THINGS ARE PROCEEDING APACE here at Casa de Soup. Yesterday, the insurance adjuster came to see things. It sounds like he's willing to coordinate with the estimates provided by the restoration / repair company. Meanwhile, I have to prepare a list of contents we lost and the replacement value of each. So, I've been Googling bikes and lawn mowers and string trimmers and basketball backboards and Little Tykes sliding board and hammocks and all kinds of stuff I'd forgotten we had stored in our shed.

Today's circus includes the "duct suckers" (air duct cleaners, who just arrived), and carpet cleaners, scheduled to be here soon. Meanwhile, I have a guy from DirecTV outside who seems to be very busy reinstalling our satellite dish. Things didn't start out so well this morning between me and Parfait (that's his first name and I'm not even making this up):

HIM: I can't bury your cable.

ME: Of course you can. The last guy did it.

HIM: But I will have to charge you.

ME: Yes, that's fine, whatever it takes.

HIM: But the ground is probably frozen.

ME: Well, we can try it first and see, can't we?

HIM: I don't have a shovel.

ME: You can use ours!

HIM: OK, I'll have to charge you $100. How do you want to pay me?

ME: Can I write you a check?

HIM: I would prefer cash.


HIM: I'll give you a receipt.

ME: I don't have cash on me.

HIM: Well, when you take your son to school [which he knew was about to happen], you can stop and get some cash.

ME: Um, no, I have a lot of stuff going on today, due to the fact that my house almost burned to the ground, and I don't have time to stop. It will be easier for me to write you a check. Can you cash a check?

HIM: Oh. It's okay.

Every time I call them, DirecTV thanks me for being a loyal customer since 2004. Let me assure you, it isn't because of their stellar installation contractors, because the last time we had a guy come out we had much the same go-round. No, we have them mostly because they are the lesser of two evils, because Comcast/XFinity is operated by Satan himself. We can't get Verizon Fios where we live, otherwise we'd switch in a heartbeat.

So I have Parfait digging in the back yard and Ozzie sucking gunk out of my ducts, and who knocks on my front door but two Jehovah's Witnesses, offering me copies of the Watchtower! Fortunately they saw the work trucks in the driveway and didn't ask for time to talk. I thanked them for the copies and away they went.

Fortunately, Calgon is going to take me away from the madness, albeit briefly. In 25 hours I will board a plane, destination Ft. Myers, Florida –


where the forecast includes sunshine, temperatures in the '80s, plenty of wine, a float on a boat, and probably no one under the age of 70. I'm going – solo! – to visit my mom and her husband at their new home.

For the record, this little jaunt was planned before my home almost burned down, but I need it a hundred times more now than I did when I booked it earlier this month.  Big thanks to Curt for making it possible for me to clear my head of smoke and soot and replacement value and contractors and snow and all the what-ifs circulating in my brain.

Now if you'll excuse me, it looks like Parfait is done and our TV is working again. Hallelujah! He has asked me to make the check payable to a company name, not him personally, so nice try on the "pay me in cash", friend, but let's keep this one above-board.


While we’re still dealing with things like this –

Fam room wall 

— we have this loud machine, running 24 x 7, to purify and “desmokify” (isn’t that a word?) the air.

The Boss XL3 
It’s loud, but it works. The air doesn’t smell smoky anymore – at least not upstairs. You pretty much have to trust something called The Boss XL3.

Meanwhile, I guess Mother Nature was tired of black (and isn’t that just her way, that fickle thing), so she decided to change her clothing:

Fresh coat 1 
A nice, fresh coat of white to camouflage the charred remains of my yard.

Yesterday, a cleaning crew wiped down our walls and ceilings and all of our stuff to remove the sooty deposits. We couldn’t see much, but it doesn’t take a lot to make the house smell smoky. It was strange having them all here, so we left… we had a nice lunch out, then we went bowling. Because when the going gets tough… the tough, um, go bowling!

Today, the insurance adjuster comes and tomorrow, DirecTV. Stay tuned.