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Thursday, October 25, 2007

FIRE - how you can help

I have been on edge all week and yesterday it dawned on me, I have been thinking more than usual about my fire.

The other day I was thinking of posting a blog suggesting what people can get for their friends who have lost homes in the fire.

The things the Red Cross will give them will help. But what really helps someone recover is having the things they are used to. Like a friend brought me essentials; toothbrush, toothpaste, towels and I was so grateful for all of it, but I noticed it wasn't until someone gave me a Target Gift card when I bought / replaced my electric toothbrush that I began to feel "okay".

And while some things survived the fire, like my film and photo albums... sort of... the albums themselves were all burned and I had to toss them. Some photos have been damaged and I probably should not have left them on the photo album pages... but did not have the wherewithal to deal with it then. And I have yet to replace those albums, my photos sit in a plastic tote, and when I open that tote the smell of burned paper is pretty overpowering.

I have to say I asked a friend to help me put them into a new book, a new scrapbook, but she replied that I would have to pay her to do that. Of course I had 21 photo albums. I never expected her to do them all. But thought it might jump start the project.

Anyway, another friend had a friend who had a fire after mine. And she asked me what I truly needed. I made a great list for her. But I also mentioned that a year or two after the fire, she should just check in with her friend and make sure that she was not still missing anything.

I wish I could remember the list.

I just replaced a used donated comforter I had received.
Pillow cases.
Towels. ALL sizes.
Slippers. (generally the first few months you are walking around a new place, or hotel or rental its just nice to have slippers.)

Great gift cards:
A favorite clothing store

Ask what pet food the pet normally had. Because without it... the pet can get the runs.
Think? What was the pets favorite treat? Did it have a bed a favorite toy?

If you remember something from their home, a favorite blanket. A photo, plate, bowl, something special.
Maybe even a plant or flower vase.

Other things:
Toaster Oven
Blank CD's and DVD's (for burning photos for the insurance)
Movies to keep kids entertained while parents are stressing over fire related things.

And USE the Red Cross. They will ONLY offer help in the first 30 days. If you have someone offering a place to stay right now. STILL get yourself registered with the Red Cross. They can help you get prescriptions and glasses/ contact lenses etc. So if a friend is offering you a hotel, ask them for it for December. It will take a couple of months to find a place to live while things are rebuilt.

OH and photograph EVERYTHING. I photographed half burned things to itemize it for Insurance. My Insurance agent said that most people do not get the full amount they are allowed because most people cut corners and do NOT take photos or itemize. You will be amazed what you can find in the ashes. Partial this and partial that. PLUS, photos if you saved them, and they were taken from withIN your house will help you remember the little things. EVERYTHING adds up. From candlesticks to silverware to bigs things lamps, chairs couches.

OH the smell does come out of clothes. I still have smoky books but unlike clothes that get washed and washed... the "smoke damage" would have aired itself out of clothes. I could have saved some clothes. I lost everything but the clothes I was wearing.

We were working on the film recently and I saw some footage of my dogs, I saved a photo, a great shot of Bambi's face. Maybe I will pull it off the other hard drive and post it here. Not sure.

It's been a tough week.

And lastly, one of the greatest gifts I received was a Christmas tree, complete with trimmings. I was driving home from filming and "caught" the elves in the act. A car with the top down with a Christmas tree in the back seat. (Very California).

It was great!


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