The aftermath of fire is WAY more complicated than I knew. There is smoke damage everywhere, as we were right above the mess, and the wind carries everything from below right into our windows. It didn't help that the firemen barged into our apartment during the drama and opened all our windows.
We've had a massive team of restoration cleaners in the apartment all day every day since Thursday. Yup, including Saturday and Sunday. they've done an awesome job. In fact, the place has never been cleaner. Every inch of ceiling, wall, every object, every drawer, every surface has had a thorough once over. All our clothes went to dry cleaning, except for the 25 loads of laundry and a gazillion sweaters that i washed by hand. I guess it's a good excuse for the most major spring cleaning I've ever undertaken.
There has also been some exciting and dramatic intrigue around the fire. Let's just say the lady who's aparment went up in flames... has been waaaaaay less than cooperative. She has actually been yelling regularly at, oh, pretty much everyone who is in the business of trying to help. No one seems unscathed. The selfless doormen who risked their lives, the super (loveliest guy ever) the head of the board, the fire crew, the insurance people, I imagine she even gave the fire marshal hell. It's gone as far as her going after people physically and making abusive phone calls at 1 in the morning.
I am sure there is a very good story here, and I can't wait to get the rest of it. I just think, that if I had been at the root of that much damage and fear, I would be grateful for the help. I think I might even write thank you/sorry notes with wishes and hopes that everyone was doing ok, slipped them under all the doors. But no.
And so, today is the first somewhat-back-to-normal day. It's breathable here, everything is back in place. It's gorgeous outside. Life is still good. At first, in the conversations that I've been holding (out loud of course) with myself/my mother, I kept joking, "Hey Ma, it's me. That crazy stuff that last week of January, the wings on the terrace, and now the fire? Pretty bold stuff! Trial, ashes, wings, AND fire - I get it."
But now, it's "Ok Ma, let's have it calm for a little bit. All is well." It's what I would tell her when the moods were particularly despondent, and she was cycling. "All is well. I'm right here."
Caroline McHugh of "Never Not a Lovely Moon" (did you get yours yet?) sent a couple pix from the book celebration. (night of fire)
The incredible mirror where you see yourself as you really are seen. At first you look all crooked, but then you settle right in to your real self.
I guess it's not that I'm that superstitious, I don't REALLY think mom somehow sent those wings, or started that fire. I just like talking to her. She loved a good story. She loved when I would walk in and say "Hi Ma" in the particular way that I do. "Oh, I'm sooo glad you're here," she'd sigh.
And the moral of the story: All is well.