My first weekend at home since the fire! I’ve looked forward to this for nearly half a year, so it doesn’t bother me (too much) that my kitchen is not quite functional or that I have only one working faucet, not counting the showers, which, it turns out, have no hot water. The microwave works and there’s always take-out. At least I can get water to make tea and the refrigerator is cold enough to store important items like chocolate and ice cream. I have enough in stock to keep me over the weekend, but I have one more errand to run before I can settle in for the night. The clothing group will return everything to me on Thursday, but until then I have no blankets or towels, so I need to go shopping. There’s also the small matter of purchasing a television, so the cable guy has something to work on tomorrow morning.
I’m exhausted, but I head out one last time for the day. I go to my home away from home – Target. It’s easy enough to find a quilt and some towels I like. I had planned to head to an electronics store for the television, but first I wander over to the side of the store where all the expensive toys are located. My friend Kevin has given me lots of good advice about buying a television, so I have some ideas what to look for. I’ve decided to get just a ‘secondary’ TV for now. This one will eventually end up in the guest/kids-home-from-college room, so I don’t need anything too big or expensive. I’ll wait until I find my future house and then I’ll indulge in a big fancy TV just for mama. I’ll get one big enough to make all the soccer games seem real and big enough for my aging eyes to read tiny subtitles on foreign films. Luckily, I find one on sale that seems to have a pretty good picture. I’ll take it!
The first night at home is a bit surreal. My bed is the same but the mattress is new. It’s much better than the rental one, but it still takes some getting used to and I wake up several times during the night. Once or twice I hear the dogs roaming about, still familiarizing themselves with our new-old home. I can’t remember how to reset the alarm on the new clock radio, so I set the alarm on my cell phone and e-mail an early bird friend and ask him to please call me at 7:30 as a back-up. The cable guy could be here from 8:00 on and I sure don’t want to greet him in my PJs. I needn’t have worried as I wake up around 5:30. Ugh. I probably got about five hours sleep. Still, it’s nice to wake up in my own house. I can let the dogs out for their morning potty break without putting a harness and leash on Buddy, the escape artist. Both Buddy and Rosie are enjoying the backyard and spend most of the day outside.
The man from the cable company shows up and spends three hours getting my phone, internet, and TV connected. He wanders all around the attic only to find that the cable outlets are no longer there. Either they melted during the fire or were lost in the gutting of the house. He hauls out his two-story ladder and begins installing cables up the side of the house. I supply him with sodas, which he happily takes, and by noon I’m connected to the world again. I spend most of Saturday and Sunday unpacking bit by bit. I’ve replaced a fair amount of stuff lost in the fire, especially for the kitchen, and it’s going to take some time. My son comes to help out on Sunday. He looks around the house and admires everything. I hope seeing the house come back together so nicely will help erase the bad memories of the fire and its aftermath. We’ve both had a rough time dealing with it all, but we also know that we’ve survived the worst of it. Jacob’s doing well at school and living in my old co-op. It’s amazing how well we get along when we’re not living together! He’s very helpful and begins assembling one of the new armchairs. We eat lunch and actually talk to each other, comparing stories about our co-op experiences. He’s anxious to get back because he’s one of the organizers for the Halloween party that night. I drive him down to campus, happy that he’s happy. There’s a lot to do at the house before it will feel normal again, but I don’t mind. I’m happy to be home, even with stacks of boxes and cold showers.