One woman’s quest to make sense of a nonsensical world after losing her dream home and all her worldly possessions to a raging and sudden wildfire. Exploring the existence of God, our cultural discomfort with grief, what it means to be human as well as life in a 1967 Airstream trailer, Kristen Moeller shares her humanity, her spirit and her dark edge openly for herself as well as for the countless others who beg to be heard in their wild journey through this wacky world.
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A little rant and a lotta roll…

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Sewing machine, telescope, Kleenex box holders, Cuisinart… these things run through my mind as I am trying to return to REM this morning.  The dreaded inventory list, still not complete and always looming.  I stunned another naive insured person yesterday by explaining what the inventory process is really like.  Most people have no idea.  I didn’t.  Listing everything you owned down to the minutia in order to get a fraction of it back from your “insurance” is a painstaking process.  Interestingly, David awoke with a similar list.  We haven’t sat down to do inventory together lately.   The clock is ticking.  Things are popping into our heads, and some may disappear forever into the folds of grey matter that we limited humans still can’t access.  It’s time to get this sucker done.  Operation Inundation must proceed – and complete – soon.  It drains are beleaguered energy banks.  I still pant as I walk up small hills, but my psychological energy is replenishing.  Until, that is, something happens…
The recent ‘happening’ was a trip to the bank carrying a large check meant to represent “our structure”.  As you faithful readers know, this number has been grossly underestimated (and that’s a whole ‘nother story).  So into my bank I go, pleased to have received this check from the insurance company and ready to have some financial breathing room for our near future.  The bank had other ideas. Even though we continue paying our mortgage, the bank wants to keep the money and dole it out at their pre-determined milestones along the way.  To add salt to the wound, this would tie up other monies that are coupled with that large check including our “outbuilding fund” to replace sheds and our “tree fund” for the meager attempt to rehab some of our trees which really means chop them down and haul them away.  In that moment, I could not engage in the one-sided proclamation that was heading my way.  I was beyond furious.  The sympathetic banker who was the deliverer of the bad news glanced at me kindly.  I steamed out of there calling my attorney as I fled. 
Ya have insurance, dontya?  Jeeeeeeez.  Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, I might have asked the same question.  Never ever ever again.
A total loss is a devastating financial hit for most people, it’s another thing entirely if you have a mountain property or anything with acreage.  There is NO coverage for the land (besides my $10k for trees which is a completely funny and random figure when you think of 37 acres of dense forest and groundcover…).  At our last homeowners meeting, we discussed the loss of value in acreages and views – and we heard from a forest biologist who evaluates the devastation in ecosystems after a fire.  We heard about decreased soil fertility, the dearth of nutrients, and what it really might take to rehab the land including the range of price per acre.  He emphasized that the land will never return to what it once was – in our lifetime anyway.  And, I believe he said “never” just one to many times.  My head felt like it was spinning off.  Ya have insurance dontya?  Yeah, right….
Who has time for all of this?  Do you think insurance covers our loss of time normally spent on living our lives, on developing our careers, on writing?  No.  Do I sound bitter?  There certainly is an edge I feel.  It’s tiring to say the least.  Yes, it’s a grand adventure and oh my my we are so freeeeee after losing all our possessions.  (oooops.  Sarcasm emerged again.)  I do absolutely love living in Flame.  I am committed to a world of adventure.  I will see the gift – and yes Bill, I will be the gift.  Most of the time, that is.  I practiced the spiritual principle of “shut up” with the hapless bank representative who was the roadblock in my freedom to deposit our money.  Instead of wailing like a banshee, I retreated to rally the troops.  I haven’t even told David of the latest development in our bureaucratic journey.  I will let him have his second cup of coffee first and enjoy the morning.
Fear you say?  Yes, it triggers fear.  It triggers anger mostly.  Just like seeing the sap scars and ash stockings on my dogs, it brings up a deep sense of helplessness – and yes, probably victimization.  I feel powerless and not the type of powerlessness we tout in the 12-step rooms.  That powerlessness has inherent power as we give up our old way of being, leap into the unknown and trust the process.  And, yes, because I choose a path of resilience, I still trust the process as in I know we will be ok.
The fight or flight response serves a purpose.  I did flee the bank.  I also chose.  I knew I was hosting my radio show within the hour and chose to calm my ravaged mind as much as possible – realizing I could revisit this red tape later.  It would be there, patiently waiting my return.  My angsty moments between leaving the bank and returning to Jessica’s to sit down with my guests and my audience are a bit blurry.  Upon entering Jessica’s house, I was quite distraught and combined with hunger, low blood sugar, a crunched schedule and a need to urinate suddenly peeing on the floor seemed like a reasonable option.  For a moment, I considered how that level of psychological unraveling might just do the trick.  After peeing outside so much recently and the realization that the harder the surface, the greater the splash the romanticizing of peeing on her floor lost its luster relatively quickly.
My day improved from that point.  After writing this, I wondered whether I wanted to post yet another rant.  But ranting is part of my process.  I rant to you.  I rant at God.  I rant internally.  Ranting helps to move the shit through.  I have been tired, edgy and tender the last few days.  David and I have been a bit angsty with each other which is to be expected and discouraging at the same time.  We keep re-promising to remember that we are both spent and we recommit to bring an excessive level of patience.  Today, smoke fills the air from fires burning as far away as Montrose and New Mexico.  I feel for those people.  The smog fits my somewhat cloudy mood with bits of sunshine poking through.  We stopped for breakfast at Einstein’s as we headed into town to shop for flagstone.  It’s time to replace our Astroturf lawn with a more permanent structure to surround Flame and make life a little sweeter.
As I sit in this fine establishment and look around at the collection of folks, I settle a bit.  I remember how to take a deep breath.  I breathe in the A/C and coffee fumes.  I pause and reflect.  And, then I choose:  Today, I promise to be loving to my husband.  I promise to be grateful for at least a few things.  And, I chuckle as I write that as I know there is an abundance of things to be grateful for.  Today, I will let the rant lapse.  I will know I can come back to it when I choose.  I will use a proper bathroom, I won’t pee on anyone’s floors, I will wash the dirt from under my fingernails and celebrate clean underwear.  I will call my mother and tell her I love her.  I will be kind to a stranger – or two.
And, right now, I will dig in to my breakfast and be happy that I didn’t have to cook it.
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2 Responses

  1. Andrea Floyd says:

    Wow, you hit the reality check of what insurance does and does not do right on the head. From there we all get to choose how to react and respond, but oh yeah, even the best of us will yell ‘but that’s NOT FAIR! first.

  2. Thanks Andrea. It is certainly interesting!

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