Well, it’s true, our garage and house really did catch on fire, the fire marshal said so and the three fire companies that responded all agreed, without dispute.
I’ve always been particularly afraid of losing my home to a fire, not because I’m so materialistic as because our house burnt to the ground when I was in the first grade - nothing saved except my high-chair, which was great because my grandfather bought it for my first birthday, and it could be folded into a desk once the babe was able to sit on a chair at the kitchen table for the activity of food consumption.
I’m moving from my real topic.
The melted faces of my dolls, amidst the rest of the debris, are burned into my brain. So, when my husband, from whom I’m amicably separated, showed up at my apartment to give me the hateful news, I was shocked and felt great trepidation. I didn’t want to see the house. The house had much to do with our separation. This slice of life I’ll keep to myself; you will be thankful.
I didn’t go to our house until the insurance adjustor, building contractor and other people essential to the restoration of our lives were to meet us there. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. Things started looking up.
The building contractor explained the amount of structural damage and what would be done for its repair. The insurance claims adjustor advised us of what we could expect in recompense for our lost possessions and for the restoration of others.
It was a wonderful surprise that brought a sense of elation when we were told that our insurance company would also provide us with housing comparable to what we lost and for the duration of the restructuring of our own. How accommodating! For the moment, we are ensconced in a Best Western Hotel, but we aren’t wondering how we’re going to pay for it.
Now, the car is a slightly different story. We are short a little over $7000.00 in being able to pay it off with the insurance money. That somewhat ruins dinner, if I had any to ruin (that tale comes later in my insipid story.) Still, overall, I’m a happy camper. Friends have loaned us their PT Cruiser for the duration. They have cars out the wazooooo. And, they are very kind and generous.
What I don’t like out the wazoooo is the negativity stemming from my husband’s half empty glass of water. It makes me want to give him several half full glasses of Scotch to put him out for some time. The addition of a couple of his anxiety medications might also bring some much needed relief.
How easily we forget! In the beginning of this hell, Bruce had seen a family on the news that had lost all of their possessions in a fire. They escaped with only their pajamas and, apparently, they didn’t have insurance to cover their losses. Bruce then said he felt grateful. Well, that has died along with the rest of the Grateful Dead, except even they are more alive with more grateful friends and roadies.
In all fairness, Bruce has undergone much more stress than I have. He was in the house when it caught fire. He had some minor smoke inhalation requiring a treatment and a day of recuperation. He has to make the majority of the return phone calls because most things are in his name.
He also scorns me because I decided not to travel the 260 miles to our friend’s house where he was to pick up the PT Cruiser. I don’t socialize with Bruce. We have different styles. I like to leave a gathering early and head for my own tidy little home. Bruce prefers to carry an overnight bag and sleeping roll in hopes they’ll invite him for a slumber party. He likes to continue the conversation in front of the wide open door with our feet planted toward the exit until I get a stiff neck from looking over my shoulder. I like to say, ‘So long,” and mean it. He returned from his trip a very unhappy chap.
The serenity prayer has become so clichéd but it is still so true. We need the strength to change the things we can, the ability to accept the things we can’t and the wisdom to know the difference. Or, something like that. How quickly we can go from being appreciative of our circumstances and maintaining our empathy for others in far worse situations, to feeling overwhelmed and negative, worrying about things that are down the road.
I would like to slap Bruce, and I’m sure he would like to give me a good thwack too. Thank God, he’s sleeping now. I haven’t eaten in two days and he refused to go just down the road for a pizza, informing me with the sternest of face, that he very nearly killed himself on the way from our friend’s home as he drifted off the road in a state of exhaustion. I don’t belittle this in the least. I’ll be happy to have peanut M & Ms for dinner. I do object to his refusal to see the brighter side. I am disappointed to see how easily, how quickly, all of us can lose our perspective by forgetting how fortunate we are.
This is not my best, nor is it the most entertaining of my writings. Tomorrow, I will look at it and blush with shame at its worthlessness. A friend of mine once told me that the purpose of a journal isn’t to showroom one’s best scribbling but to showcase our impressions at the time, without an edit.
May we always remember that the people we love are more important than possessions. Let’s remind one another that, when going through hard times, if it doesn’t require much imagination to realize there are thousands and thousands of people who would quite happily exchange their situation for ours, we are downright obligated by the dignity of those with less to be glad for what we have and to share what we can.
I'm also remembering with much satisfaction and sense of security that I have my own little apartment to retreat to if Bruce continues to wallow in the mire of a mud puddle in life.