Here we are, first morning in our new house. We’ve got a signed lease, a bed with new sheets, a couch, plenty of toys and books for MJ, and even some china rescued from the pink house and lovingly cleaned by friends.
I expected to feel a sense of peace after getting into our “new home”. It hasn’t come yet. My back is still all tensed up and my mind is still reeling. If I smell smoke, the fight or flight instincts kick in and my life is generally a daily battle to just relax.
5-10 times a day I get asked: “How are you doing?” Until recently I’ve been giving a standard non-engaging answer of “OK” or “we’re doin!”. But recently that became too tiring and I’ve shifted to lazy honesty: more natural yet more awkward moments.
The truth is, I don’t quite know how I feel. Everything is all mixed together: family, fire, smoke, vanished things, arson, insurance, finances, home, rebuilding, community, work, health, history. These all create a tapestry of emotion from relief to rage to love to sorrow. At any point in time it’s hardly possible to feel only one.
The word that best describes this emotional soup is: weird.
Here’s how my wife describes it:
It’s so weird… waking up in the middle of the night and rushing out of your house, never to return again.
We’re very excited to be here in our new house, but the feeling is surreal. Nothing here feels “ours”, even the new things we’ve bought ourselves. When I picked up my daughter yesterday from playdate I had to ask which clothes were hers because I hardly recognize the ones she’s been donated.
So, while our brains and bodies get used to our situation and convert a series of foreign sights and smells into a new home, things are still weird.