Almost a month has passed since our apartment house caught fire and our lives were irrevocably changed. I don’t want to re-hash all the details of the fire; what I want to do is tell everyone how we’re doing, what’s getting better, and what’s next for us as 2011 greets us with a smile.
Emotionally, I feel pretty stable. I think that my emotions have been a plateau rather than the sharp peaks and valleys I had been anticipating. At first I wondered if the unreal calmness I had felt while watching our old lives being devoured by fire was simply shock. I think that part of it was, but at the same time, the larger part of me realized that I just had to accept what happened and move on. It isn’t that I haven’t mourned the passing of our old life; I’ve cried my tears and still feel pangs of loss, but in the end, we can’t dance with our skeletons.
The loss that still strikes me the hardest is the loss of my delightful cat Isabella. She was my constant companion. She’d sit and watch me write for hours, and sometimes she’d wake me up if I slept too late. She hated cuddling in bed, but loved my lap the way rainbows love the sky. Now, with her gone, I feel alone. Yes, I have my wife and another cat, but it just isn’t the same without my grey lady.
Okay, I don’t normally share this kind of stuff, but here goes:
The night after the fire I asked for guidance from the gods. We didn’t know if either Isabella or Dante were alive, and I was fretting something fierce. Now, I don’t particularly believe that Thor is up there in the sky killing giants, but I do believe that there is a divine presence in the universe that reveals itself to us in varied guises. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned Freya. I asked for her guidance and I received it in the form of an image that showed me adopting another cat because Isabella was gone.
So, when things calm down, I want to go find that cat and give her a loving home. As I told Sarah, this isn’t to replace Isabella. Nothing could replace her. It is to give a cat that needs a loving home, a home. It is to give a cat that might otherwise be destroyed or thrown aside a chance to thrive in our midst.
Since the fire, we’ve been living at my parents’ house. It is a small cottage-style home, so it is a bit much to have 5 adults trying to go about their lives at the same time. I truly appreciate the place to stay and the meals we’ve been eating, but after having moved out and grown accustomed to life outside of my parents’ house, I thirst for that old independence. I don’t mean to paint our experience at my parents’ in any negative light, but I need my own space now. After recovering (somewhat) from the pain and shock of our loss, I’m ready to get back out there.
While living at my parents’ we celebrated Christmas. It was probably the best Christmas I’ve had yet. It was great because I got to have Christmas morning in pajamas with my parents once again. The simple joy of getting up and opening presents with your parents and sibling is a tough one to beat. We may all be getting older, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun.
Anyhoo, after Christmas, we began the apartment search in earnest. It didn’t go very well at first; we answered nearly two dozen ads and about three of them responded. Eventually, the floodgates opened and the phone rang like a young Quasimodo’s ears. We sifted through landlords that seemed sketchy, incompetent, or too off-putting (We ask “Do you allow cats?” the answer is “I dunno”. We ask “How many bedrooms is it?” the answer is “Oh, 1 or 2.”). Ultimately, we came to a decision after looking at about 7 or 8 places. It actually astonishes me that we looked at so many now that I think about it.
I came to the conclusion that there are some landlords I just can’t trust, there are some neighborhoods that are too bad, and that I’m more picky than I thought. I also realized how much I DETEST unprofessionalism. When your office stinks of pee, don’t expect me to have peace of mind when renting one of your properties. This paragraph really doesn’t work here, but I needed to vent.
Just this week, we finally found a place that seems to suit us. We’re taking a second look later today, and that should be the end of the hunt. Once we can move in, the process of picking up donated furniture and such can start. After that, due to all of the money that has been donated to us, we’ll be able to fully furnish the apartment and have a bit left over that can go towards my “down-payment for a house” savings.
The whole experience has put a lot of my life in perspective. I’ve learned what is most important to me, and I learned that there are some hobbies I had that just filled in the corners of my life. I learned that I need to spend more time with my friends and that I need to just let myself be open to what the universe has in store for me.