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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

When Abnormal Becomes Normal!

After the fire we moved into a hotel and since then we have been in this same hotel. At first our life seemed upside down and strange. After all we were all comfortable in our own place and knew where everything was and everything had its place. Not that we were such great housekeepers, but my daughter and I had successfully organized several areas of the house and we were working on doing more. My things were all around me and I could sit at my computer and see my china cabinet filled with my Betty Boops and my piano. Yes, we had to have my piano in the dining room, because that was the only place it would fit. I was going to practice more and get ready for a performance this spring. Don't get me wrong. I am not a professional and definitely not someone you would consider accomplished. But my sister-in-law kind of cajoled me into playing with her. It's all done without music. It's all improvisation, which can be very well done.

The people I have seen are accomplished pianists and so is my sister-in-law who has performed several times and sung too. They perform with other instruments such as a viola or a drum and occasionally there are other kinds of artists involved who draw or improvise a project. It's a very harmonious experience and you can see how all art is related.

Getting back to my practicing, the thing is that I also had a lesson from a piano teacher who is a mutual friend and now if I go back it will be awkward. The lesson was back in the summer and I promised to practice. This promise was difficult, since there were always people around me and no one wanted to listen to me practice. That's no excuse, but I'm using it.:) Seriously, I didn't practice enough and now that my piano is no longer with me I can't practice.

Today I had to make a very sad and necessary decision. We met with the man from ServPro again to get another estimate today. I have decided to give up my piano.We had to meet in our smokey apartment and now going in there is starting to feel like I'm in a set for Supernatural.:) By the way if you haven't checked out this awesome show you should definitely watch it. If you like clashes between good and evil and stories about the Apocalypse then you will love Supernatural. Add in two really hot guys, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who play respectively, Dean and Sam Winchester. These two hunt and find demons, vampires, and ghosts and usually slaughter them. After the fire watching Supernatural was a way for us to feel more like it was home. If you watch the program and get hooked you are going to have to buy the DVD's for all the seasons before this one to get caught up in the story. Luckily, we had loaded them all on our computers so we could watch. However, connecting the computers to the hotel TV required a couple of days in Best Buy and don't get me started on how awful that was.:) But at least we were able to watch a wide screen.

Sorry I've gotten side tracked from what I was talking about and that is life in a hotel room. At first it seemed strange. I admit, putting a key card into a slot is different from opening your own house door. Not having an oven is difficult, but that isn't the worst part. The worst part is trying to make life normal with a refrigerator filled with snack food and nothing else.:) The room has pots and pans and dishes, but it's not my kitchen and so it's strange.:) We have eaten out or brought in food every night. The hotel has a free dinner three days a week, but I'm picky about what I eat so I haven't eaten too many of them. Tonight was only the second time I ate down there. We have a living room where we all congregate and a table where most people eat. However, my husband has decided to use this as his catch all and desk so it looks pretty much like his side of the table looked at home. Gradually as we have been living here it has started to look more and more like home as we have brought in more and more things from the house that could be salvaged without being cleaned.

It's hard going back to the house to pick over what is left. We still have clothes in the closets and in our drawers. We are leaving a lot of stuff including most of our bedroom stuff including the mattress I've had for over fifteen years. I can remember my daughter shopping for a new mattress and don't look forward to that again.:) Yet I'm okay with doing that and even though I will probably cry when I have to get rid of my piano, I'm okay with that too. You start to prioritize what is important to you when an event like this happens. But every time I have to go into that house I feel intense pain that such an event could have happened and about the loss of life next door. Nothing we give up will replace those lives and I feel much better when I think that I can give up almost anything as long as I have my family.

Because they are my real home and always will be. They are not easy to live with and sometimes I want to wring everyone's neck. But here in this fairly spacious hotel suite we have somehow made an abnormal situation about as normal as being home. Now it doesn't seem odd to me to have to park my car using a key card, find a parking space then walk through a hotel lobby, get on an elevator and use a key card to get into my room. I found myself thinking about going back to the hotel as home. In a sense it is my home now until we find a place to live in permanently.

I'll tell you a secret. I spoke with the mailman today and told him that we are keeping our mailbox until we get a real address. Knowing that we still have the same address helps me, because at least we have a place to get our mail. This is now the only real sense of permanence that we have. When we first got here I tried to think of what I could describe my situation. If I had to name it I would say this is a velvet nightmare. Velvet, because it's pretty soft. We have a very nice hotel room and we are comfortable. We were able to get new clothes and we are able to eat decently. But the nightmare happens when I realize that at the end of the month we need to find a place to live, because it is really expensive to live here. My house has layers of smoke and grit over almost everything and we have to pack everything without any heat or electricity in the middle of winter.:) If we pack enough of our stuff for the ServPro guys then it will be less money. So stay tuned for news about our packing experience. I am sure it won't be boring.:)

What I have learned from all of this is that life goes on even though it might be abnormal and if you live with this abnormality long enough it becomes normal.:)

One more thing before I end this. I want to thank all of the people who commented here and expressed their concern for me and my family. I also want to thank everyone who both offered us gifts and the ones who gave us gifts. My family and I are overwhelmed with the generosity that has been shown toward us and so I want to give you all a giant hug!!!!!!!!


  1. You are right. Tragedies make us prioritize, although we should be doing that even when life is "normal." Of course that's hard to do sometimes.

    You seem to be doing amazingly well. I guess human beings have always been able to cope and adapt.

    Hang in there.

  2. Oh, The Guy's Perspective!
    It may seem that I am doing okay,but there are still traces of things I need to watch. For instance, I walked into the hotel garage and smelled smoke. Immediately I started to panic, but as I kept walking it disappeared. Someone had been smoking there I'm sure. Each night I wonder if I will be able to sleep through it, since we had that alarm in the hotel the night after the fire.:) But other than that I am fine and dealing with each new thing as it comes.:)

    Thanks for commenting again. I would love to know your real name. Send me a message on FB.:)

  3. Hey Barbara,

    I'm sorry about the piano and everything else of course, but I admire your strength in dealing with all this!! I know I'd be a wreck. Good luck!

  4. Thanks, V.R!
    My piano is from 1959 and I would rather sell it. It needs a little TLC which I didn't do:) It was going to be too expensive for it's worth.

    My piano has a great deal of sentimental value, since it was in my mother's house until she died. I used to ask her for it, but she always said that it was the only way she could make sure I would visit her:) So she kept it and though she didn't play she put her photos on top. She kept it tuned for me! So it 's doubly hard for me to just let it go:)


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