Travis, Glad to hear you have found a few "treasures" and that your true wealth, your friends and family, is showing.

theneatos said...

Travis and family - Thanks for the update. And, I appreciate you taking time, from your overwhelming life to keep us updated. I am also very glad that you were able to find some little treasures.

Once again, a GINORMOUS Thank You to Erica and Stephen for setting everything up. It's very refreshing and inspiring to see people banding together.

Monnik said...

Wow - parts of the carpet survived? How bizarre!

I'm glad you found some things in the rubble.

My thoughts continue to be with your family...

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks for updating us Travis. I'm sure that's the last thing you want to do right now, but we're all here for you. I hope more treasures are found.

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

We get back what we give and you and Jennifer are big-time givers. I know this is a very, very tough thing to deal with, but you will emerge from it stronger. Things are just things. People and how we connect with them are everything. I think you've made some great connections.

The Duck said...

I hesitate to ask this Travis, but how much does insurance cover in this sort of situation? I would hope that you wouldn't need assistance from a charitable website, as nice of an idea as that is.

Sorry, not trying to be an insensitive jerk. Just curious.

Charles Gramlich said...

Damn man, that fire got seriously hot.

Thanks for the update. Shag carpet will be the only thing to survive when the sun eventually engulfs the earth.

blogless troll said...

Duck,

There's usually never enough insurance in a total fire loss, no matter how diligent a homeowner you are.

Ashley said...

I am so glad that you guys were able to recover some of your items :)

Still thinking of you and your family.

*hugs*

Poetry Sue said...

Its great that you are getting the support you need! I wish there was more I could do.

AmyDeborah said...

Travis,
I've only seen your comments on Britta's blog, but my prayers are with you the family. I think it's amazing that you have been struck by the blessings -- your boys weren't home so they didn't have to witness the traumatic event, Chuck E Cheese tokens, the green shag carpet. Who would've thought that could be considered a blessing?

Kath Calarco said...

There once was a fire alarm salesman who visited our home. Part of his sales spiel (scare tactic) was revealing evidence that wall-to-wall carpet is what quickly spreads a fire throughout a house. Guess he never met shag before.

It's heartwarming to know that so many have your back, as well as your buoyant spirit. It's the unexpected that gets us through the worst, I believe.

Sustenance Scout said...

Visiting via Lisa Kenney's blog, Travis. The rosary and birth certificates really got me, though Scott is probably right about your boys and those CEC tokens! Best wishes from Denver, K.

Michele said...

Travis, just letting you know that you and your family have been in my thoughts all week. And it's good to hear that you've recovered a few precious items. :)

Hang in there...

MC

Mystery Robin said...

Travis, my internet has been down so I'm just now seeing this. I'm so, so sorry for all that you have to deal with. But very grateful that your boys were spared both the danger and the fear of being in a burning house. I'm praying for your family and getting together a box of books!

Merry Monteleone said...

Duck,

I don't know what Travis' policy is, but we'll assume it's enough to cover rebuilding the house and even if he's really diligent, personal property replacement (all furnishings, appliances etc.) is not likely to cover everything he lost... Think about how expensive it is to replace every appliance and stick of furniture... how long does it take most of us to accumulate all of those things? Not to mention personal possesions, like jewelry, clothes, toys, tapes and cd's... jeesh... it's a lot...

But besides all of this, they'll have to be paying rent, while paying a mortgage on a home that's not built yet... and most people I know who've had to do similiar things didn't get the insurance check to help out right away...

But more than any of this, all of us who emailed each other, donated, spread the word, and wanted to help, did so because we wanted to help. None of us asked how much insurance money is coming, because it's none of our business. And also, even if it was enough to cover every stick of furniture, and every tiny possession, it still wouldn't make up for this kind of loss... this isn't just about monetary support - it's about support period.

Beth said...

I can't say much that hasn't already been said but you and your family are in my thoughts and I'm so pleased that you're finding a few little gems.

If there is absolutely anything I can do to help - any cool little english novelties that I could send - please, please email me.

Virginia Lady said...

Wow, melted the frig? How odd. And to think the ketchup survived. I'm glad you've found a few things and I hope you are able to recover more.

kimmirich said...

Travis, the best to you and yours!!

Sending good thoughts!

fakefrenchie said...

Heard about your situation on Erica's blog. Best wishes from France and hopes that the rest of 2009 will be much much better.

Clare2e said...

We're all so curious to know how you are, but I know that I'd be a blithering basket cases. Thanks for the updates!

So glad you found some treasures and that you've got strong young baucks to help you do it. Unlike your appliances, I think if you sold me off for parts (cornea, kidney, etc) I think you'd get a lot more than I'm worth intact.

Let me know if you need a hand!

JES said...

Glad to hear you're finding some points of sunlight, and taking nourishment from them.

Tell you one thing: after work today I am rushing right home to cover the floors, walls, and ceilings with green shag carpeting. Inside and out. A chia house -- who knew?!?

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Popped over from NB. Wishing you and your family all the very best.

Celeste said...

Awwww... I'm really sorry. What an awful way to experience the new year. It's good that you were able to find a few things in tact. I'll be thinking of you.

McKoala said...

I'm glad you're finding some things; some important things, too.

However pristine, the shag carpet should go!

Camels & Chocolate said...

Wow, I must say I am impressed by how graciously you're handling such a tough situation.

Also, my bf and I totally have a green shag carpet in our living room! We spent months tracking it down online =)

Colorado Writer said...

My god. I'm so sorry.
At least the shag wasn't pink. Or orange.

Nnairda's said...

Thanks for the update! Glad to see that you still have your humor during this difficult time. You are still in my prayers.

Adriann

debra said...

So glad you're ok. So sorry about the shag carpet :-/
I've just mailed you and your family a wee giftie.

Dawn Anon said...

Ah Travis,
I just read the news tonight. So sorry about what you are going thru... so glad that your family is safe.

dizzblnd said...

I can only imagine the heaviness in your heart. It sounds as though your heart has become a little lighter through the treasures you were able to recover. Strange about the ketchup bottle. I, too, am amazed at the outpour of support in your time of need It has been heartwarming.

You have a great support network here of perfect no-longer-strangers and I hope we can continue to help pull you and your family through this tough time.

Holly Kennedy said...

OMG, Travis! I just now heard about your house burning. I'm so very sorry.

I clicked on the Habitat link and bought a brick for you. I hope you get loads more of them in the days to come :)

Josh said...

carpets are like cockroaches and twinkies, they can survive almost anything.

Reid said...

Yeah, that green shag is pretty much indestructible. We should wrap our troops in it for protection.

twoblueday said...

I cannot fathom how I would feel if my house and all my belongings were destroyed. As much as I say, and really try to mean/live that objects are items of utility and not to be grieved over, some things do form the fabric of my life. Hope life moves in a good way for you, and recovery is swift.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That shag carpet will be here after the cock roaches are gone. I remember the guy at the rug store speaking of durability when we bought our orange shag.

BarbS. said...

What a horror. It's happened to me, it's happened to a co-worker. I thought it was all behind me: I survived; it was only stuff that was lost; it's fun buying new stuff...

Yeah, right. I'm reading your posts and blubbering because it IS such an awful thing, and your family is traumatized, and you didn't hurt your kids more by telling them what really happened to their little turtle.

It's amazing, the little things that can survive a conflagration (though why, why, why must it be shag carpet???). I'm so glad your wife's rosary was found. My dad was Catholic, and I know how much his rosary meant to him.

Hope you don't mind if I keep you and yours in my prayers!

Stacy said...

Ketchup survives, huh? I bet Spam, if you had it around, would also survive the blazes.

And to think my parents just got rid of the last of their shag carpet. If only they'd known it'd outlive them.

That's amazing that your boys' birth certificates made it.

BarbS. said...

PS, an instant of levity, if I may, considering the general amazement at the shag carpet:

Spiders may spin webs, but cockroaches crochet shag carpet.

twoblueday said...

Got disney shirts

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Oh my gosh. Wow.

Through reading this I laughed and I also cried, and got goosebumps at the image of your worldly goods going to their metal grave.

All for $35

Shag carpet, the rosary, tiny footprints on the birth certificates, and the C.E.C. tokens ...

jenny said...

Travis - I'm finally catching up on my feed reader, and just learned about the fire. I'm so sorry for your loss, but yes, thankfully no one was hurt (aside from the turtle). And it's nice that you were able to find a few cherished memories in the rubble.

All my best to you and your family in this difficult time.

Carleen Brice said...

That's such a gift that your boys birth certificates remained. I can't imagine what an experience this is for you and your family. Hang in there!

Kateyamatey! said...

I wanted to grab Jennifer and hug her today, but I thought the other teachers might look at me funny. So I smiled and waved. Tell your wife how much I respect and admire her for the happy face she can put on when times are hard. I would have cried til I bled tears.

God Bless your family...and you Travis. The Erwinator.