I spent the morning at the boys' elementary school today, playing social worker, along with our awesome principal. One of our wonderful, very active families had a fire in their apartment last night. Fortunately, it was contained to their bedroom, doing no structural damage. However, they did lose their bed and bedding and carpet to the fire and their other furnishings and clothes to the "firefighting" and smoke. The "stuff" that comes out of a fire extinguisher apparently makes a huge mess and is really hard to clean up.
The principal got on the phone with the complex manager, who wasn't planning to do anything at all. Mrs D set them straight and told them that she was calling the fire Marshall. She did. I went to the fire dept, to find out from the "pros" how to clean up this stuff, as this family could not afford a service to come in and clean. The firefighters were very helpful (and HOT). When I returned, I found Mrs D had gone to the apartment complex and they were getting a service to clean the apartment. Go Mrs. D! The red cross was also called and is putting the family up in a hotel until it's cleaned up. We collected money from the staff to help them with food and whatever they need in the mean time. It was awesome to work with a group that was so diligent to see that this was taken care of. I love this school it's like a big family.
I also got to spend a lot of time talking to the parents today. Dad was very distraught as he felt he put his family at risk. Actually, his efforts to put out the fire before the fire dept got there, probably saved their home and their neighbors. It was nice to feel that I could be of help to them in just listening. Social workers do not always get to see the results of their efforts. It was nice to know that this family is going to be OK, in a small part due to my efforts.
It also puts my little problems into big time perspective. Sometimes you just need a reality check to realize how good life really is. My prayers tonight are with my friends, in their hotel room. I hope they get a good night sleep tonight, after movie night, which they promised to attend and help. You guys are crazy, but you ROCK!