On the night of Tuesday January 27th we received the horrible news that Erik's parents house had burned down.
The following was told to me by dad when we got to Idaho...Dad forgot that the chimney pipe got pushed loose by a big chunk of snow sliding off the roof. He lit a fire and a little while later heard a snapping sound. Just as he turned around to see where the sound was coming from he saw a red spark. He got a coffee can full of water and spray bottle from underneath the kitchen sink, stood on a chair and sprayed the ceiling where the spark came from. He noticed that it smoked so he thought he was putting it out. He kept spraying and throwing water from the can and thought just to be safe he would call the fire department. He climbed back up on the chair and resumed trying to extinguish the fire. He heard the smoke detectors go off, looked up and a huge rolling ball of orange flames where headed straight towards him. He jumped off the chair, grabbed his shoes, and ran for the laundry room door. The ramp from the porch to the driveway was blocked by the fire so he had to jump off the porch, a good 6ft jump, into three feet of snow. Thankfully the first firefighter on the scene, Nicholas Knack, found him leaning against the side of the house, shaken but not injured.
The next two days for Erik and I where a whirlwind of activity. Erik arranged for emergency time off, thank you Pat and Danielle, while I arranged for the girls to be watched along with delivered and fetched to school, thank you Buggy, Hoop, mom, April and Hailey. We left Boulder Friday afternoon and arrived in Oldtown, Idaho Saturday evening. Dad was staying at the neighbors, Chub and Joyce Peterson, and we were welcomed like family. Chub reminds me of my Grandpa Grant...tall, big strong working man hands, big deep voice and laugh. It was a very nice feeling to know we had a place to land besides our cold motel room. Chuck, Erik's brother has arrived earlier in the day so he was there to great us as well!
Sunday Erik, Chuck, Ray, Chuck's childhood friend, Chub, and a man from dad's church took on the task of cleaning up and sorting through the remains of the house. Some belongings were found, nothing that could be used again, but belongings none the same. I spent most of the day with dad. We went and had brunch with mom, I was the chauffer keeping the streets of Oldtown and Newport safe! After brunch we headed to Sand Point to get dad some necesseties. Many people donated clothing, jackets, money and food but he still needed a few things. It is mind boggling how many little things we use on a daily basis that we don't even think about.
Monday Erik and Chuck took dad to met the folks at River Mountain Assisted Living. We, as in the whole family, have been trying to get dad to agree to move to thi place for several months and now there is nothing to argue over. They all came home pleased and with news that dad would be in before we all departed on Friday. His room is what they call a studio. It has a little kitchen area with a small fridge, microwave, sink and cupboards. A huge bathroom, I am SO jealous and a nice sized "living area" for his bed, tv and chair.
Tuesday was spent shopping again, this time for items to furnish dads new pad! Then Erik and I took all the loot over to dads room and put things away.
Wednesday dad had an eye appointment, Erik sifted, unsuccesfully, through the remains looking for dads wedding band. After his eye appointment we took dad over to his new place to get aquainted with the place and people. He ran into an old friend from church who now lives there. That made me feel good! This place has such a homey feel to it. It is nothing like the assisted living place my grandma was in years ago. They will even take him to see mom at the long term care facility. Dad will be just fine here.
Thursday was move in day. We got all the furniture situated, dad had dinner with the other residents, Chub and Joyce came by to check out the new place and Erik and I stayed until they locked the doors at nine. It was hard leaving that night. One kinda funny from Joyce as she was checking out dads room..."Clarence, if you try to burn this place down they have these new sprinklers that will put the fire out quick!" Dad got a chuckle out of it, as did all of us!
Friday came all to fast and it was time for us to head back home. We stopped to see dad and we were pleasantly surprised to find him in the dining room with his new friends waiting for breakfast. I got a big smile on my face when I saw his little menu...he had checked: 2 pancakes, 2 sausage patties, scrambled eggs, toast, milk and coffee...you go dad! As most of you know he hasn't been eating very well for a long time but especially since mom's accident. We found out later that morning that when they did all there check in stats he only weigh 128 lbs. He will put on some much needed weight, he is a great eater and I understand completely why he didn't want to fix meals for himself. We took some pictures, and thankfully Chuck showed up just then so we could get him in them as well. It was a teary goodbye for all of us but at least the worrying about his safety is gone.