And a time for every purpose under the sun…
I finally got some of the pictures taken of the house a few days after the fire.
The source of the fire, my floor furnace. To the left of the grate you can see the hole burned in the floor.
It spread into the computer room, the ceiling, and attic, burning every box, bag, and table, including those in the attic. All of the debris here is a combination of me tossing everything looking for stuff, the contents of that section of the attic, the ceiling, and insulation, plus parts of the wall. You can see my computer desk and what was left of my monitor in the right back corner of the picture.
The fire burned through the door of Nate’s room and scorched all of the furniture.
It spread into the bathroom, which was opposite the computer room. It melted the shower curtain to the tub and the heat peeled the shower stall from the wall.
The heat rose in my room, scorching all of the furniture, burning pictures right off the walls and melting my CD holder, which was empty.
The fire spread into the living room and along the love seat, up the walls, burning my dad’s moose antlers, and a set of paintings my German sister had done.
Across the ceiling
Along the east wall, across the entertainment center, to the curio cabinet and front air conditioner.
A picture of Nate, my brother, and myself was hanging on the wall next to the curio cabinet… It survived with some heat damage.
The heat and fire came into the kitchen from both the computer room and the living room. Melting the blinds, the litterboxes, scorching the cabinets. and causing part of the ceiling to fall.
Yet, a picture of my host father in Greece, which was taped to the inside of the cabinet to the far left beside of the refridgerator, was unharmed.
I found Ozzy a foot from the front door, in front of the air conditioner. Cali was in front of the curio. Marco was lying on the end table beside of the couch, which was against the west wall, to the left of the moose antlers and not visibile in the pictures. Lola was lying on top of the couch.
Napoleon was in the computer room. He was badly burned and a piece of metal had melted across his body. I dug him out with a shovel, a screwdriver, and my bare hands because I could not stand the thought of leaving him there. I told the house that he was mine and it may have taken him but it was not going to keep him.
Ireland was in the doorway of my bedroom and Midnight was in the doorway of the bathroom, her favorite place to hide was behind the commode.
I found Smokey on my bed, right where he was when I left. The blinds had melted and fallen over most of his body. I lost it.
I knelt on my soaked mattress and sobbed into my filty, sooty hands, in my filthy, sooty clothes, in the miserable cold. I remembered the kitten that they said wouldn’t live. Malnourished and so tiny when I brought him home, only to prove them all wrong and live and grow into the 18 lb. patriarch of my feline family.
He sent many a dog packing for daring to sniff a blade of grass of his property, after all, I just paid the bills so he could rule the roost. And even at the age of 11, he still loved to play with his fluffy tail. He didn’t mind eating your hair, or breathing in your face, or biting your toes or meowing loudly if it meant you waking up and feeding him.
He hated dogs but he was the most tolerant of all the cats with kittens and new cats, as soon as they figured out that he was the boss. When the door opened and Schmo walked in, he was met by his family, even cranky Midnight. Napoleon followed him everywhere he went. The kittens would curl up against his big fluffy belly and he would groom them, just as though they were his own.
And, he survived Nate. Not bad given the fact Nate actually tried to nurse on him when he was a baby. If a cat can give you a “look,” well, he definitely gave me one that day. And when those who have been to my home heard of the fire, they didn’t ask of the cats, they asked of Schmo.
He and I weathered many storms together and I always said he was the most faithful man I ever had. I miss him.