Well, that was unexpected.

So I didn’t sleep Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, until about 8 AM, and spent the day either asleep or in a bit of a depressed fugue. I was pretty miserable, and even when I was sleeping I was having nightmares. Mom got home late because she was over helping my grandparents with their budget. We were sitting on the couch, talking, when pretty much every emergency vehicle in town was suddenly on our street, parked a few houses down. We went outside to look, and it turns out the house four doors down from us was on fire. The woman who lives there has two little boys, one who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair, and another son who is autistic. Thankfully the son with CP was at his grandparents’, so only the younger son was there. They were in the yard, the woman wearing only a bikini, holding a wailing little boy, and a chocolate lab. The lab got loose because it wasn’t wearing a collar and was sort of frantically running up and down the street. A girl who’d been going by on a bike helped me corral the lab, and my mom came and leashed her with one of Baxter’s leashes. We later tethered the dog, Addy, to the tree in our front yard, and brought her water, so she could calm down.

The little boy wanted to see Addy, so another neighbor brought him down to see her. The boy was about three, maybe four, and clearly overstimulated. I decided he really needed to go inside, as the smoke was getting really bad outside, and he was getting really worked up. My mom went and told the mother that the dog was in our yard and asked if we could take the little boy inside to let him watch a movie and get him some water, which the mother was fine with. The little boy and I played with Tinker Toys, watched Despicable Me, and he ate a hot dog and some apple juice, and overall was much calmer in the house, which is pretty quiet with the windows closed, despite the hullabaloo outside.

When the mother came to our house later, we found out that she’d just finished moving her massage practice into her basement and had her first clients last Friday. She’d been outside sunning herself, as the weather was fabulous, and she’d come inside to cook dinner. Her son had distracted her and the grease on the stove caught fire. She tried to put it out, but it caught the wall and she didn’t have a fire extinguisher, so she rushed her son and the dog outside and called 911. The fire station is only about six blocks away but it took 15-20 minutes for them to arrive, due to it being a mostly volunteer station, so the entire house was pretty much gutted by the time they got the fire out. Structurally it is ok, but the inside is a wash. Unfortunately, there were some puppies inside that she hadn’t grabbed as she thought the fire department would get there faster, and by the time it was clear that they weren’t coming right away and she called again, the smoke was too much for her to go in and try to rescue them, so all of the puppies died.

She had no clothes other than something a neighbor had brought her to put over her bikini. Her son was a 4T, and we had 4T clothes in the attic from my nephew, so mom gave her those, and another neighbor who had a son also gave her some clothes. We had diapers that were a little small but would do in a pinch, as the little boy isn’t potty-trained completely yet. The girl who helped me round up the dog came back with her mother, who fosters dogs, so they volunteered to take in Addy until things get settled. The mother was still trying to get a hold of her parents, and the police were going to drive her over to the local hotel and I think the Red Cross was going to pay for them to stay there at least for tonight. Mom made sure she knew that we were there and she could just let us know if she needed any help.

I’m still pretty depressed, but as much as I feel like I’ve lost everything, I haven’t. It put things a little more into perspective, at least.

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