Thursday, June 08, 2006

Welcome to the worst day of my life

It started out innocently enough, after having slept a glorious 12 hours and feeling remarkably optimistic about the looming deadlines that have been plaguing my attention all week I took my beloved Tambo out for a quick cup of coffee. It was as I was about to drop her off at the bus stop when I got the call. It was from my neighbor, M. Her shop and mine share a common wall.

“Monk, there was a fire in your shop…”

Amazing how in but a fraction of a second the mellow, happy day turns into a vomit inducing knot in the pit of your stomach. We race to the Abbey to asses the damage.

It’s a strange thing, walking into a fire scene. The gates to the Abbey were cut open and hung askew. Power had been shut off to most of the building so the place has this sort of eerie early morning quiet about it. The acrid smell of smoke and hemp fill the air as we walk into the devastation. The fire looks like it started on the roof, outside the shop, and made its way into the building along one of the corner walls. Overall the actual fire damage was minimal, however the damage from the fire department was unbelievable. Giant holes gape in the walls and ceiling where windows once stood, the plastic sheeting we used to insulate us against the cold winter winds now hang in tatters. Everywhere there lays a film of water and ash, mixing into a dirt that reeks of smoke. The floor of the main workspace is covered with an inch water. Bits of rope ends and invoices float past my feet as I run into the office to see how far the damage has spread.

I cannot express to you, dear reader, just how horrible that moment was. To see all I have built float past me in a puddle of stagnant water. All that I have sacrificed and bled for destroyed with the fireman’s axe. Sorta feels like I was kicked in the nuts, hard, and they the foot is still there. Last night this was the Abbey, my shop and our home.

This morning it is a crime scene.

After many hours of cleaning, the damage seems to be mostly structural to the outer building and to our drying room. The fire department is not saying exactly what caused the roof to ignite, save that it was “suspicious”. This will, of course, take us some time to repair, time we don’t have right now in the run up to TES. That is if we even attempt to go now.

By whatever gods choose to smile upon me, the office and storerooms are mostly untouched, save for some water on the floor that has destroyed some of our book stock. Most of our finished stock was spared.

Yes, we are insured. No, nobody got hurt. Yes, we will rebuild and re-start production again.

However right now Nerdy, Tambo and I really need a stiff drink.