She had the bedroom in the attic. Seems she left a candle burning beside the bed. In the morning, Dale tried to wake her up to go to work, but she didn't get up. Why he didn't put the candle out, I don't know, because he did see it and is usually paranoid about such things.
Apparently she turned over and let her hair get in the flame. Woke up to smell burning hair. Ran through the house screaming for Dale (long since gone to work) instead of just simply putting out what was at that point a very tiny fire. Finally went back up and threw a blanket over it, but I guess it was too big for her to handle by then. Called the fire department at that point. I can say one thing for her - though it isn't particulary wise either - she wouldn't leave the house without finding the cat.
So the attic is gone. We had just put about $6000 into it, building an attic apartment (which hadn't been finished, but that's why there was a bedroom there), and somewhere around 5000 books that were up there. And then there's the water damage, which has managed to wipe out most of the books that were not in the attic, buckle all the floors, and ruin the walls.
And - biggest problem - we can't have the electricity on without having an inspector check over the wiring. Waaayyy too much for our budget. We've rented a generator ($200 plus deposit) to run the washer, dryer, stove and furnace while we attempt to get our clothes clean.
But can't live there. We're staying at a friend's (tiny) apartment. She (Gerri) has been very supportive and welcoming, but there is not much space. Raederle is mostly staying with a friend from school, and they are completely taking care of her needs - food, clothes washing, and even bus money to school when I forget to give her some. Someone that Dale was good to at work is letting us have an apartment for free for six months, which we're busy trying to move into. So we're lucky in some ways, although I don't think that having good friends is really a matter of luck.
Spending a lot of time at the movies. Went to Hidalgo and RotK and mean to see 50 First Dates tonight or tomorrow. Making Gerri watch FotR - she says she had seen it at the theatre, but she doesn't seem to remember it - and this week we'll watch TTT. Then she has to watch The War. (My best Lij movies were among the first things I brought over here. Fortunately my stuff from the living room is mostly untouched. I'm afraid though, that my Saturday Night Live tape was in the attic. I think Celeste had it, and I can't find it.)
We'll live. Question is, what kind of life is it now? Don't know anything yet about the status of the house - the insurance company has not exactly rushed out here to assess damage, and only the bank's interest is covered anyway. So I don't know yet what that means, though I presume that they will want to fix the house. Then who owns what? We'll see. Dale says he'll never own property again, but we probably will still be responsible for this.