My new stove was put in last Thursday, 5 weeks to the day since the fire. Apparently there was some sort of insurance descrepancy, something to the tune of $6000. The insurance companies fought it out and in the meantime we ate what we could here but had to go out to eat a whole lot more than we would’ve liked to. One more way for us to do our part to stimulate the economy I guess.
So I was excited to finally get a replacement stove and it’s even nicer than the one before. Plus it’s easier to look at that than the burned and damaged one we had. For the first two weeks after it happened, every time I would walk into the kitchen I would start feeling sick to my stomach and have to get out of there as quickly as I could because it was too hard for me to deal with. It was always the last thing I’d see before going to bed and I spent more time on the second floor instead of the living room and especially the kitchen. Of course it was right there when I would wake up every day as well and it usually took me a few deep breaths just to walk in there. The smell of burnt plastic from the microwave lingered and I can still smell it now, although not nearly as bad since there’s a new microwave up there now. The walls are still charred and will be repainted soon and new cabinets hung to replace the black crispy ones.
It’s nothing short of amazing how fast it spread and how much damage it caused in less than two minutes. After it happened I thought of those surveys that ask if your house was on fire and you could only grab three things, what would they be? Our fire was contained to the kitchen but the smoke went all the way through the first floor. It all happened so fast that our only thoughts were to grab the kids and get out, which is exactly what we did. There would’ve been no time to grab the hard drives with all of our pictures on them, or precious stuffed animals, blankets, etc.
One thing that really bothered me is that we live in a newer subdivision and the houses are close together. We often chat with our neighbors on the one side of us and the guys who lives there is retired military. He came over and cut the grass a few times for us because he knew Paul couldn’t push the lawn mower. They happened to be working during the fire but the neighbors down the street were home apparently because I watched them grab a couple of lawn chairs and sit in their garage to watch the festivites at our house. It just made me angry because I know, wounded or not, if someone needs help, Paul is always right there to do it. It’s not just because he’s got the proper training as a fire fighter and he’s required by law to stop at the scene if paramedics or police haven’t arrived, but simply because he wants to help if someone needs it. I was so tempted to go over to my neighbor’s house and make some offhand comment about how I appreciate him seeing if we needed any help, but I figured there was no point and I didn’t want to be known as the rude, unapproachable neighbor. Although if the people on the other side of us don’t turn their music down to a level that I don’t have to listen to clearly inside my house with the A/C running, I might just become that neighbor.
Regardless of what happened, I am grateful to finally have new appliances, although the microwave has to be replaced with another new model that has a working door and not one that’s all dented in. The guys from Lowes who installed them apologized that it was supposed to be new but they would get a replacement out here ASAP. I mentioned that I had already been without one for 5 weeks so a few more days probably wouldn’t be a big deal.
I’m taking baby steps when it comes to cooking. I used to love baking and coming up with new things and now I’m panicky when I make macaroni and cheese. Since the microwave isn’t hooked up right now I don’t have a fan above the stove to take care of the steam so I’m constantly worried that I’m going to accidentally set the smoke alarm off. I’ve certainly put the watched pot never boils theory to the test because I feel the need to stand no more than three feet from the stove when there’s something on the burner or in the oven. Not that that’s a bad idea, but when I’m making a lasagna or something (frozen, baby steps, remember?) that takes an hour or so to cook it’s kind of hard to be patient. My laundry room and pantry are right off of the kitchen so occasionally I can fold clothes but I’m constantly checking to make sure nothing happens that’s not supposed to.
Every time I walk around the corner towards the kitchen, even if nothing is on I still expect to see huge flames pouring off of the stove. I still see smoke on the ceiling and walls around me and it’s almost hazy to me, like there’s a cloud of smoke I have to get through to get to the kitchen. At first I thought it was just my contacts needing to be cleaned but it happens when I don’t have them in. I’m sure I’m the only one who sees it, and it always takes me right back to that day. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll keep getting more used to it. I know I have somewhat already since I eventually got used to seeing the burned out kitchen.
Fire and it’s aftermath are just one of my fears I guess, so having it right there in front of me has just made me so paranoid. There are things I want to cook again but I feel intimidated just to turn on one of the burners. I have a flat cooktop range now so I can’t even drop anything down into a burner anymore so I should feel more relieved but now I’m worried that I’m going to some how screw up a brand new stove. I did buy another container of vegetable oil but it will probably be used for baking and not to saute with.
Just a little bit paranoid here, don’t mind me.