The Self Employed Housewife – Diary of a foreigner – book2 Ch 15
The Day after the Fire
She was stiff from the cold but had finally fallen asleep in the cluttered lounge, when one of the spaniels started licking her face.
"Oh Scamper no!"
Nobody was up yet, so somebody must have left their bedroom door open so that the dog could get out.
"Mom, are you ok?"
"Hi Jeroen, yes but cold...Oh please bring me one of the blankets that we were given yesterday."
"Do we have to go to school today?"
"What time is it?"
"Just after seven. Sascia had been crying the whole night. I couldn't sleep."
"Sweetie just bring me a blanket and then we will have to make some plans about what to do today. Shopping I guess."
She couldn't even brush her teeth, never mind put on fresh underwear and clothes. She was still wearing the old pair of jeans and top that she usually did her leatherwork in...and she knew that there were no clean clothes left on the washing line.
She heard noises made by the family they had kindly been invited to stay with coming from the kitchen when Jeroen came back with a blanket.
Taking each day at the time
After breakfast with the Dutch family, their two girls left for high school. She helped to clear the table when Jan left for work, first dropping Jeroen off at the burned down home together with the three dogs. The garage was after all still standing, and so was the leather workroom. Both buildings were separate from the main house.
The contents of the few boxes people had kindly left for them last night were spread out on the double bed. She was grateful for the clothes and could see herself wearing them around the house, but she couldn't see herself in them at her shop all day. There was really nothing for Sascia to wear because she only had her school uniform.
"Sascia let’s go. We are going to do some shopping."
Taking kids to school and opening her shop would have to be put on hold. First, a complete change of clothing had to be purchased from her clothing account. She hoped there was enough credit left. She would get something for Jan and Jeroen as well and drive back to what used to be their home.
Thank goodness for her station wagon and Jan's company car.
"Can I choose what I want?"
"That depends on the cost Moppie, but sure let's make today a new beginning. I'm sure everything will work out."
Sascia needed cheering up. They were all alive and somehow living from day to day was their only option. She had some savings and she was sure Jan had money in his savings account, but how much she had no idea. He rarely shared his account statements.
"Mommy for how long are we going to live here?" Sascia whispered.
"We will have to see. We must first meet up with the insurance agent at the house"...which was no more.
"Daddy got a phone call. They found out where we were staying. Tonight we will discuss what our next move will be. Come let's go."
Proof of Identity
Four hours later they were stocked up with some basic essentials to last them for a few days. The most embarrassing moment was when a shop assistant asked her for her identity. Her passport and all other identification papers had been lost in the fire. The bank statement that she had in her bag got her past the security issues. Explaining that her house had burned down was an uphill battle, but after some phone calls to the assistant’s supervisor, she was given a temporary allowance.
Sascia got herself an outfit and shoes. They both changed at a coffee shop before driving home.
"Daddy’s car is there."
There were people walking over the rubble, looking for something just where their front door and hallway used to be, which made her mad.
"Excuse me but who are you?" she shouted through the open window of her car.
"Oh, we are just looking." One man replied.
"Looking for what? This used to be our front door but this is still private property." her temperament was now clearly on the warpath.
"Oh, oh. Sorry. Are you the owners?"
"Yes, and will you please leave." Her voice was trembling from anger when she saw his son still picking through the rubble further into the property. At that moment Jan came walking at a fast pace toward them from the back of the ruined house, chasing more people off the rubble.
He shouted and used foul language. She had never seen him so angry at total strangers.
"You stay here while I get some red paint! When I arrived people were loading up plants from the back garden tunnel. Can you believe it?" Apparently, he had almost got into a fight.
The dogs came galloping towards them, showing excitement as if nothing had happened.
"Mom, Scamper found cooked chicken and cooked potatoes where the kitchen was," Jeroen added, following the dogs.
Looking at the burnt down house in daylight was still a shock. Some black scorched walls were still standing up to a meter high, so it was easy to see the layout of the house among the roof beams. Cars were still stopping, but one neighbor from across the road chased them to move on.
Jan had come back and painted a rude sign on one front wall telling everybody that trespassing would be dealt with, with a crude skull added for good effect.
He got some bags and they all started to look through the rubble to see what might still be redeemable.
"Mom, look here."
Jeroen was searching for his tin money box and found it. Sascia's bedroom was the worst off. Jan had dug up the stove, or what was left of it. She hoped to have some luck searching in what used to be their bedroom for Dutch money she had not yet exchanged, but could not remember in what container she saved it in.
"Mommy look, what is this?"
A burned looking lump of metal was buried deep under some fallen beams from the roof. "That is the metal box where all our papers were kept!" Gosh, it was not closed.
Tearing it open revealed all their ID's and passports, all had burned edges to them. Underneath and still in a partly melted plastic folder were all their charred birth certificates. Everything was soaking wet, so the fire brigade had managed to save something of importance.
"Come let's look further. Who knows what more we may find."
What about her jewelry? Where her nightstand used to be she recognized part of the wooden drawer. Nearly everything was unrecognizable. All she saw was melted plastic blobs which might have been the boxes some of her jewelry had been stored in.
"Come let’s put it all in a plastic bag. We will sort it out this evening."
The insurance people came and they were all four interviewed separately. Then they left.
When a Dream Comes True
The weather was mild so the decision was made to leave the dogs in the garage after they were fed. Jeroen had made a bed for them from pieces of cardboard.
"But they cannot get out. There is no trap door for them" Sascia and Jeroen were both unhappy about that arraignment, but to have three dogs in a tiny bedroom was not an option.
"So we have to be back very early to let them out. We can't leave them out in the open; they will follow the car and might not return," she replied
Jan was securing most of the plants in the tunnel and carried outside pots inside the garage. Sadly only a few leather belt strips were left in her outside workroom. None of her large wall hangings or carved leather pictures were found. They had been displayed in the hallways but all had burned to cinders.
They drove away in Jan’s company car, leaving the station wagon in the drive way, hoping to discourage people from snooping at night.
Annie and Johan, their new Dutch friends, had organized a barbeque outside in the back garden around the pool. Jan was in his element but still upset at the thievery of people; especially that they helped themselves to pot plants.
She was sorting out the plastic blobs, trying to tear away molded plastic when Jeroen suggested holding it over a candle flame. It worked. Her silver 10 gulden medallion necklace came free, but at the same time, a déjà vu got hold of her.
"Good grief, will you believe it? You dreamt it!" Jan uttered in amazement.
She had indeed; about four months ago.
They all wanted to know if she remembered any other dreams.
For her, the fact that Jan remembered that she told him about her dream made all the difference, and a hope was ignited that he would be more open to her other unusual experiences.
Selling the Prickly Pear Shop
She had asked her higher self for direction while in the shop, and she got it. The shop took her away from her family, who now needed her more than ever.
She first told Jan about the idea than during dinner she announced that she would put the shop on the market.
"You never will sell it," Johan remarked which got her emotions aroused somewhat.
"Why not? All I want is what we invested in it."
"People do not buy a gift or plant shop, they start them like you did."
Oh well, she couldn't really share that her intuition would lead her to a solution to pay back the loan she had taken out. She had nothing in common with this family but was grateful for their hospitality.
"What are you going to do for money? I mean you also taught leather work from there not so?" Annie asked.
"I haven't thought that far yet."
"Oh, I have to mention that a building contractor wants to see us this evening. He apparently has been chosen by the bank to rebuild the house." Jan announced.
"Really, that is fast." She knew that one evening a week ago they had been asked by a bank official if they wanted to sell the plot or rebuild. They wanted to rebuild and stay in the neighborhood where everybody had been so kind to them.
"In the meantime, we might soon have found a house to rent nearby that will become available at the end of the month," Jan added.
They were paying Annie and Johan housekeeping money and shared in the cooking in the evening, but they needed their own space.