Friday, May 19, 2006

Fire Update

The events of this week have been a series of monumental cock-ups on all sides.

The insurance inventory adjuster was supposed to come to the house to make a list of everything I owned that had been ruined by the fire, by water, or by smoke. Immediately after that, a demolition crew was to take out all the interior sheetrock / wallboard that might have been ruined by water, to prevent the mold from taking hold. That's all well and good.

The inventory guy was supposed to come out last Thursday, two days after the fire. Then he cancelled and said he would be there Friday. Then he cancelled and said he would be there Saturday. Then he cancelled and made plans for the 18th, yesterday. All his delays prevented the demolition crew from working on the wet walls until last Monday -- by that time the walls were a fungal petrie dish. The demolition guys had no choice but to place all of my remaining posessions in giant heavy duty contractor's trash bags. To those of you who know how much I hate people going through my 'stuff", you can imagine how otherworldly this was for me.

On Thursday (yesterday), I finally met with the inventory guy, from 10:30 AM to 5PM. Our routine consisted of him sitting on bare, smoky rafters of the house while I emptied out a contractor bag, scoped through the contents of my life, reported its combined value to him, and repacked the bag. Over and over, for 53 bags. It was one of the most humbling experiences I've ever had.

He told me I was going to have problems with the insurance company. He said that he had been doing houseold inventories for eleven years, and he had never seen a place with 2000 books, as I had. I told him that I was a writer and a reader, that I needed a lot of books for my research, and that - most importantly - he had seen every one of those books as I unwrapped them in front of him. He aggreed to all of my points, but said that the insurance company still wouldn't believe it. He also watched as I counted through 730 video tapes, 314 CDs, 113 LPs, and 30 DVDs. He had no problem with those items, but 2000 books -- that's unnatural.

This is turning into one of those major life transformations I seem to go through every seven years.

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