Our Home Burned Up

Updated 6/22/09

Friday night we went out with a friend around 8PM to watch a Celtic Band "Four Shillings Short". We returned home around 10PM to find more firetrucks than we have ever seen and smoke and flames shooting out of our house. Someone set our trash can on fire under the stairs and it caught and burnt quickly. We don't own the house, the church does and we have been trying to get the church on it's feet as much as possible for several years now. We're not really asking for help, but we do appreciate help and people seem to want to help. However it's been confusing as of late, so I thought I'd try this to help.



Contact and Donation Information

gandalf at sonic dot net (coded email address, you can figure it out)

Things needed with notes

  • Any oil paints - All of Bevy's tubes of Oil paint went up in smoke. Update I think she's doing ok on these, but if you have any your throwing out I know shed love them.
  • Wood Shed - We've decided to get one of the sheds at Home Depot. They're giving us a discount. The $700 one looks good, but I should carefully consider them all. The landlady said it would be fine. We can put it in the back yard and stack it high with boxes from the house, which should allow us to clean/sort stuff at a more reasonable rate.
  • Bevy Clothes - Dresses and skirts and blouses. Possibly sweaters. Bevy lost weight after the fire I think she's down to the 1X-2X sizes, but could be smaller. You should email her at bhansen at sonic dot net and ask her what she needs.
  • COVERED - Walter Clothes - I have enough clothes now, but if you want to give me some old stuff I'll thank you. I may find more clothing that survived the fire, but don't know. I generally wear a large shirt and am currently a fat bastard with a 38" waist and a 28" inseam and wear a LG or XLG shirt. I typically buy longer black jeans and tuck them up. Like I said though I had a basket of laundry that survived. I bought a bag of white tee shirts, as I couldn't picture working on this stuff wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
  • COVERED - Bevy says she got her braces, but she needs special shoes to wear them with. They cost about $200, eww (Polio Group)
  • COVERED - A table that two can eat at
  • COVERED - A small desk and chair
  • COVERED - A normal dresser
  • COVERED - Book Shelves - I'm pretty sure most of ours are good kindling. I don't know how many books, movies and stuff survived, but it's probably more than the surviving bookcases. Particle Board is fine. Extra shelves are wonderful.
  • COVERED - Two matching night stands
  • COVERED - A tall dresser/chest of drawers
  • COVERED - Queen Bed (Mike)
  • COVERED Generator that can supply a fridge/freezer I think a 12-15amp one (about 2200-2400 surge watts or more) - I have a lead on an inexpensive used one. I don't have the price or details. It will also be useful when we start the process of sifting as we can have power tools and electric lights. (Andrew)
  • COVERED Dumpster - we have a dumpster. We're going to have to pay them $300 or more for it. If someone(s) wants to pay for it that'd be great or it will be on a credit card. (Ryan)
  • COVERED Wheelchair - Bevy now has a like new Jet 2 wheelchair. It's real smooth driving and she is happy. (Tony)
  • COVERED Boots and rain slicker - I was cold wet and stepping on nails. (Jesse)
  • COVERED People washing clothes and stuff for us. A couple of people have done this. We may need more help with this though later on. It helps us we don't have to concentrate on the job and it's easy to delegate.
  • COVERED Roofer - We have one that we did not send up when it hailed and shot thunder. We're going to try again tomorrow. There is a huge hole in the roof that the firemen cut. Water is coming through and it's not good. We're trying to get plastic sheeting stapled over it.
  • COVERED People - We have done well with folks showing up and helping. I think we are coming to a time when more people are not going to help much more. Soon it will be Bevy and I and a few close friends sifting through our memories.
  • COVERED Internet - Sonic is giving us red carpet treatment. They are and always have been the best internet service I know of. All my cool friends seem to work there.
  • COVERED A largish tv 27 or better so Bevy can read subtitles (Josh)
  • COVERED We need someone who knows Automatic Transmissons. Our F-250 truck will not go into reverse. This came about recently and the gear shift slector has not lined up properly for some time. After talking to a friend I am pretty sure it's a linkage alignment/ajustment issue. However I've never dealt with something like this before and don't know how to do it myself. I don't really have the time to mess with it, and having the truck to haul stuff would be very helpful. It's rather difficult to drive in forward only now and pushing it backwards is a true feat even on level ground. (Sisters of Perpetual Indulgance) The tranny had to be rebuilt and the tourqe converter was toast. It was just under two thousand. Fortuantely the Sisters played Bingo for us and gave us a check in the nick of time.
  • COVERED Any easels - I think we're ok now. Bevy has two and got some display stands


Monday June 22nd

I've been clearing out downstairs. It's really nasty in places, but I generally don't have to be as careful as I was upstairs. I've been able to scoop up a shovelfull of rubble and then sift it into the trash which is better on my back. Also Jack loaned me some halogen flood lights which really help as it's pictch black down there boarded up. I ran a cord all the way from the church. The church now has power and gas. There are no reflective surfaces as everything is black so lights are eaten up, but with a head light and the flood lights it's not too bad. I really wish I was done with this, but it keep dragging on. It's probably the biggest project I've ever had and I didn't decide to have it.

Friday May 15th

It's been quite a while since I posted here. I've been working steadily on cleaning up the old house and getting whats left of our stuff out of there. It can be very tedious as I have to sift carefully through rubble. Didn't help that I caught the flu twice since the house burned up. Lovely.

Anyway in a recent cleaning I found something that rather amused me. A couple weeks ago our friend Terry completed the boarding up of the downstairs which was no small feat. Apparantly just before that we had an encounter with a burgler. You see I still had the old safe from our store (The Toy Trader / Anime Baka) and apparantly you could see it from the alley. Someone broke in and apparently spent several hours hammering and chiseling the safe with a pry bar and a sledgehammer. This safe is 2.5'x2.5'x2' and weighes over a hundred pounds. It's mostly a fire safe, but also had a nice lock mechanism. I bought it for $30 at goodwill and used it in our store.

So prying off the hinge pins and then cutting out the lock mechanism is quite a lot of work. And they probably had to keep the noise down as well. I'd say it was at least two hours of very hard labor and probably more. So what did our burglar get for thier trouble. Inside they found some old paperwork that woudln't have any real value, even for us. They left the paperwork sitting beside the safe. No million dollar stock certificates. No stacks of cash. No jewelry. I don't even know where the combo for that safe is and it might have burnt up. So in a way I guess they helped. I certainly wouln't have wanted to break into that safe to get those papers out.

I guess sometimes you do get what you deserve.

Monday March 23rd

Don't know if anybody is even reading this anymore, not that I blame you. It's pretty boring. I wish I could just get on with my life. Anyway, this weekend Jesse and Kat helped move the loft bed to the new place. Its one of those Ikea ones and works great as a guest bed. I brought home my guitar which I'm hoping can be saved. The strap burnt, the knob melted and it has melted plastic that dripped on it, but I think it will clean up once I get the chance. I'm going to put the two Rebel Motorcycles I was working on making into one running bike up on CraigsList for parts. I'm sure the engines are fine, but so much of the bikes were destroied that it would be cheaper to get a used bike for $800-1200 than to try to rebuild them.

I wanted to get the bedroom completed this weekend, but it was not in the cards. I did make significant progress and even empited out my closet. Most of my clothes were destroyed, but some of them did survive although it's hard to tell until they go through the wash. I took them to the laundramat and ran them through one of the big washers twice. I found all of my shoes in various states of burnt/meltedness. I did have a pair of z-coils in the closet and a pair of steel toe high tops and they survived nicely. I ran them through a washer and their drying in font of the heater now. I didn't wear the Z-coils much as I found they were suicide on a motorcycle.

I'm not looking forward to downstairs. There's not as much personal stuff down there, but it's a real mess with a lot of molding celing material covering the floor. And where there is light upstairs coming through the plastic, there is no light down there and it's pitch black. Perhaps the church will be wired for power by then and I can run some electric lights. Alternately I can do the same with the generator, run it upstairs and drop a cord down.

Tuesday March 17th - Happy St. Pattrick's Day

Well I finished excavation of the living room and moved on to the front bedroom this weekend. This room was the hottest in the house. I'm finding lots DVDs that are melted together here. The TV melted/burnt into the wood it was sitting on and then fell when the support burnt and shattered into peices. The glass peices are pretty interesting looking. Many are about an intch thick. I found Bevy's birth certificate looking just fine in a pocket of a burnt up purse. I found some clothing that did survive, I'll put them in at the laundramat for a couple washings. I was only able to clear 12 square feet working all day Sunday, but that amounted to 10-15 trash bags of rubble. Update on Bevy's camera, it spent several days drying out and still will not power up, the Buss drivers did get Bevy a new cammera though and she's been trying to learn how to use it.

The Pre St. Pattrick's Day celebration at the Black Rose with Four Shillings Short was great fun. Many friends and negibors showed up. I had steak and mushroom pie and Bevy had Sheppard's Pie with a side of mushy peas. Mushy peas still taste a bit odd to me, but are a little like a good pea soup but thicker. David and Ruth shared Bangers and Mash which is sausages and mashed potatoes. 4SS were execlent as always. They will be comeing back in the fall. We returned home and our place was just fine. I'm starting to loose THAT fear.

Wednesday March 11th

Looks like Wednesday is becoming a thing. I find I'm only able to really work on the old house on the weekends. I have a lot of sifting work to do and it's not really work that I can have others do for me. It is a little like treasure hunting though. I found Bevy's digital camera in a in the 3" of rubble in front of her chair. It was pretty wet there. I tried to start it and it turned on, showed a cracked screen and turned off. I now have it sitting in a ziplock of moisture sucking kitty litter. Perhaps it will survive, hard to say. The carpet is wet and I'm trying to clear the rubble off so it can dry and won't mold.

I also found the DVD for Mama Mia under the rubble. The top side is a little messed up, but the underside was fine and it played. This was probably Bevy's favorite movie in recent times. We watched it at the new place one night with our friend Garrett who was with us at the show the night of the fire. I hooked up the little stereo that someone donated and we had a little fun. I have now sat for at least a while in my easy chair.

It is really wierd what survived and what didn't. Things that are low down generally survived. Things that were in something, or even better in something that is in something, generally survived. So a wooden box in a wooden drawer has a pretty good chance. Bookcases protected the books in them somewhat. But that habbit we all have of putting pretty, nice, rare collectable things on the top shelf; they are the first things to burn or even vaporize. Pictures on the wall are instantly gone. A painting that had a glass cover was fine as the glass took the hit for it. The glass was cracked and the frame burnt, but the painting itself looks fine.

Wednesday March 4th

Things are definately slowing down news wise. I did get one bit of news. Bevy found her cell phone. It was in a drawer in a part of the house that was not burned. I'll have to see if I can transfer the simm card to her new phone as she loves the loud ring. I've been getting up every morning at 7AMish and going to bed at well after Midnight. There is so much to do. I have a garage with a couple dozen smelly dirty boxes of stuff and there is still more to be boxed up. Unfortunatly our truck seems to have developed transmission issues. It no longer finds reverse. The mini van is still doing well and our friend Jack has a truck and we've borrowed him a couple times. My boss says a friend of his can look at it and see how bad it is. Could just be the control arms. We've got a 12" lightly-melted TV and it's even hooked up to a DVD player that seems to work. I havent watched anything except for the news in the morning while getting dressed. Bevy likes to keep a TV on during the day for compainship.

Sunday March 1st

The Benefit concert was a great sucess. They raised over $1,400 for us and gave us some good household stuff and clothes. This money will help put our lives back together and get us on our feet. I don't see how we could have made it this far without people helping like they have. I think we'd be in a tent somewhere. I was also very pleased that everyone seemed to love Four Shillings Short. They were given serious applause after every song. I think that they have a new fan base in Santa Rosa. It was soo wonderful of all the musicians to come and play for us and the people who came to watch donated generously.

Tuesday February 24th

This morning the mask and hose for the CPAP machine came. I should be sleeping well tonight. I wanted to thank everyone who sent in money. It has gone to cover expenses that we otherwise would have had a lot of trouble covering or simply would have gone without. Every trip to costco, wal-mart and home depot costs soo much.

Monday February 23th

Today I am back at work for the first time since the fire. I do still have to make a living and I'm so very happy to have to pay rent.
This morning before work I went to the old house and picked up a sewing machine, a boom box, a couple large trash cans and several boxes of smokey stuff that friends helped us pack.
I did go to the Marine Piloting class so that I wouldn't fall too far behind and when I returned home I painted the insides of the cabinets in the kitchen until 1:30AM. I couldn't belive that they were unfinished wood. Two coats of white gloss should make them nice looking and easy to clean.

Sunday February 22th

Today I met with the Church Board to discuss the situation. I am hopeful that the church will be able to rebuild the building. I went to the old house and bagged up a bunch of kitchen appliances and brought them back to our new house. We are hopeful that we can get the smell out and that they might actually work. Someone who survived a fire said that appliances may die mystery deaths in a couple months though. I also brought back a little TV/VCR unit that was only smokey, however after I cleaned it up it refuses to stay on for more than 30 seconds. It acts like it has a VCR tape stuck in it and says "EJECT". It seems to work perfectly for those 30 seconds and you can change channels but it seems hopeless until it's repaired.

Saturday February 21th

I got the generator working and managed to empty out the fridge. By the end of the night we had food in the fridge at the new place. The fridge is cruddy, but I plan on bringing over the one from the house, as it's nice and will just need a good outside cleaning. I'm still running the generator for the little apartment freezer. I've got it turned up way high and the stuff in it is staying frozen. We went to Wal-Mart and Costo and got tons of stuff. Thank you everyone who sent in money, it really helped. We have towels, trash cans and a lot of the stuff that makes up a place to live now. In the words of my father "Well at least you won't starve".

Friday February 20th

Everyone's probably board of reading this. In the morning I got PG&E, water and the phone transferred. I started to do the garbage, but found that it was strangely set up and decided to ask the landlord. Later Keith, Rebecca, Ashley for a little bit and I put up plastic sheeting on the second story windows. I forgot one spot though, actually not really a window, but a new window that the fire created. Also the one staple gun froze up. The other one picked up the slack though. Afterwards we went to home depot and got the generator that Andrew had paid for. It's engine was made by subaru. We then went out to Red Lobster, partially to celebrate getting a house and partially to celebrate having an ultra cool gift card that one of my aunts gave us for Christmas. B-)
I'm not sure if mentioned this, but I have sleep apnea and my CPAP machine is a lump of coal. Kaiser quoted $900 for a new one as I'm only allowed one every five years. However a nice negibor (Jill) gave me her late mothers machine. I have the mask and tube on order from Kaiser and they should be here in a day or so. I probably wouldn't have that problem if I weighed 70lbs less, but who knows. I've always been sleepy as long as I can remember.
I went to the post office and got mail and there were lots of nice cards that we got all emotional about. Many people sent money and stuff. There was even a starbucks card. I know Bevy will love that, not that I won't but I know she'll have it spent before I ever see the inside of starbucks. Bevy really loves the new place. She knows how to get there and how to get to other places from there which makes a big difference for her. She used to get lost quite a lot.

Thursday February 19th

We got a place! YAY! YAY! YAY! It's on Slater St. I think it's big enough. It has a nice yard and needs lots of little things, but it's ours for a year. YAY! YAY! YAY! We can have cats, YAY! YAY! YAY! We're being evicted from the Sandman Saturday, so we won't be homeless then. YAY! YAY! YAY! Humm, this sounds like a song. I am sooo very tired.

Wednesday February 18th

We got the rental application completely filled out and went down to see if we could get the duplex that we liked and it was taken (we only called about it yesterday afternoon). They will contact us if the deal falls through. Meanwhile there is another duplex in the same complex that will be available the 15th of march. After careful thinking we're going to try to stay with friends until it does, but it doesn't look as nice as the other one. I wonder if they're going to put new carpets and repaint. A new listing came up today on Slater. I'll look at it in the morning, but the other property looks great. I wish I had more time in each day.

Tuesday February 17th

Bevy got some clothes today. I think she could use more, but she has enough to exist. Same with me. Someone wanted me to post my sizes anyway so I will. I have a duplex I want. It has space and the rent is $1100. I think we will fit. It has a garage and hookups for gas and electric washer and dryer. If I get a gas one I can rig up the 220 hookup to wielder that I think survived the fire. There was a big problem at my work and I got called in for several hours. Several of our friends did lots of sorting and other work. It got dark and I started up the generator and left. We finaly ate some of the white castle hamburgers I bought on the way home from the concert Friday.

Monday February 16th

We have a large dumpster. We have it 80% full. Almost all of the porch and stairs are in it now, and the sidewalk is almost clean. The lower level is boarded pretty well. We'll be working on more outside cleaning and putting plastic over the upstairs windows tomorrow. We looked at duplexes this morning and found three that look nice. I'll try to find out more in the morning. Tomorrow Bevy is going to thrift stores looking for clothes with my Aunt.

Sunday February 15th

Tore down the stairs and porch with the truck. Started job of boarding up. Misc cleaning and more hunting for important things. Got boots and plywood. Managed to get a loaned generator working. Can only have it for a couple days though.

Saturday February 14th

Valentines day. We "slept" in the van next to the house to keep watch. It was 2AM when the firetrucks left so it wasn't all that long anyway. Met with Red Cross, they got us a motel room. Friends boxed up some important stuff and we tried to find some things. Took the animals to the humane society to be cremated.

Friday February 13th - Friday the 13th. My uncle turned 13 on Friday the 13th.

We got to show at 8PM, come home at 10PM to house burning.