Monday, April 27, 2009

7 months

Kellen is Seven Months old today (which means the fire was a little over eight months ago!).

* And in other news, I am working on fixing the font so it isn't bolded. I was making some HTML changes and apparently did something to mess it up. I'm having trouble figuring out was "something" is.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am working on a bigger project with more photos. However with a young, on-the-move baby it is hard to get a clean house (or room) long enough to take a picture.

But here is the front of the house:

Friday, April 24, 2009


Most of our yard is done. Dan and I busted our butts to landscape at the old house. We put in so much topsoil that our driveway was a mound of dirt and impassible. We laid 3000 square feet of sod. We built a raised stone flower bed, and we built a 750 square foot deck, which didn't look so big in my mind but definitely could have doubled as a square dancing facility. I feel like I've put in my time, and I wasn't really up for laying sod again!

I still have the itch to plant. So I bought some Gerber daisies (my absolute favorite!!) and some Honeysuckle. I have been trying to grow Honeysuckle since we moved in three years ago. It has been an epic failure, but I believe that is in part due to the pine trees in the yard behind ours (which are now gone) and the fact that we had no watering system in place (I like to blame the former when it is likely the latter that is at fault!). We will try again and see what happens. If they take, next year I will plant on the other side.

As I was digging the holes for the honeysuckle, I ran into what I thought were rocks, which are in no short supply up here. As I was starting to backfill, I realized that what I ran into was not rock but was some melted circular rubber thing. We have yet to identify it. I thought it was coaxial, but Dan says it is not. We have also uncovered pieces of burned wood that are too small to identify. I wonder whether the burnt ground will make the ground more fertile. I know in the forest when it burns, the regrowth seems to be greener... but then again, that's not usually a former riverbed full of river rock.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


This has nothing to do with the fire, but it is unbelievable.

When Dan was looking through our bank records recently to verify furniture purchases, he noticed a $500 charge to Rosetta Stone. Of all the things I've needed, that wasn't on my list. So I called the company, and they confirmed that a transaction had occurred, and that I wasn't the recipient. They couldn't tell me who was and said we would have to get a police subpoena. Since my card hadn't actually been stolen we knew that it had likely happened during an online transaction. So I called the bank and called the police. I just checked in with the police, and they told me that since the dollar amount is less than $1000, they just simply file it away for information. They don't actually pursue the case EVEN THOUGH THE COMPANY HAS THE NAME AND ADDRESS ON FILE! Moral of the story: If you are going to steal, it's ok as long as it's less than $1000.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Dear Media

Dear Channel 2, 6, 7, and 12-
I know you are proud of your coverage of the fire (though is it the coverage or just the fact that it was such a big news story?). I get that it was the pinnacle of news stories. And I also understand that you want to brag about your news awards. But I have had to stop watching TV because I don't want to see my house burning down day after day after day after day. "Our award winning news team" with a shot of the fire. "We won the blahblah Murrow awards in six categories" with my house in the background on fire. Great. I'm glad it worked out so well for you. Meanwhile I am already reliving the fire day after day in my own head. I don't need a visual to go with it.
Brooke, who happens to live in the same area in which you broadcast!

* Although the picture of the cleanup with me laughing from the Statesman did win an award. That didn't bother me. Just the video of the fire. And my house... on fire.

The only acceptable response

It's been almost 8 months (EIGHT MONTHS?!?!). And yet it still bothers me when someone says something that is almost dismissive of the fire. The only acceptable response if this is the first time we've talked to you since then is... "We were so sorry to hear about the fire." (Not necessarily verbatim.) Anything about our new house, new things, being safe, just makes us feel small and as though this wasn't a big deal (and considering the ONGOING pictures on the news, I disagree- but that is a different post). I have spoken to neighbors about this, and we all seem to be in agreement that you just can't understand if you haven't been there. So again... "We were so sorry to hear about the fire."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

PTSD and dreams

One of the most difficult things for me about PTSD is my dreams. I don't remember the last time I had a good dream, and more often then not there is a fire in them. Now that Kellen is sleeping through the night, I am still sleep challenged and wake up from fear. It's one thing to work on your conscious thoughts during the day and try to shape them. It's quite another to be able to control your dreams.

Last night we were making dinner, and Dan was cooking chicken. He used to work in a kitchen, so he uses pan flipping techniques instead of a spatula. We have a gas stove, which causes me stress pretty much every time it's on, and I wish that we would have thought of this before and gotten an electric one. Everyone has told me they are so much better, and I am hoping that once I am through this, I can appreciate my stove for what it is. Anyhow... Dan was flipping the pan, and he dropped a piece of chicken into the fire, and it causes the flames to grow. To me, it looked like it was bad enough to start a fire, and I suppose if a piece of paper were nearby, it would have. I had Kellen and we were running out the door. Apparently it wasn't that big of a deal. I was pretty shaken though, and Dan's stoic response makes me think that he doesn't really understand this fear I am experiencing.

My first dream last night was of the stove getting out of control and causing a major fire. I don't know what I'm supposed to do to stop having these dreams, but they are absolutely horrible.

Grey's Anatomy has been doing some episodes on PTSD (and the nightmares associated with it), and I have read that they are going to explore it more in coming episodes. I'm thinking of doing something about PTSD along with that because I think it's important to understand. I also think it's important to differentiate post-traumatic stress, which so many of us have endured, and PTSD, which takes on a much more debilitating grip on life.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When did I buy that?

Yesterday Kellen, Dan, and I were at The Little Gym. We were enrolling for the summer, and I looked around at the t-shirts and immediately thought, "Oh yeah, we used to have one of those." I stopped myself. Wait. We HAVE one of those. It was AFTER the fire.

I'm finding this happens more frequently now. Did I USED to own that? Or do I currently have it? Everything is BF and AF, before fire and after fire. And yet there still seems to be limbo. I feel like I am constantly categorizing, stopping to ask myself if said item, thought, emotion belongs in BF or AF. If you remember in school doing Venn Diagrams (the two circles that intersect), I feel like my life is those two circles, though when I was in BF I had no awareness of AF. Now I have two equivalent circles that just barely intersect. And off to the side of the whiteboard is a big running list that gets added to daily in which I am being asked to fill in my circles. And sometimes I am wrong, having to go back and re-categorize, wondering when I will stop putting everything in the BF category and start realizing what I have now.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


We often hear we are lucky. The definition of luck is shaping forces, both positive and negative that operate in a person's life. It was just our luck that our home was one of ten that was totally burned. But that's not what people mean. People are eager to show us the upside of the fire as though we need to be told that we were able to build a nice house. I thought maybe if we had rebuilt the house exactly as it was we would have avoided those comments, but my neighbors say that they get equal comments ("It must be nice to have all new stuff." NICE?! Really?!) I think people are quick to forget the trauma and (in our society in particular) are concerned more about the stuff than about the emotional aspects or the sentimental. But in many ways we are lucky outside of the acquisition of things.

This is my list of ways that we are lucky... partially so I have a response when someone makes an insensitive comment.

- I am incredibly lucky to live in a community like Boise that has supported us throughout this whole tragedy.

- I am lucky to have a supporting husband who understands my fears and who will comb the house for intruders or buy me a gas alarm or run back home when I see a fire truck just to help me feel more secure.

- I am lucky that I live in a time where gas alarms and security systems exist to give me more peace of mind.

- I am lucky to have found good counselors and a good yoga therapist who can help me as I work through my fear.

- I am lucky in the sense that we endured this as a community. My neighbors understand my emotions, and that is helpful when so many don't seem to.

- I am lucky to live in the digital age where online shopping is possible. I am so over malls and stores.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


I've been so worried about the squirrels. I was worried that they didn't survive the fire and then I was worried they wouldn't come back. While they aren't official pets, they might as well be. They provide a lot of entertainment for us running back and forth on the top of the fence. And Shade LOVES them. I'm not sure this love is a healthy love, to be quite honest. We believe that he thinks his official job is fence sentry. As much as we've missed the squirrels, I think they've missed us. This morning I saw both squirrels out on the fence playing. They know better than to jump over the fence into our yard. And I am a little worried that they don't have any trees to jump into for safety. The squirrels are just one more thing that reminds me that things are returning to "normal," or our new normal anyway!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coming home

I don't know if I have ever been so excited to get on a plane to get home. My home. I grew up in Virginia Beach, and every time I go back I think that we need to move back. I know Virginia Beach. I love the water. The schools are great.

But being back in Virginia Beach this time was so different. I didn't feel like it was home. I missed my home. I missed Boise. I saw so many differences in the people there. I wondered if they would have been so supportive if the fire had happened in that community. And when I stepped off the plane, I felt like I was home. I am home.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kellen's tricks

Kellen has been crawling for a couple of weeks now. He pulled to stand today. Here is a video of him learning to crawl up a step.