It’s been thirty glorious days since Mr. Dapper and I have moved into Project Red.
Last weekend, I made a deal with him that if we could get everything unpacked (at least the best of our ability) then I would agree to give him free range of my closet. Since there are quite a few fun-patterned blouses that don’t necessarily excite his fashion taste, this seemed like a pretty powerful agreement. In fact, although part of me is going to be sad when some of those shirts do go to our donate closet (yes, we literally have an entire closet dedicated to things to donate) I am glad that we are pretty much fully unpacked. Now it’s just a matter of the nitty-gritty organizing!
I’m sure at this point, you are reading this going… where is the connection between being done unpacking and the title of this post? Well, my avid designers, our thirty-day mark is one to mark in the books!
After a crazy long day, Mr. Dapper and I were finalizing our nighttime rituals. I was falling asleep with my wet hair draped over the end of the bed, and Mr. Dapper nudging me to go dry my hair so we can get to sleep. I kept nuzzling the fur blanket getting wafts of campfire (a personal favorite smell of mine). Almost at the same time, the two of us looked up at each other and asked: “Do you smell that?” We ran through the evening’s tasks and confirmed the stove was off from dinner. We both figured a neighbor must be having a campfire . . . at 10 o’clock at night, so I headed to the bathroom to dry my hair. I noticed the smell more pungent and opened the window; it wasn’t coming from outside. I got closer to the outlet and smelled more of it and thought oh my gosh, is my hair dryer causing the smoky smell?
Like the amazing man that he is, Mr. Dapper was still on the hunt for the cause of the odor. He opened the front door and our entire stairwell was full of smoke (he told me later that it was so thick, he couldn’t see the landing below). He shouted for me to get my shoes on (I recall frantically looking for jeans, but at the moment, couldn’t see the folded pairs in the closet right in front of me). I figured, well, looks like I get to meet our neighbors in kitty-patterned pajamas tonight!
We ran out the back stairwell. Mr. Dapper running around the block to the front, while I ran back inside to bang on our neighbors’ doors to let them know to get out. Within minutes, three police cars, and four fire trucks were on our block.
We still don’t know, yet, what the cause was; although, we do know the poor neighbor below us is now living elsewhere due to the inhabitable conditions of their home. Mr. Dapper and I were lucky in that other than our door frame being damaged due to it being kicked in, some broken windows, and smoke damage, we were able to go back to our home that evening.
Yes, we have kept every window open since the fire. And, yes, we went to bed really late that night with people boarding up our neighbor’s windows until 2 am!
Based on this experience, I want to share 3 pieces of advice. If I could tell someone three things to think about before they go to bed at night it would be:
- Do you know where your shoes are?
- Do you know where your wallet is?
- If you had to grab the ‘most important’ item at a moment’s notice, what would it be, and do you know where it is? (ie, mine would be my wedding ring)
- If you can, unlock your doors.
After Mr. Dapper opened then closed the front door after seeing the smoke. He left the dead bolt opened, but the handle locked remained locked (not knowing I lock it all the time), which is why our door was kicked in and damaged.
- Don’t forget about others who may live with you – but be aware of the situation!
We were lucky in that the fire wasn’t too fierce that I was able to use the back stairwell to bang on the doors of all of our neighbors. I realized that since we were the unit above the fire, we may have been the first to notice, while others had no idea it was a serious situation until that moment.
- Who cares what you wear.
It didn’t take long for me to not even worry about my kitty-themed pajamas. We were out, we were safe.
- Leave it to the professionals.
Of course, when police and firemen show up you immediately want to know everything (even if it is not your home on the line). I could not believe the crowd we gathered on our block, even had a few people simply walk down our sidewalk as the event was happening. Take a step back, get out of people’s way, but be available if a department staff needs to ask questions.
In the end, everyone in our building got out without injury; and that is the most important thing.
As far as the status of Project Red: there’s going to be some repair and some serious deep cleaning from professionals, but we will keep moving forward!