Monday, January 19, 2009

What I've Learned

This will be the last post I devote solely to the fire and it is going to be rather random since there are several things I want to share and say. To give the post some kind of cohesiveness, I'm going to do it list style and call it ... Things I Learned When The Smoke Cleared.

1) Don't jack with green shag carpet. I wrote in an earlier post about finding lots of the green shag still intact. her is the pictorial proof. And yes, my computer room was in serious need of a remodel. But then again, that green shack did feel nice to curl my toes around as I typed away.



2) It is important to update your home owners insurance on a regular basis. matter of fact, you should follow Acorns voting advice of early and often and apply that principle to you insurance updates.

3) It's okay to smile. One of the things I struggled with immediately after the fir was my mood. I was stunned, shocked, dumbfounded, overwhelmed, tired, scared, and short of breath. Sure I was sad, but I refused then as I do now to dwell on that. I believe in laughter, counting your blessings, and finding the silver lining. But for nearly a week after the fire i felt guilty if I so much as smiled. It didn't seem proper or right, but despite everything, there are something that are just funny. Like when I inadvertently told a friend, "I'd love to do that, but I can't commit right now because I already have too many irons in the fire. " Or like yesterday when another well-meaning friend asked if I'd lost all of my CDs. When I answered yes, he said, "I'd be glad to burn you some." The look of horror on his face was priceless when I feigned hurt and asked, "What's that supposed to mean? Don't you think I've had enough things burn?"

4) Avoidance is a good coping technique. Since my family is all safe, the majority of things we lost can be classified as stuff. Sure there is some irreplaceable stuff such as videos and pictures of the boys when they were small, but dwelling on the fact they are gone will change nothing. So whenever things of that nature pop in my head I think about that cracked window I will never have to replace, or the ugly green tub that no longer needs updating. matter of fact there were a million honey-dos that my lazy side put off doing.

5) Shiner Bock makes good sturdy bottles.


6) This one comes from my wife. There is no reason to stow that good china, or keep you grandmother's silver silverware locked away in a chest. Use it. Why? Because you can. (By the way we did find most of that silverware in the rubble. Tarnished, but usable.)

7) Smoke alarms work and they are your friend. We had the kind that actually speaks and sometimes when it is dark and quiet I can still hear her voice say, Fire!,Fire! Fire! My wife says she does too, but nevertheless I will buy the exact same kind when we get our new house. Experts say kids respond better to a voice than a shrill warning. Ours also doubled as a carbon monoxide tester.

8) We all know how dangerous the stock market is these days. And trust me when I say Keeping cash under the mattress isn't a good idea because those suckers leave nothing but springs behind when they burn. So if you don't have a fireproof safe or a safe-deposit box my advice is to take you money and buy Chuck E. Cheese tokens. They seem to do just fine in a hot blaze.

9) We've already established that it is a good idea to go with wall-to-wall shag carpet, but what should you build the house out of ....

Lincoln Logs of course.


I found a bunch of them. Charred, blackened, but mostly intact.

Who knew?


10) And most importantly I discovered just how many friends I have. I'm still in the process of thanking each of you individually and I certainly hope I do not miss anybody, but it might take me a month or so to make it through the lengthy list of those who have gone above and beyond to help in one way or another. Also to express my gratitude, I'm going to be giving away the remainder of my supply of Writer's Calenders. I am going to do this in a variety of ways. Two copies, in a random drawing of those who contributed on the site Erica and Stephen started. Two copies in a drawing among those who have taken the time and effort to send packages, cards, and well wishes via postal mail and email. And one from a random drawing of those who have signed on to follow my blog. I wish I could give each and every one of you a copy, but that is beyond my means.



Thank you all again, and I promise to at least try and get back to my normal style of blogging soon.

45 comments:

Patti said...

#5: whew, that was a close one.

pita-woman said...

After all you've been through, and YOU're making ME laugh!
I'll be sure and let my nephew know his vast collection of Lincoln Logs are safe for eternity.
I'm a big believer in updating the insurance, sadly though, life insurance is all I've ever given consideration to updating. After 15 years, I guess it's time to check on the homeowners as well. Thanks for the advice!

Vodka Mom said...

I am so very glad to "hear" your voice. It came through loud and clear in this post- which was red hot! (pun intended.)

Now, pass me some damn lincoln logs. I'm putting on an addition.

McKoala said...

I'm glad you're still finding yourself in the midst of all this; sounds like you're coping amazingly well.

preTzel said...

Does this mean that Stephen should change the wording over at the "brick" site to say "Buy a Lincoln Log" or "Buy a Shiner Bock Bottle" so that your walls and windows can be replaced? ;)

I think the most important thing you can hang on to is your sense of humor in this situation Travis. When our home flooded in '93 and we lost a lot of our stuff people could not understand why I was cracking jokes. It is because laughter is the best medicine. Always.

Keep that sense of humor. Now I'm off to go invest in Chuck E. Cheese Tokens. :)

The Anti-Wife said...

About 6 months ago, I signed up with an internet file back-up service called Mozy Home. It was about $100 for 2 years worth, but every week it connects to the my computer and stores all of my new files - including pictures - and makes updates to existing files. An incident like your fire is exactly why I signed up for this and highly recommend anyone with a computer full of documents and pictures look into the various storage services available on the net.

Glad you're smiling again.

angel, jr. said...

What a great list...

Lauren said...

I will never again make fun of shag carpeting. Wait, that's a lie. Although, it is becoming popular again among trendy circles.

I always knew there was a reason I liked Lincoln Logs.

You have such a great sense of humor. I am so impressed that in spite of everything you are still able to be funny.

Janna Qualman said...

My daughters will be pleased to hear about the Chuck E. Cheese tokens. ;)

It sounds like you're making it through okay. Keep it up, fella!

Beth said...

You are an amazing man.

Robin said...

Travis, are you sure that was green shag carpet, and not mold from outer space that was trying to eat you guys? Just wondering.

I love that you're making burn jokes! You rock!

spyscribbler said...

Smoke alarms speak now? You're kidding! Sheesh! I am SO behind the times!

I keep putting off renter's insurance and insurance on my piano. I need to get to that!

Angie Ledbetter said...

You give us all something every time you post. No need for physical gifts. :) Hoping more blessings coming your way. Prayers & hugs

pattinase (abbott) said...

YOu give us so much on a daily basis with your blog and life. More would be too much. And I had that shag carpeting in my old house and didn't move it here. Damn.

Jenster said...

Great lessons for us all!

Michelle said...

Great list. I was especially surprised at the Lincoln Logs, that's amazing. And, I've never heard of talking alarms, but I'm going to look into buying some.

I really love the way you write!

huddlekay said...

You crack me up Travis. If we can't laugh at ourselves then who can we laugh at.

(And thanks for the advice by the way!)

Cloudia said...

A very interesting post. No wonder we all love to follow you, Travis.
thanks for these wisdoms. Aloha-

Lana Gramlich said...

I'm glad things are starting to look up for you. Perhaps you need to rebuild out of lincoln logs & green shag..?

lyzzydee said...

Hi Travis, Whats a Lincoln Log???
I am another person who I am sure other people think are mad because I find myself laughing at the wrong time, something will tickle me and I'll be off. My all time worst giggling fit was at my sister in laws funeral when I got a fit of the giggles, it was an open casket and folk kept coming in and saying how well she looked, I wanted to say 'how well can you look when you are dead?' so I know where you are coming from!! I am sorry for the loss of your baby photos, do any of your rellies have some they can share??

the walking man said...

Why not build out of full Shiner Bock bottles? Think of the smiles that come as you empty them.

dizzblnd said...

You're sense of humor is AMAZING! So are you! I loved the "burning CD's thing" that made me laugh out loud! I can't believe the stuff that survived. SO you need to build your home with Lincoln Logs, bottles and line EVERY surface with that green shag carpet!

Crystal Phares said...

I knew there was a reason I love Shiner Bock.

Glad you are feeling better!

Monnik said...

This is a great post, Travis. You have a great outlook on things, and it's cool to see what survived.

I had no idea they made smoke detectors/fire alarms with a voice instead of that godawful shrill alarm. I am totally going to replace the ones I have with those.

Melanie Avila said...

Travis, you made me laugh so hard I had to share this post with my husband. It's great to see this hasn't destroyed your sense of humor. I'm finding that I also rely on jokes to get me through the rough times, and while it makes other people uncomfortable, it helps ME. I'm glad you sound like yourself.

I'll refer back to this post when we move into our next place: shag carpet, check. lincoln logs, check. shiner bock, check check check. :)

Josh said...

shag carpet for the win

laughingwolf said...

travis, your sense of humor is your best asset, don't ever lose it :)

Janie said...

Dude. I so love your sense of humor. And I'm glad you're smiling.

You've still got a big task in front of you, and your outlook on life will see you through.

You and your family rock, Trav.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Thought I'd come over and hopefully make you smile...thanks to you, I can NOT stop singing a very bizarre version of the ITSY BITSY SPIDER!!

Hallie :)

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I just knew you'd come around to this eventually. Glad it was so soon!

cindy said...

travis, thanks for taking the time to come to my blog to leave a comment. i was happy to do what i could--wish it was more. a home is our sanctuary. but our family is our heart. so i'm glad that you can rebuild and loved ones are safe.

i laughed at your too many veggies comment. the english love their meat! my best friend is vegetarian, tho. ;*) best of luck to you and your loved one.

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for the update!! I know from tragedy comes blessings and it sounds like you are finding yours:))

Charles Gramlich said...

I nearly spewed grape juice through my nose at the "burn some Cds" thing.

a sense of humor is a blessing for sure under these circumstances. I doubt I'd have as good a one as you have given the situation.

Barbara Martin said...

Well, Travis, you've made Galley Cat News today. Here's the link: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/authors/writers_rally_round_one_of_their_own_106261.asp

Barrie said...

I have so many Lincoln logs, I could at least build myself an office! Travis, I can't tell you how much I love your random posts. Love them!!

Reb said...

Travis, go ahead and laugh and crack wise. Sometimes it is all we can do to handle things. Love the post.

Phats said...

Travis- I truly am sorry for everything you're going thru. Thanks for the tips, hang in there buddy keeping you and your family in thoughts and prayers.

Sam said...

I'm sort of a coward about reading the fire posts, it hits too close to home.
One thing you'll see - the trauma goes deep and stays long. If you can, get some professional help for you and your family. A little therapy will go a long way.

Chick said...

Great list & you & your family have a beautiful spirit.

I can't wait to see photos of your new Lincoln Log house!

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Ha! You should write to Shiner's and Lincoln Logs about your experience. You may get free stuff in return (always a good thing) and you've got great photographic evidence to boot! I love it!

I had no idea about the talking detectors. That's kind of creepy... LOL. When we hear the shrilling noise at my parents' house, my kids and I always yell, "Dinner's ready!" (and it's true... that's when dinner at Mom's truly is done, not us being randomly rude. Don't ask me why she put the detector so close to the oven - one of life's little mysteries.)

I love your attitude, and you shouldn't feel guilty about finding laughter and happiness. You and your family are SAFE. That right there gives you every reason to be downright giddy.

Emily said...

Ha ha Travis... I wanted to come read your blog and realized, I can't read white text on black without my glasses! Whoohooo... now I feel officially... deformed. I think.

Shauna Roberts said...

I spent a long time after Katrina being sad that we lost all my baby and childhood pictures and pictures from the early years of our marriage. Recently it hit me that my parents' and siblings' photo albums would contain some photos of us. My brothers are going to scan photos and burn them onto CDs for me. Maybe your family too will be willing to make copies of photos for you if you ask.

Aaron said...

Finally knowing someone that admits to having (had) shag carpet... exactly how do you vacuum it?

Junosmom said...

Fascinating list of things that survive fire. I'm going to start planning my retirement home built completely from Lincoln Logs.
I laughed about the CDs I wonder where to buy the talking fire alarms - I'll look into that. I've heard teens (I have two) will sleep straight through an alarm. Hope your boys are coping well - though I'm sure with your humor, they are.

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Oh my gosh, you had me cracking up with the "got too many irons in the fire" and "I could burn you some CDs" comments.

You are a true soul, Travis!