Friday, March 12, 2021

Update: House Fire


Hello out there.

Well, it's time I finally posted the news.  I recently had a house fire.

Let's start with the good news.  We are alive.  I now literally owe my life to painting. Poetic how life can be sometimes.  I am normally a night owl, but that night I was feeling good and decided to push a little more, and was up and closing down around 4 am when I heard what thought was an animal getting in the garage. Was raising new chicks at the time. I let the dog out, grabbed the gun, looked out back at it, and saw that glow out the back window and knew exactly what it was.

By the time Fire Department arrived, the fire had spread to the roof.  By nature of how smoke works, and the ceiling structure, the smoke alarms didnt even go off until it was falling in and busted the ceiling drywall out. If I had gone to bed, we would probably be dead.

Ive been putting off writing about it so far because this part is really hard.  The house was nice, but it wasnt special to anyone else. It was my Grandpas house and his garage.  My mom and my aunt who was all my artistic inspiration were raised there.  He was a carpenter, and that garage was as much him as the flesh and blood that passed two years ago.  It was small, but being in it was like being wrapped up in his presence.  The tools, old bench I had taken photos of pre paint on, were all older than me, some things older than mom.

As I stood across the street and those two front corners of the garage fell in with a clack, and it was all gone, it was a slap across my soul.  It was where I did my photography, and every display I have ever made was in there, and it didnt even cross my mind to give some idea. 

There are times in life where things are so random and unexpected, they go full circle into feelings of poetic fate.  Call it God, fate, karma, whatever you like.  The more time goes on, I realize more and more silver linings, and purpose to it. With time I feel less feelings of "why" and more "this is why."

The families on this road have all been here 80+ years.  When my Grandpa moved in back in the 50s, he made a close friend with the couple across the street.  That family is now three generations, and still lives in the three plots over there.  The day after it burned (well, for me it was all one 72 hour day) his son came over.  He offered to general the whole thing, and off we went tearing it down.

I learned a lot.  I saw a lot.  It was almost two months of taking that thing apart with just us two, a tractor, and a constantly rotating 40 yard dumpster.  I wanted to live in that house forever, but as I took it apart, I realized in hindsight that may not have happened. It was built over top of a very old structure, and added to many times over the years.  The walls and floors were layers thick.  The core of the right side of the house was all native lumber.  It felt more like stone than wood, and had all the saw marks from a steam mill.  I found hand cut limestone flower beds underground.  The original spot where the front door was.  It was like stepping back in time and seeing what was once a little gem of a house on the corner of a 40 acre orchard I had heard so many stories about.

I've never in my life met another man like John Paul.  I only learn the reality of his generosity piece by piece and day by day as we go.  It reminds me why I live out here, and why I always will. I sit here trying to write it out and explain it, to explain the experience of that two months or so, and I just can't. A genius of a guy wrapped up in the facade of a country bunpkin to many.  Talk your ear off, but never say the same thing twice.  Generosity just because you're a neighbor.  

Attached are a couple photos.  One of the front, showing the old front door and native lumber.  The other is of the little back bedroom with wood paneling.  This was my grandpas old hangout room when he lived here, and as long as Ive been alive.  It was then where I painted every single army Ive done for the past ten years or so.  A desk, a couch and a coffee table where moved models step by step.  Add some Christmas lights and you have the perfect comfy spot.  I loved it to death.  It was my lair, my decompression chamber, and my instanced little separate world. I am lost without it.

There are other points of good news.  The inside of the house wasnt too bad. Anything inside that would survive nasty black water is fine.  My Adepticon displays were in the dining room, and they are too much of me to burn anyway. They're a little beat and in storage, but okay.

I'll also be able to build a new house.  Planning and having that drawn up has been fun. I was adamant at first to rebuild it exact, but with time the more I think if it's gone, it is best to start over.  Ill move it back a little.  Have a bigger garage. Ill give it a basement with a little bedroom and replicate that wood paneled room.

Currently I am staying at mom's.  She has a finished basement.  Ironically this is the same basement I started painting in 15 or so years ago with nothing but some Apple Barrel and a dream.  It's nostalgic and I am back to work, despite being distracted by all this.  I've made a new little hidey hole I can paint away the hours and be alright.  It's good for mom as well to be able to dote on the dog and cook for somebody.

As time goes on, the more I realize the silver linings, and while I would prefer to just go back, the more I realize there is a poetic reasoning behind every little thing about this, and I will be okay.

To be clear I am not posting this for sympathy, although I know you all are great and I will probably get aplenty, and I appreciate it.. Just letting you know why I am quiet and may be a bit yet.

Rest assured I will be back.  With a fire of revenge to put to shame the one that took all this from me.