Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Plan

I freely admit it - I'm not as organized as I used to be. I had lost my ability to multi-task and worried I would never get that talent back. But it all came back to me in one heart-stopping moment. Allow me to back up a few steps. :)

In about mid-May, my editor emailed to say she would be sending me her notes on the revisions and edits she would like for my December book, Dancing with the Devil. Now, anyone with kids in elementary school knows that the last month of school is crazy busy with field trips, concerts, yada yada yada. So I set myself a plan of how to get everything done in an organized fashion so that when the revision letter arrived, I'd be ready. And I was.

Friday May 23 - editor's email arrived with a note asking if I could please have it back to her by June 16th. Not a problem; I was ready. I spent most of the day reading over it several times and making notes, with the plan to start in on the work on Monday morning. And I did.

My Plan was going beautifully. (can you hear God laughing? Yeah, I wish I'd been listening to Him more carefully that morning.)

Monday night, I was sitting on my couch with my printed out manuscript spread all over, my lap top going, and my note paper beside me. One kid was in bed and the other 2 were going to be shortly. At first, the smell was only a whiff. Then it was a full on "hmmm, that doesn't smell right" kind of thing that got me off the couch to investigate. (Let me digress here a moment to add that my husband was on a business trip in another province at this point). I follow my nose (just like the Froot Loop guy) and whip open the man-door to the garage to find a lovely little fire just a cookin' under one of the work benches. ACK!!! So all at once, I'm the person I used to be! I'm multi-tasking like a crazy woman.


1. Hurding the kids outside
2. Calling 911 with one hand while
3. Trying to figure out how to work the stupid fire extinguisher and kicking myself for not having learned before then.

Long story short, the fire dept arrived, couldn't save the garage, but thankfully, they kept the flames from getting into the house. (smoke damage is a royal pain in the you-know-what, though). At this point, it sounds really bad, but here are the good things.

1. My brother in law is a full-time fireman with the local fire department
2. said brother-in-law was acting chief the night of our fire
3. the entire fire department was at practice when I called 911 and the practice hall is literally 3 blocks from our house.

Once the fire was out, my BIL knew there were things I needed. So back into the house he went and brought out my keys, my cell phone and, God bless him, my laptop and scattered manuscript pages. Sure, they smelled horrible, but did that matter? No!!

Needless to say, My Plan has not gone anything like it was supposed to. LOL I did manage to get the revisions done and in on the 16th (though, technically, it was the 17th in New York, but according to the clocks in my house, it was only 11:45ish - LOL). I am learning how to multi-task again, though. It's not pretty, and I'm still pretty horrible at it, but I'm getting there. Because, apparently, just because you have a fire or some other stressful or tragic event in your life, the world does NOT quit turning. Bills still have to be paid, kids still have to get to baseball/hockey/soccer and everyone still needs clean clothes and food on the table. The added 'fun' though is that we need to keep on keeping on while we try to work with 3 different insurance companies (boat, truck, house) and find a place to live and continue to assure the kids that once the restoration company gets everything cleaned, they really will get their GameBoys back (something that is vitally important to all three of them).

All kidding aside, we were incredibly lucky. Sure, everything we own is now in boxes, either here at our rental house, or in storage with the restoration company, and sure we're going to be out of our house for many many months until they rebuild it from stud, but in the grand scheme of things, none of that matters one iota. It's truly amazing how much of our "stuff" we can live without. The important thing is that the kids got out safely.

And so did the manuscript. (come on - all you writers - you know what I'm talking about! LOL)


Donna Alward said...

Laura, my GOD woman! I'd be a dramatic mess. So glad everyone is all right. I just spent 2 months without being settled in a "home" and had such a difficult time, but it was nothing compared to your experience.

Is it the whole house that needs to be rebuilt, or just the garage?

Cheri2628 said...

What a terrble ordeal! Thank God your family is unhurt and you salvaged some belongings. What about your furniture, clothing, and photos?

Laura Drewry said...

Hi Donna

It's weird not being 'settled', isn't it? I find it really hard to concentrate without my "stuff" piled up around me, especially when we're in someone else's house and using their furniture, etc. Weird.
Anyway. . .the garage of our house was completely destroyed, so they'll have to rip it down and start from scratch. The house itself only suffered smoke damage, but it was pretty extensive, so they've taken the entire house right back to stud, lifted all carpets and everything. It's going to be quite the project in patience for me. :)


Laura Drewry said...

hi Cheri - most of our stuff is okay. They wrote off things like the furniture because they'd never be able to get the smell out, and some of the electronics were ruined (like our Mac) but overall, it just all needed to be cleaned. You should have seen the expression on the girls' faces from the restoration company when they saw how many books they were going to have to pack up and clean. LOL

Jennie Lucas said...

What an amazing story, Laura! Kudos to you for being so self-possessed and getting everyone out of the fire and even attempting the fire extinguisher. And for getting your revisions in on time no matter what!

Did the fire department ever find out what caused the fire?

Maureen said...

We had a fire in our dryer years ago but it didn't burn our house at all thanks to several local fire departments. I am so glad everyone was okay and I hope things get fixed fast for you. I remember that awful burnt smell that seemed to be on everything.

Laura Drewry said...

Hi Jennie & Maureen

They traced the fire back to an extension cord in the garage. For whatever reason, it sparked instead of tripping the fuse.

And you're right - that smell just lingers and lingers, doesn't it? Ugh!

Nathalie said...

WOW... that is chaos!

I would not have been able to pull through!