This is part 5 of my blog series about surviving a devastating fire.
A little over 2 weeks had passed since the fire. And it is really only now, as I write this, that I realize how fast things were happening.
I had viewed 2 apartments – the first one was promising, it even had outdoor space, but I decided upon the next apartment. It is hard to explain the feeling you get when you just know something feels right.
Neither apartment was as big and with as many rooms as my home, but I knew that for the sake of the cats, and for me to move forward, I needed to find something quickly.
One thing I haven’t mentioned in all of this – all this was happening during a pandemic!
I chose the 2nd apartment that I viewed – I must have had about 15 saved on the website (I used Zillow), and then whittled it down to 2 that I thought were appropriate for us.
The first apartment was ok – it actually had a little outdoor space – and some people might wonder why I didn’t choose it, and to be honest, it was a tough decision, but I needed somewhere that we would be comfortable and have a decent amount of indoor space. The kitchen space was just too small for me.
The second place I looked at took me by surprise – completely renovated, amazing appliances, decent sized space (albeit fewer rooms / space than my home), and all tiled floor – now, for folks with cats, you will know that cleaning up accidents and barf-piles is certainly easier on tile / hardwood!
But the one thing that really sealed the deal on behalf of the cats were the windows – and the gorgeous trees outside!
These windows measure 70 inches high – almost 6 feet – providing lots of natural light – and we are mostly northerly facing, so we won’t have direct sun making it too hot in the summer. In fact, these windows are facing the same direction as our old living room.
We also have a window in the cats room / office which is mostly south facing – giving the cats a sunspot for most of the day, and then also south facing is the bathroom window, with a nice deep ledge for them to sit on
Well, Shady does like to spread out on the ledge, but Rocky and Ophelia do get to share the bathroom sunspot too!
So yes – the windows were a huge decision making factor.
I have always been the type of person that once I make a decision, I keep moving forward. It was important for me to be able to rebuild my life to move as quickly as possible into a permanent home.
I viewed the apartment on the Friday, and moved in the following Tuesday! Life was just so all over the place, but I had my “Project Manager” head on, and just kept moving forward. No time to relive what had happened, no time to dwell on things.
I also had so much support and help from friends, I never did feel alone during this part of my transition.
Moving day was here, it was time to truly start rebuilding my life, and as always, my priority was Rocky, Ophelia and Shady. I made sure they had beds, toys, litter box and were ok.
Shady is such a cool “dude” of a cat. He took it all in his stride. I truly think this helped with Rocky and Ophelia to settle, but it would take time.
The weather was lovely, and so I had the windows open, the cats needed to get used to new outdoor noises. 5th Avenue is a fair bit busier than 13th Avenue, so it did take time for them to get used to the noises. But oh they did enjoy watching the birds and squirrels in the tree right outside the bedroom window. I bought a bird feeder, but the pesky birds were very messy, and much of the seed fell onto the pavement below, making a right old mess! I am working on how I can make it work for the spring!
Cats are amazing at adapting
Now I had the cats feeling more at home, and enjoying the antics of the birds and squirrels, I had to start getting “stuff”. I needed furniture – a dear friend had lent me an airbed for the interim, but I had nothing to sit on! And so began the search for new furniture.
I wanted to replicate things that I had previously bought when I rebuilt my life after I left my ex, paid off my alimony and got myself into a position where I could afford nice furniture.
With the generosity of so many, plus my insurance money, I have been so fortunate to have been able to obtain the furniture I truly wanted. My go to places for large items are Modani and Modloft, their products appeal to my contemporary taste. Now with companies like this, it is a gamble on availability. I had to wait until just before Christmas before I got my bed, and although my mattress arrived in early October, I left it in the box until the bed arrived.
During this time, the cats used to love playing on the bed – and one night I was awoken to be lying on the hard tile floor – the bed had deflated. It had a built-in pump, and as I pumped it back up, I saw a tiny hole. So I got some duct tape, but alas, as the bed pumped up some more, it got bigger! And so that was the end of that. Now how did the hole get there, you may ask – my only thought on this was that right before going off to sleep Rocky was being rather rambunctious with a piece of plastic, and so I think that is how the hole appeared.
At first I was a little deflated myself – things were coming along, and it was like a step backwards. But Rocky didn’t do it deliberately. And so at 4am in the morning laying on a deflated airbed, I grabbed my iPad and found a replacement that was delivered the same day! Setbacks are part of life, but we mustn’t let them consume us. We have to drag ourselves back up, even from the tile floor!
Gradually the apartment started to fill up with furniture, and “stuff”. Most people know that I love to cook, so I also bought the little things, like serving dishes, small appliances, a whistling kettle, pots pans and the like.
Starting to get stuff!
It is hard to explain how I was feeling about all of this. Most people would be excited about furnishing a new place, and part of me was, but part of me was sad, as I replaced things that I had worked so hard for before the fire. But carry on I must! And so I continued my new journey building a new home for me and the cats.
I had taken a couple of weeks out from looking for a job as I initially got settled. But I needed to get back to searching for work. It was coming up 10 months of being unemployed, and now, even more than ever I really needed a job!
I would juggle my days between receiving deliveries, putting stuff away, going shopping and finding a job, and of course spending quality time with the cats. I didn’t have time to grieve for what I had lost – it would be a while before I really had time to even think about it.
Coming up in my next blog I will talk about boxes, boxes, boxes! For every item received there is a box to get rid of!