After our torturous stay in Tinkerbell’s coat closet with no ass wipe…twat you say?!…we head to our rental house…right down the road from our 4th child, Ashes. We gather up our stuff…just kidding!!…we don’t have shit to gather. We grab the girls and Will’s chicken pajamas and off we go. During the drive, I was daydreaming about a stress free summer running through flower fields with the kids, blowing bubbles and drinking cocktails…that’s right…I can run and consume alcohol at the same time. Star Search application NOW! (If you’re too young to know what Star Search is, please exit my blog) We pull up up to the house and the driveway is steeper than Mt Everest. No way in hell will I be checking the mailbox at this house.

My best friend from high school was there waiting on us with some toys for the girls. I heart you, Leah!

Our neighbors show up with air mattresses, sheets, blankets, dishes, a coffee maker, and things they knew we would need but didn’t have. We have the most incredible neighbors! One shows up with a truckload of stuff she had collected as well as warm homemade chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins. I was about 10 muffins deep when I realized I really need to step up my game. This was homemade y’all, made with love. I go buy it from the bakery at the grocery store, take it out of the container, sprinkle flour on the bottom so it looks homemade, and put it on a plate. You can call me Peggy Bundy.

The toddlers are running through the empty house playing their all time favorite game of hide-n-seek. I’m getting the air mattresses ready and out of the corner of my eye I see short little legs dangling above me. Weeert? The banister rails upstairs are not up to code and they can fit through…son of a whore! I didn’t have anything to block off the stairs so the next few hours were filled with threats back to back. IF YOU GO UP THOSE STAIRS ONE MORE TIME…TIMEOUT FOR 3 MINUTES…I’M GOING TO MAKE YOU EAT DIRT…YOU WILL HAVE TO SLEEP OUTSIDE…I’M GOING TO PUT YOU IN THE REFRIGERATOR…TIMEOUT FOR 100 MINUTES…NO FOOD FOR A MONTH…NO MORE BIRTHDAY PARTIES EVER. Once we were all exhausted from fighting each other, the toddlers decided having a concert would be better.

After the relaxing concert, it was time for baths with baby wipes since we had no towels. My kid’s feet were solid black. Puke! The living room and kitchen were tile. I cleaned them up and we walked to the bedroom around the corner…solid black feet again. Dammit people, mop your floors! I get the kids settled and sent my mom to fetch me a mop and bucket. After another 3 hours of wrestling the toddlers, they finally fell asleep.

I headed back to the living room to tackle the floors. Whatever shit was all over the floors was like sludge. No matter how much I mopped, all it did was move from side to side. There I was at 3am looking like white trash Cinderella scrubbing someone else’s floors. I couldn’t get them clean and now it smelled assy after getting wet. Fuck a donkey. I went on a search for some miracle cleaning agents. Ok…dawn dish soap and a broom. Bring it! I squirted the soap all over the floor and dumped a bucket of water on top. I started scrubbing with the broom and about 5 minutes later I was shin deep in bubbles. I just kept going and eventually all those pretty bubbles were black. Alrighty…this sludge issue is a little deeper than I thought! I used some leftover napkins from our delightful Popeyes dinner and started drying up the black mess. I then called the rental furniture company and told them to send a shit ton of rugs.

Around 7am the doorbell started ringing and didn’t stop for days with people donating necessities after hearing about the fire. The amount of love we felt was humbling. Little kids were bringing their toys to give to my girls…it brought tears to my eyes every time. Some people took it a bit further than necessities and just dropped off all the shit from their attic or garage. What in the hell are we going to do with this stuff?…is that a toilet?…I’m out.

In the midst of all this, some of my family (not my mom) labels us greedy for accepting donations for our kids and writes us off. What in the fuckity fuck???? Thanks so much assholes for your love and support and for caring about our kid’s well being.

Another knock on the door…seriously, I was totally out of room for another set of Christmas dishes. It was my best friend from middle school, who I haven’t seen in 10ish years, standing on the porch drinking wine out of a princess cup with her right hand and holding a case of cold beer for me in her left hand. Southern hospitality at it’s finest. I invited her in for a sludgefest where she listened to me cry in my beer for hours.

The next morning, Will and I head to our burned property for “Beer and Ashes Day” to dig through and see if anything possibly survived the hellish fire. Will picked me up a pair of steel toed boots for safety…I refused. They were ugly. Fashion is important for an event like this. I chose a cute pair of rubber boots…he shook his head but knew better than to argue. We pull up and neighbors, friends, and strangers are waiting on us with coolers of beer and water to lend a helping hand. Cue the ugly cry. I grab a beer and take in what once was and then get busy digging. Hell, it was hard to figure out where the front door was! First thing on the list was to find my diamonds. We found the spot where we thought the jewelry box was but there was a ton of posts in the way. Me and a few other ladies just started pushing and throwing posts to clear the area. Miss Freda had a big one and she used all she had and pushed that bad boy up so it would fall on the other side. As she’s dusting off her hands, she proudly says “I manhandled that!”. High fives are slapped and chick cheers can be heard all around…THEN…that manhandled post came right back down and slapped Miss Freda right on her head. I laughed then and I laugh now as I type this. Here comes our neighbor on his tractor to pull down the rest of the posts for us.

We did find some of my diamonds…Miss Freda works well with a concussion! It was about 200* that day and the smell was putrid. You could hear the shingles sizzling from the heat.

I moved on to another area and just knew I had found something. I took my gloves off because I couldn’t get a good grip. I pulled it up and it was slimy! As I’m proudly inspecting my find and trying to figure out what in the hell it is, I see the toilet…I’m standing in what was the powder bath and I’m bare handed holding the shitter pipe. I walk straight to the cooler and grab another beer. I then head to the kitchen area where I step on a long ass drywall nail and it goes through my cute boots and straight up my foot. My friend Misty starts handing me Corningware.Y’all, this fire was over 2,000 degrees…there was nothing left of the refrigerator, but my Corningware set in a cabinet right next to it was unharmed. Even the glass lids were still in perfect condition. 

We dug through those ashes for nearly 12 hours and nothing. I walked my way around and sat down where each one of the girl’s bedrooms had fallen. In Claudia’s room, I found a piece of her favorite pink zebra stripe pajama pants. I just rubbed the charred fabric and could see her standing by her bed ready to crawl in for the night…actually just a few hours before she crawled right back out and came to our bed. In Bayla’s room I couldn’t find anything except the bun feet to her crib. I held them so tightly and could see her laying in her crib reading a book that would lay across her chest as she slept. In Taylor Kate’s room I found a little piece of my baby blanket that had become her favorite. For some reason it still smelled like her where I had wrapped her in it after her bath the night before the fire. I dried my tears and said my final goodbye and started looking for Will. I just knew he was somewhere having a sentimental moment as well. He was in the garage area sorting through his tools…exactly where he was 8 hours ago. Oy! Back to the sludge house we go.

2 days in at this house and we are all itching from our shins to our toes. We looked like a bunch of crackheads running around twitchin and itchin and smacking at our legs. It’s the south and mosquitos are a bitch was my only thought. Day 3, the 4 month old is miserable and rashy…OH, HELL NO! It wasn’t mosquitos…the carpet in the bedrooms was covered in fleas.
We call the realtor who was a total douche about the flea situation. He said he would run to the store and pick up a couple cans of flea spray and drop them off to us. Um…hell to the fuck no. After battling with him for a couple days, he agreed to break the lease. He kept our pet deposit which was total bullshit because we now had to have our dogs treated for fleas and possibly a flea dip for the baby. He also charged us for the nights we stayed. Our 6 day stay cost us just under $2,000.00. He knew we had just lost everything to our name but didn’t give a rat’s ass.

Off we go to our new rental house…the house of Hell…