fire, part 2: everything is terrible and will also be okay

I really thought, “this is it. I’m going to write a blog post about the fire, and then I’ll feel like a weight has been lifted, and I’ll magically move on with my life and be productive.”

That didn’t happen, and sitting down to write has felt more like a chore than something I do because it helps me process life, brings me joy, gets me to try a new thing (still lookin’ at you, WordPress, and these “blocks” that I need to learn to avoid breaking things).

I want more of the latter. The joy. But it feels wrong to ignore the pain. I don’t want to drag it out, though. And I’ve been stumped on “what to say next” about the Marshall and Middle Fork fires, because… the aftermath is all around.

Here’s a long video about it. Please skip if you’re triggered by fire. I still can’t really watch it, either. Of course, the worst is over now. It’s a little better when there’s snow on the ground. The snow is melting now, and it’s hard to see the scorched ground and rectangular outlines of what used to be homes, filled with rubble, remnants, memories.

John was shoveling snow last weekend, and happened to chat with our neighbor. I’m so glad that happened, because said neighbor has already hit up their home insurance for $20k+ in damage. We started the claim process one day before the deadline (apparently, with Hippo you have 45 days to start a claim after an incident like this; otherwise you just get around $2k in maximum payout). It’s a slow process. We’ve emailed our adjuster a few times, and still have tons of questions. We had a company assess our home (recommended roof tile replacement, new attic insulation, carpet cleaning, and more), and another company just recommended duct cleaning. I mean, that second company was HVAC, not a roofing company…so I question the motives of both… but it’s hard to trust anyone or anything in this mess. I hate insurance and doing anything that’s vaguely difficult or unfamiliar and doesn’t seem fun to me. Buying a home was hard enough. Doing taxes falls into the “vaguely difficult” bucket, too, but I’m procrastinating on that until April as usual. I should just hire someone, but that seems too hard, too. And yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about things that end up taking far less physical/mental labor to do than the agonizing-over-it that comes before.

There is no point to this post. I just knew I had to sit down and write it. And I knew that I wanted to end on a high note, even though that’s hard to do right now.

When we walk Cheyenne around the recreation center (scorched by fire, homes nearby totally destroyed), we’re seeing new grass and signs of spring. Cheyenne makes us laugh. Our neighborhood cat, Fluffernutter, is back to paroling the streets and being an asshole to our cat, Icarus. He bit me recently because I was trying to protect Ikky. It hurt, but it also made me laugh. Animal antics (their weird behavior) make me happy. Sun makes me happy…and it’s not sunny today, but it was very sunny yesterday, and it’ll be sunny again very soon.

Everything is terrible, and the world is on fire (literally and figuratively) in ways good and bad. Things will probably be okay. I tell myself that because I’ve dealt with lots of shitty things in life, and I’m sure there will be more. But there will also be great things. My hope is that the great outgrows the garbage, and sticks around long enough to make a difference. That’s all anyone can hope for, right?

P.S. The next post will be different. I don’t want to do a fire part 3 post, but maybe I’ll want to do that when I’m overwhelmed and frustrated again. I do have lots of non-fire things on my mind, and it’s time to make room for those!

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