Awe-struck. Humbled. And very, very grateful. That pretty much describes how I feel about the incredible outpouring of love, concern, and support from all over the world following our fire last week. I just can't tell you how much we appreciate each and every one of you.
We have some laptops to use now and should be on-line with some regularity from now on. We're staying with Livia's parents for now, but we've made arrangements to have a mobile home moved onto our property so that we can live there while our house is being rebuilt. After some debate, we've decided to rebuild in exactly the same spot -- just a lot more fireproof this time!
Physically we're okay, although we breathed enough smoke on Tuesday and enough ashes since then that we're coughing and sneezing and hacking a lot. Couldn't sleep or eat much for several days, but that's slowly getting back to normal. Max, the big dog who escaped from the front yard, has a burned paw and is limping around, but he's okay otherwise. We lost three wonderful cats, Fulton, Rockport (aka Rocky), and Montana; Cotton Candy, the World's Oldest Parakeet; and Festus, the last of our Nigerian dwarf goats. Here's to them, good animals all.
The fire department has determined that the fire started about half a mile from our house, behind another house where the owner had burned a trash pile the day before. The theory is that even though the trash pile appeared to be out, the high winds stirred it up and rekindled it. Can't prove it, though.
To those of you who have sent money, thank you so, so much. Even though the place was insured, there are going to be a lot of extra expenses that insurance won't cover. You never realize how much you have to replace when you lose everything. To those who are sending books . . . this is absolutely wonderful. To go from being surrounded by tens of thousands of books to none in a matter of minutes is almost more than the mind can comprehend. Any and all book donations will be hugely appreciated. We can use copies of the books we wrote, research books, fiction of all sorts. Luckily my in-laws have a few books and I've been going through them for reading material, even though I haven't always been in much of a mood to read.
Lastly, I'm just now starting to go through the hundreds of emails I've gotten in the past week. I plan to answer all of them in the coming days, but for now let me say again, thank you all so much. We are truly blessed to have you for friends.