Back in January, I thought that being woken up at 3am by fire fighters pounding on your door was the scariest thing to live through. Turns out, I was wrong. Having a stranger pound on your door at 9pm, while you’re getting your son ready for bed, to yell at you to get out of the house because the house next door is on fire, is much, much worse.
That’s exactly what happened to us earlier this week and I have to tell you, it’s awful. Standing outside watching the flames just a few feet from our house, the embers landing on our roof, I was convinced that our house was going to burn down. Just that afternoon our home insurance renewal came through and was I trying to figure out how we could possibly call the insurance company just 10 months later to tell them this.
People often talk about what they would grab during a fire, or an emergency. If you had just minutes to decide, what would you take? Over the years I’ve had this discussion with people and I’ve always thought; paperwork (birth certificates, etc), money, pictures and certain jewelley that means a lot to me.
During the flood when we were evacuated, I wasn’t worried about our house being destroyed because I figured the water could only go so high. I knew the city workers were on the way to shut off the water so I grabbed my sons and my iPad and our winter gear and headed out the door. We were still in our pyjamas, but my parents only live down the street and I figured by daylight, once the hydro was shut off, we’d be allowed back in the house to get more items.
The fire was a different story. Once we realized what was going on, we saw the flames through our back and side windows. They were just a few feet from our house. I didn’t think about pictures or money or objects or anything like that at all. I scooped up my dog while yelling for my husband and son. I only thought of my purse because it happened to be sitting at my entry way table by the front door. We threw on shoes and ran out the door, without even grabbing winter jackets. We literally left with the clothes on our back and that was all.
Somehow, the universe looked out for us. The wind was blowing in the right direction and the dampness from the day of rain protected our house. My heart is broken for our neighbors who are now homeless. Their house pretty much burned down and hardly anything could be salvaged. Other then a few scorch marks, some bubbled paint and a cracked side glass entry door, our house was spared.
Standing on the front lawn watching the fire department battling the blaze all I could think of was the year we’ve had. Beginning with the flood, the asbestos nightmare, I stood there thinking to myself, I’m not sure how much more I can take. But then a neighbor pointed out my son and I didn’t have jackets and rushed to grab one for us both and I thought about it. We were safe. Again. When the time came and I had to decide, all that mattered to me to save, was us.
I love my house. I love my things. I love my pictures and books and memories. But more then anything, I love us.