Thursday, March 6, 2008


A brief siren and flashing lights woke me around 3:30 this morning. At first I am annoyed at this because sleep has been particularly scarce lately. Then I am alarmed because I wake enough to realize the entire street is lined with emergency vehicles. This isn't some mistake or little medical emergency (which is tragic to be sure) this is big, and I can see flames out the window. The kids sleep through it until Will wakes up and we start to talk. Then Phoebe wakes up and it's all over. She's really awake and delighted at the light show that is going on around her making shadows and colors on the ceiling. Thank goodness V and B kept sleeping.

The house one down from us was on fire. The fire got put out fairly quickly. The firemen were on the scene until well past noon. It is scary this whole fire thing. I couldn't really get back to sleep. I think I got 4 hours last night. I might be up to about 10 hours of sleep for the week.

I found out from a neighbor that the elderly man who owned the house was probably killed by smoke inhalation. He was a pack rat in an extreme way. He had trash piled at his front door, evidently more in the house, the second floor gave way from too much weight, presumably from his hoarding. His two cars were so packed with bits of paper and garbage that there was only room for the driver in the cars. He had been sited several times for the trash problem.

This man was once a fastidious and intelligent man. He worked for IBM and has two grown sons who are accomplished, and yet he lived alone. He would not even see his sons when they came to help.

He was courteous and friendly enough, a good neighbor. He always waved at me and the girls and never drove too fast. (sometimes a problem in our neighborhood)

There was a lot of excitement about the fire trucks out front. Vivi is very happy that they are there to help. The whole day was full of talk about house fires. I'm glad it does not impress the girls in a serious way.

A local news woman caught me and one of the dads in the neighborhood discussing the tragedy and asked if she could interview us on camera. We were on the news for 20 seconds maybe. My neighbor being quoted on camera and the girls clinging to me. 15 seconds of fame....there you go girls. (i shake my head in disbelief)

I spent the day in a sleep-deprived stupor going between snapping at the girls because they are toddlers which I have no patience, and hugging them close, telling them I love them because they teach me about life which it is so precious. They are so precious. I am sad today. I am not myself. I am "mommy dearest" and I wish I could just go to sleep and start over. I don't get a do-over but fortunately my daughters love me anyway. I am blessed.

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