Friday, March 21, 2014

The Fire Department is at Your House...WHAT?

I didn't even get to see if any of the firefighters who responded to my house today were cute. By the time I got home they were long gone and the only evidence they left behind was the air conditioner that had been in my son's window (now perched on my kitchen counter) and a few muddy footprints on my basement carpet. Oh, and the furnace was shut off, some windows were opened to let the smell out, and there was a good measure of soot down in the basement.

I had just picked up the little guy from my sister's house when my cell phone rang. It was the Jamesburg Police calling to tell me that the Fire Department was at my house responding to a report of smoke from the basement. My mind raced.

I've been through a house fire before. Shortly after college I was sharing a 2nd floor apartment with my friend Stacey and one of the apartments on the first floor caught fire and became completely engulfed. It was the middle of the night and we were upstairs sleeping at the time. People tried to yell up to us. They tried to knock on our door. We didn't hear them. We were saved by our functioning smoke detector. The fire was all around the stairwell through which we exited and we had to crawl on the ground to avoid the smoke which had already started to fill the apartment. We watched as the fire from the first floor apartment jumped from the building to my parked car and breathed a sigh of relief as the small town volunteer firefighters showed up and did their thing.

The apartment was uninhabitable after the fire and we had to throw away a lot of our things due to the smoke damage. One thing I remember clearly though about the aftermath - Joe showed up. We weren't dating at the time, but he was there, climbing up and down those stairs helping to pack things up and move them to my Grandmother's place where I would live for the next few months. 

In the 30 second conversation with the Jamesburg Police Department those were the scenes that flashed through my mind. The fire at my old apartment. Escaping down the stairs only to watch the front of my car burn to a crisp. Joe there, strong and patient, just doing the next thing to help me out. I noticed that my mind was no longer racing and neither was my heart.

Be strong. Be patient. Do the next thing.

I called my mom who lives nearby to see if she could head over to the house. She didn't get to see if there were any cute firefighters either. They were gone by the time she got there. While en route to my house, I received two more calls with updates from the Jamesburg PD (very efficient) and made a call to the company that services my furnace (once it was determined that was the problem). The owner of the company came over tonight to check everything out and will be back in the morning to do the cleaning. 

I realized as I was doing my 8 mile training run on the treadmill tonight that I reacted quite differently to the call from the Jamesburg PD than I would have maybe even a few months ago. I think that I am now finding a way to weave Joe's strength and patience into my own life. In that way, he lives on every day as a part of my and my son's lives. That may sound strange but I know I can draw on those parts of him when I need them on my own journey. Today was obviously one of those days.

And it was all confirmed 100% when I walked back into the locker room after my run and heard of all things the familiar croon of Mr. Greg Dulli coming through the speakers. The Twilight Singers playing at Retro Fitness? Yes, on this night at this time, it was none other than the man himself. And I knew in that moment that I was figuring it out and that somewhere Joe is smiling.

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