Friday, May 29, 2009

Our deck

Two years ago Dan and I undertook a huge project to build a deck. In my head it looked simple enough, big enough for a patio set and perfect for a BBQ. The ground up here is hard. I don't just mean grab a couple of guys and get some shovels. I mean, rent a jackhammer and spend all day trying to jackhammer through the rocks to create a hole big enough to cement in posts. As Boise summers seem to be in recent years, the weather went from tolerable to HOT overnight, so as soon as we had the wood, it was in the upper 90s to low 100s. And yet we still stained (it was that or warped wood). Our neighbor, Donna, was fantastic (as she always is) and helped us stain. We got flood lights and worked in the early morning and late at night to avoid some of the heat. And it took us over a month to build. It was 750 square feet. It wasn't perfect, but there was beauty in the imperfections. It was our first home, and it was a reminder of this first major project we had undertaken together.

Last year we had a party the first of June to announce to our family and friends that we would be having a boy (we had found out a few weeks earlier). The deck was perfect (it was large enough for a hoe down to be honest). I had envisioned many parties out there, including Kellen's first birthday.

While I love our backyard now, I miss our deck. I miss walking out onto it and thinking about the work we put into it. I had thought often about Kellen playing on it, crawling on it, walking on it. And yet it is something he will never know.

This is the hardest part about the first year. Every season brings a new memory and new sense of loss for that time of the year. It's hard to believe that we are entering summer again, fire season. It's hard to believe it's almost been a year. We're home. And yet our home is a different home. In some ways it is easier that way. And in others, it magnifies the loss. I miss our deck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Poem

I was just sent this from my yoga instructor (Yoga for Wellness), and I think it is so appropriate to how I feel right now. I am working so hard on being able to accept what has come our way and be ok with inviting in all that happens, even if it is a "crowd of sorrows."

From the Persian poet, Rumi

This being human is a guest house,

every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all

even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of all its furniture.

Still treat each guest honorably,

he may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My smile

I haven't written much about the Bell's Palsy. I have *almost* fully recovered. Most people tell me it's not noticeable. One of my very good friends tells me she can still tell, and I appreciate her honesty. Because it is still noticeable, especially to me. My eye gets tired at night and droopy. When my nostril moves, it makes my lower eyelid twitch. And my smile hasn't really come back all the way... and I love my smile.

I've been thinking a lot about how to encourage more movement since it's been quite a while since the onset. I haven't had any improvement in at least six weeks, so I wasn't sure I would get anymore. But I've thought a lot about it. Today, as though my face was listening to my thoughts, my chin started to quiver. I've noticed some improvement in my smile too. I am hoping that the nerves keep regrowing and that by November, I will have my old smile back.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mommy blog

In addition to the house video (see below), I have been working on designing my mommy blog. I have a lot to say about parenting, and I wanted a place for those posts separate from this blog. The new blog is Mommy in Chief.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kellen standing

Our seven month old likes to stand straight up from a sit. We're taking wagers on when he will start walking.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The ash is GONE!

I am so excited to announce that 8 months and 19 days after the fire I have finally parted with the last of the ash (minus a few things that I kept for an art piece I am working on). I think they call this moving on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I believe that Mother's Day was invented for first time moms so they would have one day where someone would have to look around and see what it is that they do everyday. This is especially important on the first mother's day because the baby doesn't understand that he is supposed to be extra nice and not scream.

For mother's day, I decided that I needed to sort through the ash that was still in tubs from the fire. It has been eight months, and I was having a hard time thinking about looking through the stuff that was "salvaged." And I am proud to report that most of it is now in the trash can. I have mourned the loss of my things for eight months. There is no joy in learning that page 76 of my eleventh grade yearbook is recognizable (albeit burned). I can't read Outlander in that charred, water logged condition. And the quilt I made has burn holes in it (and is wet... STILL). It isn't coming into my new house. I have a few things from the house. Pearls. A letter from my grandfather. A couple of pieces of notes from my mom. Some burned pictures. And I think that's enough. Tokens of a previous life. Memories of a horrible event.

It's time to move on. And letting go of the ash, of the possibility of some lost letter or memory, is a good start.

My life now is different. It is different because of the fire. And it is different because I am a mom. That's what today is about.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Aftermath photos

I am working on the video (yes, STILL!), and I came across photos I don't think I've looked at yet. I'm not particularly religious, though I do have spiritual beliefs. One of my favorite prayers is the prayer for protection from the Unity church.

In case you can't read it, it says:
"The light of God surrounds me;
The love of God enfolds me;
The power of God protects me;
The presence of God watches over me;
Whereever I am, God is." [And all is well.]

I honestly couldn't tell you where this was in the old house. Probably in a box.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The news

I've stopped watching the news.

I have a B.A. in Political Science. I got cable because I needed CNN. I get excited about Meet the Press. And now, I can't watch it.

Do you know how much bad news is in the media? It's constant. A fire here. A murder there. Swine flu. Bad economy. Rumblings under Yellowstone. Melting glaciers. It's almost as if the collective media conscious is willing Armageddon.

My anxiety over fire has developed into a much more intense and generalized anxiety (so if I don't leave my house for a couple of days, don't worry). I can't do much without worrying about whether the worst will happen. And a lot of this has to do with the news. I think it's great that we are so interconnected. But do I need to know about the bad news in Georgia or Texas or Mexico? Canyon County has enough to hold me over, I think. So I've decided to stop watching the news (or visiting sites where the news might be- like Twitter or the Nest). My email is set up so that I can only see entertainment news and not the actual headlines. I don't want to know. Really, I don't need to know.

I was reminded it is news because it is unusual. But I just cut out at least a dozen articles from the fire where I was the news, I was the unusual. I was that person. So I'm taking a break. And you know, I don't miss it. I've found that my days are more productive without news, without TV (though I do watch movies and the Biggest Loser). I'm still anxious, but at least I haven't planned a grocery store outing to stock up on canned food in case of a mass quarantine this week. You think I'm kidding? It's a good thing we have two pantries!

Monday, May 4, 2009

One in a million

I was just reading this article about a lottery winner who hasn't come forward. They talk about what could have happened as it has been 69 days, and the amount is substantial. Among the theories, a house fire. One in a million chance it says.

One in a million. Those are better odds than winning the lottery. For that jackpot, I'm sure the odds were around one in 120 million. But even when the odds are one in a million, the assumption is that it won't happen, can't happen. And yet it does.

That is where I find myself right now. At the intersection of one and a million. And it is causing me incredible anxiety. I wish I could think about all the wonderful, lucky, amazing one in a millions, but instead I worry about the fires, the plane crashes, the swine flus. Which side will you find yourself on (I can tell you which side the insurance company is betting on)? And what happens when you are that one? How do you walk out the door like the millions when you know that disaster can be looming on the other side?

Google Earth

Dan was looking on Google Earth the other day. This is what he saw:

It doesn't even seem like that was ever our house. Since we rebuilt on the same land it feels like this is just what has always been here. It's really hard to imagine that our front yard was ever that big or that our house was that three bedroom. I suppose it is good that this is now our home and it feels like home more than that does. I don't really have much choice about it though either.