Sunday, September 4, 2005


Our house was completely gutted by a very destructive fire on February 11, 2005. The inside of our house where we actually lived was declared a total loss. We were devastated. We lost all of our personal possessions, furniture, and clothing. Fortunately the fire did not go into the addition so our musical equipment survived.

Doug found the photo shown above online. According to the newspaper, it took 85 firefighters 40 minutes to get the fire under control. I don't think there were 85 firefighters there, but I was in no shape to do a head count. They were definitely there for at least an hour and probably closer to two.

This is what the inside of our house looked like. Everything was demolished. The plaster all came off of the walls. The bedroom area was completely gutted although the basic structure was still there. In the kitchen, dining room and bathroom everything was heat and smoke damaged. The whole house was completely soaked with water and the ashes were a foot and a half deep in places. The stuff that didn't burn all the way was lying in a mishmash on the floor in every room. There was a bunch of melted plastic all over the place too. It was disgusting.

This wooden dresser didn't burn all of the way through, but the clothes inside were still damaged beyond repair. Throughout the house, the wooden furniture remained structurally somewhat recognizeable, but all of the particle board cabinets and bookcases completely disintegrated and their contents were burned beyond recognition for the most part.
If you are truly dying to read about all of the gory details you may do so here.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

1997 - 2004 Our Studio/Shop is no more

In February of 1997 I went out on my very first cruise ship gig for a 5 month contract. When I came back the studio smelled terrible. It seems that Maria, the feral cat, had now taken up residence in the attic of the studio, and wasn’t going outside to pee anymore because it was just too much trouble to climb all the way down the ladder that Doug had put up for her to get to the ground. So yuck! Fortunately by then I had pretty much decided to stop teaching piano and just be a bass player so I didn’t have students coming anymore. That certainly was an interesting and disgusting way to finalize my career change.

By the end of 1997, Doug had decided that it was just about time to tear down the studio and mouthpiece shop building, so while he was out on his holiday cruise, I painted the OSB in the designated music area of the addition a lovely shade of blue and put up curtains and then my parents helped me put down some wall-to-wall carpeting that had previously been in their living room. Then I had my pianos moved into the addition and I gradually brought in all of the other stuff. It ended up looking pretty nice, and about as cushy as a halfway finished space like this could be.

At this point I began to realize that this new set up was going to exist for much longer than what could accurately be called temporarily. I settled in for the long haul and Doug moved his shop into a work space about 5 miles away. The outbuilding was finally torn down during the spring of 1998.

Somewhere in there we ran out of money and time for additional construction. We had both quit our “day jobs” to freelance and to spend more time on the mouthpiece business. It began to do pretty well, but there was not a lot of extra time to work on the house. The framing of the walls was in place, but that was it. I used the main floor of the addition in this unfinished condition for another seven years for practicing and rehearsals.

My new music space was big, and wide open, and stayed surprisingly warm in the winter. The entire addition was heated with one radiator on each floor which Doug had hooked up to the system in the main part of the house. It was warm enough that we only needed to supplement with space heaters on the very coldest days. There were all kinds of air leaks around the windows since they didn't have any finish trim and yet it still stayed relatively warm. And in the summer it didn’t get too hot either, especially after we installed a window air conditioner. These foam core panels really do insulate amazingly well!