Monday, May 25, 2009

Dead Bug Carcasses

Dead bug carcasses.



I really, really, really, do not like me them dead bug carcasses, particularly when they're on my stuff, my stuff which I haven't touched for two years, and is thus covered in dust and gunk and dead bug carcasses.

I feel all dusty. And my boxes are far, far too heavy for me ever to lift up off the floor, let alone carry them downstairs, let alone load them onto whatever truck/van/SUV I manage to rent or otherwise wrangle into personal use so I can cart stuff to the post office and pay a great deal of money to have those same very heavy boxes shipped to my parents' house out westwards.

In short, I have reached the despair stage of moving.

So I'm taking a break to check my email. And blog. And complain. Hope you don't mind too much. It'll give me the strength to go back and pack up all the rest of the boxes I've got.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

When your church building burns as the Romans do?

Those of you who remain glued to your newsfeeds from Boston may already be aware of this little tidbit of info, but the church building where I meet (yep--that one right across from the Longfellow House in Cambridge) burned to the ground this morning.

Yeah. Take a minute. Let it sink in.

Totally. Burned. To. The. Ground.

Well, MOSTLY totally. I mean, the steeple was still up by the time I left (about 4 hours after the fire started) and the walls were still intact (although the windows were not). But what I could see of the interior was a blackened, gutted mess. The roof is now more or less completely gone. If you're into the whole ghoulish watching-stuff-burn-up sort of thing, (don't worry or feel guilty about it--I'm sure pretty much all of you will click this link) you can view NUMEROUS pictures of the event in this guy's Picasa album.

Details? We were gathered together in the chapel, listening to the second speaker of a Stake Conference session that was broadcast to our building from Salt Lake, when the fire alarm went off. Everybody started looking at each other, (some, like me, rolling their eyes), and a few church leaders dashed off to see what the problem was, but I'm pretty sure most of us thought it had been caused by something over-cooking in the kitchen, or someone (possibly under the age of 5) pulling the alarm. Then, the presiding member of the Stake Presidency came up to the pulpit and asked us all to exit quietly. People shuffled out in a rather nonchalant manner, until we finally got outside and could see flames licking the underside of the eaves. By the time we got out to the grassy area in front of our chapel, we could see smoke starting to billow from the roof on the other side of the building.

Several firetrucks arrived as people continued to exit the building. (Everyone got out fine, by the way.) Within a few minutes, flames started shooting up from the roof, and the smoke changed from overcast-grey to nearly black. When the roof over the chapel collapsed, a general cry of dismay went up, particularly when the floor-to-ceiling windows in the chapel gave us a glimpse of the inferno inside.

It took a long time for most of the fire to be put out. As I said, I stayed for about four hours after the alarm went off the first time, and the roof around the steeple was still smoking when I left.

At one point, the fire had been contained enough to allow the firefighters to get into the institute library, so most of the members who were still around (a lot of us) plus many, many kind people from congregations who met near our building (including a group of Quakers who went around offering us snacks, juice and water), formed a long 'Book Brigade' that just made my librarian heart sing. We passed books in stacks from hand to hand from our building to another nearby building's basement, where they were organized, put on shelves, and triaged (as necessary) by a couple of ward members who had some expertise in treating water-damaged books.

So, I'm feeling pretty much flummoxed. And stunned. And really sad (even though I'm hiding it with a slightly snarky tone while blogging--it's simply my way of dealing with the trauma). I mean, that was the building I've attended the whole time I've been in Boston. And a lot of members have memories of it that go back way further than mine. I think even President Packer had spent time in the area as a...mission president, I think?

But, everyone is okay. Which is really the most important thing. And the books (or at least some of them) are okay, which is the second most important thing.

Or so says the librarian.