Behind the scenes

The devastation of a fire still lingered in the smell of smoke throughout our house on Saturday morning. Despite the horrible events of the previous day, our lives, our fortunate lives continued. Saturdays usually bring a half-day away from home for all of us. Tim and the older three boys have TaeKwonDo at the YMCA, so all of us load up and drive to Lincoln for a morning there. We typically get home around 1:00. This day would be different though, because Ben and Joe were recovering from some respiratory crud, so they couldn't be at child watch. Four left and four stayed home.

I decided to take advantage of having a day with no where to go and since the three little ones were playing, I thought I would attempt to paint. I'd been working on Ben and Mattie's room. The walls were painted, the dresser, painted, and one bed was started, so all I wanted to accomplish was finishing the first bed. To avoid ruining my clothes, I decided to paint "comfortably", which basically meant in my underwear and the cami I had on under my zip-up sweatshirt. Paint washes easily from skin. Things were going rather smoothly. I was painting, the kids were playing--occasionally checking in on me, but keeping their distance too. I hadn't exactly tended to them beyond serving breakfast. Joe's diaper hadn't been changed, faces hadn't been washed, nor hair combed, and by this time, nearly half of their clothing had been shed. I was almost finished, so it wouldn't be much longer and I could wash out my brush, close the can of paint, bathe my children, and maybe even myself and tidy up the house before Tim and the boys got home. As that thought was crossing my mind, the doorbell rang.

"Oh my goodness!" Fortunately for me, I had shed my clothes in the room I was working in, so I quickly dressed myself, while I realized that the shades were open on the windows that overlooked our front sidewalk--the one our mystery guest had just walked up! GREAT!!! By the time I got to the door, I was not the first one to open it. A reporter from a local TV station had been invited in by my not-so-put-together band of children. Half-naked, crusty-faced, snot-nosed children and of course the dog excitedly jumped around her as she said hello. My greeting I'm sure didn't seem much different, after all, I hadn't combed my hair, put makeup on, or even changed my clothes from the previous day. (My cami that was peeking through my zipped up sweatshirt revealed what we ate for dinner the night before too!)

She had a couple of questions for me regarding the fire. "I understand you're the one who notified the home owners of the fire", she began. "I have my camera man here, can we interview you?" "WHAT???????" The only thing going through my mind at that moment was how I did not want anyone to know that any of this chaos was mine! My living room looked like my laundry room, Benjamin was hanging from the banister, the dog was whining behind closed doors and my one year old's diaper that was hanging to his knees was poopy...and that's in addition to the fact that I look like I just got up from a rough sleep out in the barn! "Oh", I hesitated, "I haven't even combed my hair or changed my clothes this morning. I've been painting and haven't even gotten my children dressed yet." "You look fine." She must have been joking!! "If you can give me ten minutes, I'll pull myself together and get my kids situated and I'll see what I can tell you."

The next ten minutes was a frantic combination of finding something clean to wear (I never did find a bra), slapping on some makeup, combing my hair, changing a diaper, wiping off faces, and then, "Oh my goodness, what if they come in the house to do the interview?!?", cleaning up the kitchen table and counters, piling the laundry baskets in my bedroom, straightening up the couch and pillows, picking up the garbage the dog had strewn all over, not to mention the dog food the children had dumped on the floor, and of course shoving anything else into a drawer. I got the kids to agree to go play downstairs and stay there until I told them they could come up and the doorbell rang. Fortunately for me, they wanted to do the interview in the driveway with the smoldering remnants of a house in the background. It was freezing outside, but I didn't want to step back inside and take the time to get a coat. I just wanted to be done quickly, so I crossed my arms in front of me and tried to ignore the temperature. (Remember, I couldn't find a bra, and it was really cold!) The interview took only a few minutes and then I was back inside my messy but warm house, now only wondering what this cute little well-put-together reporter must be thinking as she is getting ready to finally drive away from what must have seemed like the twilight zone!

I watched the video clip online, because we don't get that particular station, and hopefully no one would have a clue of the events prior to the interview. Whew!! I'm sure though, the reporter will probably have a story to tell for a long time to come about the house that she stopped at to get a fire story.