100 days and counting

May 31st.  That was our 100 days.  Since our house burned down my husband and I have both turned 40 and celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  While our family trip to the Frio River over Memorial Day weekend was wonderful, I had inklings of cooking up something really wonderful for us– Then our house burned down.

A picture of a bag of cotton rounds with 5 remaining.

Only 5 left.

What makes passage of time real is, as always, the little things.  I’m about out of the cotton rounds that I use for my face stuff.  The package held 100.  The toothpaste is getting down there too.  And the hand lotion.  Replacing these things is a signal of how long we’ve been gone.

We removed the 1970s era fridge from the kitchen when it started leaking rusty something down the back.  And in moving the fridge from the tiny house into this house, we also moved the grill.  That’s been wonderful as I use the grill as an oven through the summer.  Even frozen pizza is pretty wonderful dressed up with some toppings and cooked on a pizza stone on the grill.  Purchasing of the America’s Test Kitchen Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook has been a real boost for my grilling ego because German pancakes/Dutch babies, cheesy pizza dip, and shepherd’s pie.  So that’s been good.

And we’re probably moving again.  Mentally I’m imagining us not home by Christmas and we can’t stay in this house for another 6 months.  Something expensive is going to break and then I’d feel guilty.  So we’re house/apartment/condo hunting, but thankfully there’s a company that does that work for us.

As often happens, as I was walking a phrase came to mind that encapsulates where we’re at:

Housed, but homeless.

Yes, we have a roof over our head, plumbing that works surprisingly well for how old it is, a lovely little backyard with a great patio and trees– really, many things to be thankful for.  And, I’m deeply grateful for the generous neighbor who offered the house before she was ready to rent it, and an insurance company that shows up and writes checks.

But we’re not at home.  We’re not in the space we had worked hard to try and make our own.  We don’t have our things.  And the things I wish I had are things like the wall of my grandfather’s sketches that I saw every time I walked down the hall, or the just-right casserole dish to make apple crisp for breakfast (it’s delicious and you should totally try it), or the marimba which my husband or youngest would play while we got dinner on the table.  Or our dog, who has been spoiled to pieces at my cousins and is happy as all get-out, but isn’t with her family who misses her.

Three boys facing away from the camera, standing on the rocky bank of a river, looking at the river. Green trees are in the background across the river.

Frio River

But we go onward because that’s the choice before us, with the help of friends and family.  And the kids are totally pulling for an apartment with a pool when we move.  Or a house super-close to school.


IKEA boxes and the packaging. What fun for a three-year-old. There was a telescope and a roof on a pot. Then there was a bed and blanket. I thought to help out a little, recruiting another box, and made a house. Much fun was had taking off shoes, putting the telescope in the new box, taking a nap, getting up.

Every once and awhile, the wind would push on the box, ripple the flag, and E would ask “Will it fall down?” or something like that. Each time I reassured him that his house was sturdy and, if it did fall, we’d fix it together.

Putting things away.

Then, when there was little wind, he’d gathered his shoes and water bottled, crawled out of his house and told me in a very commanding tone of voice, “My house, it’s exploding, we have to go to Ms. V’s house!” And he began running across the lawn. I followed, of course. We turned to look at his house. “Oh, no, my house is on fire.”

Thank heavens for Mr. Rogers. As I kneeled in the wet lawn, looking back at his house (which hadn’t even fallen over), I said, “Look at all the helpers helping your house.”

“Oh, yeah, the helpers. Look at all the helpers!” [long pause] “Oh, the helpers, they fixed it. My house is all fixed.” And he gathers up his shoes and water bottle and heads back in, makes himself cozy, and says, “My house is all fixed.”

I think we’re going to be okay.

It’s my telescope, mama!

Institutions and Parents

Having a Facebook conversation with several educators turned scholars turned parents.  Such an odd intersection of identities and positionalities and all other sorts of fancy words.  And, yet, the kids go to school, the teachers show up to teach, and the show goes on.  I even missed my parent-teacher conversations this year because of a meeting at work.  And, yet, school still moves on.

Also shifting gears to the NCTE conference in Minneapolis in 3 weeks.  I’m going to be so tired by the end, but that’s okay. 🙂