Most Memorable Christmas Day EVER
Welcome in Everyone!
Today was definitely the most dramatic thing we've ever been through at least for Josh and I. We got up early and got ready for the day, we pretty much had everything packed and ready to go the night before. I, like usual slept like complete crap... Josh's family lives in Greenleaf Wisconsin, which is a couple hours North of Madison. Right before we left my dad wanted to talk to us and thank us for the Christmas gift we got him.
Little bit of back story here: Growing up and going to college, I always wanted to pay him back for the school loans we took out. Josh and I paid all of our loans off back in October. So the gift I wanted to get my Dad was to him back for one of the loans he paid for me. So when we first moved to North Carolina I got this email from a loan company that said, "In however months I have to start making payments on this loan." As embarrassing at it sounds, I had no idea what loan they were talking about. I had no idea I took this loan out. It was a fairly small one $5,000, but I didn't even know it existed. I knew I had a $10,000 loan out from UW Credit Union, that I took out to go to school at UW Milwaukee. But that was it. I called my dad asking if he knew about it, he said no. I thought maybe it was a scam or something like those BS emails you get from people trying to scam you. Josh looked into for me and he said nope this is a legit company. So we looked into it later that night and called them and it was all real. I'm crying to Josh because I feel so bad, like I thought the UW Credit Union was the only loan I had out. I felt stupid, I had no idea who or when or what took this loan out, how did I not know I had a $5,000 loan out. My dad called me the next day and he called the company also and he said the same thing, it was a real legit loan. He must of forgot about this loan also? But, he said he wanted to pay it off for me. He said Josh and I weren't together when this loan was taken out, so he didn't want us to worry about it. He wanted us to pay off Josh's loans and the UW Credit Union one I had. I was upset but didn't want to argue about it with him. So fast forward to today, we wrote him a check for $5,000 to pay him back for that loan he took care of for us. With the check I also got him a little metal plate thing. It's the size of a debit card, but it's all metal and I had it engraved with some lyrics of the song that my dad and I danced to at my wedding. The idea of this metal slate is to keep it in your wallet like a cute souvenir. He loved the gift and was obviously very appreciative of it, hence the little talk he had with us before Josh and I headed too Appleton. He said thank you and how we didn't need to do this, but he wants to come visit us now and some hugs in there.
So we said our goodbyes to my parents and headed to Appleton, which is where Josh's sister and her husband live. We were staying with them on this leg of our vacation. The drive I thought went super fast, I slept the whole 2 hours so maybe thats why it went by fast haha! After we got to Josh's sister Jessica's house we got settled in and brought in all of our gifts for later. The last couple of years we've been celebrating their mom's side of the family at Jessica's house. Just easier for everyone to meet there and spend time together. Once Jodie, Sarah, Julie and Jordan met up with us at Jessicas, we all ate some tacos and had some drinks. We opened up gifts and then played a board game called Throw Throw Burrito. VERY fun game if anyone is looking for an active and intense game, a bunch of people can play also! We all played that for a while until we headed over to Tyler and Rachel's new house. Oh yeah Tyler is Jessica, Josh, Jake and Jordan's cousin.
Little bit of back story on Tyler and Rachel; they just got married on November 1st 2019. And they just bought a house end of October early November I think it was? So it's their first time hosting in their brand new house, and first Christmas being married in this house. Keep this in mind for later on in the story... We all roll up. It was me, Josh, Jessica, Brennan and Jordan we all carpooled together. Tyler and Rachel made this amazing Christmas dinner. They had fondu sets out, that was used for making stakes. Having fondu sets for Christmas have been a tradition on Josh's side of the family for awhile. I have never even heard of these things until I met Josh haha.
We got done eating and headed to the living room to open gifts. I'm not sure how long we took opening gifts, but it had to be an hour or so? We got Tyler and Rachel 2 Christmas ornaments, figured they have a brand new house with a big Christmas tree. We thought it would be cute, like house warming gift for their first Christmas being married. Josh's Grandma every Christmas puts together a white elephant type of game. It's hard to explain, but it's basically we all chose a number and then we go in order to pick a gift. And then you can steal or pick a new gift. That's kind of the gist of it. It's always fun every year though and it gets competitive! Shortly after we got done playing that the power went out. So wasn't a big deal you know as little as we go and flip the switch. So Josh's Grandpa, Dad, Tyler and Brennan were all trying to figure out why the power wasn't coming back on. They messed with the electrical box and switches for probably 45 minutes. I'm not sure exactly how long they were trying to fix it, but it was a really long time, it felt like 45 minutes honestly. They're all scratching their heads trying to figure out why nothing was working and it was just the power in the living room, everywhere else the power was fine.
Jessica and Brennan shortly before the power went out.
Jessica and I were getting pretty tired, it was around 10pm and we all started packing our stuff up into the truck. We were sitting in the truck just about to head back to Jessica and Brennan's house. We look up and I go, "Holy shi# their house on fire!" There was flames pummeling off their roof, just giant massive flames. At that same time that we noticed the fire, Les heard crackling come from the fireplace in Tyler's house. And also Marty, Josh's grandma felt like it was getting warm in their house. All of us in the truck just bolted into action! Josh and Brennan ran inside to help them all get out safely, I told someone to call 911 and helped Tyler and Rachel get some of their stuff into the cars. Jessica was looking up the address of their house and Jordan called 911. Brennan and Josh moved the trucks away. I was helping Rachel get her dogs into the car. Les grabbed some Christmas gifts, Rachel's wedding dress and some wedding pictures. Just anything that they can grab in the short amount of time that they had. Marty, Josh's grandma booked it out of the house with no shoes on! She has a walker and everything, I couldn't believe it! No shoes in this cold weather! She goes, "They told me to get out so I did! I was just following orders." Les said shortly after Josh and Brennan ran in to get everyone out, that the house started filling up with smoke. The fire was working that fast it was seconds and the house was already filling up with smoke?! After the vehicles got moved we were all still waiting for the fire department to come. Remember it's Christmas day, so everyone that showed up from the fire department it was all volunteer. It felt like they took awhile to show up, but like I said it was Christmas day.
After the fire department showed up we were all standing around, just watching Tyler and Rachel's house burn. We watched it burn for 3 hours and there's nothing you can do but watch. Everyone was crying, we're all hugging trying to comfort each other. The kicker that made a lot of people cry was when Rachel's family showed up and they all hugged and were crying into each others shoulders. That's what got me, I just can't even imagine. Just everything going through our minds, it's just so surreal.
We didn't get a lot of pictures during the fire, for obvious reasons. Last thing on our minds was getting a ton of pictures.
Everything about their circumstances just completely sucked. A lot of the gifts they got from their wedding was handmade like customized home type stuff and imagine just watching the house burn down and all of those gifts are gone. The couches, mattresses, washer, dryer, fridge, pretty much all of the furniture was brand new like not even a month old. All of it gone. It's crazy cause one minute we're all in the house celebrating Christmas and the next minute we're running in screaming fire! We really did just watch this house burn down for 3 hours it was just so surreal we couldn't believe it. And you know you see houses burning down on the news all of the time, but it's just in one ear and out the other when you hear about it. Cause like what are the chances that's going to happen in my lifetime? Well there you go it happened and it was unimaginable. Lesson learned for Josh and I; when we get home take pictures of all of the stuff you have in your house and have some sort of emergency fire kit. Luckily we were all in the same room, but what if someone was on the other side of the house or downstairs? Like we would have been screwed.
Right when the fire department showed up, they made these makeshift pools and used the water from their trucks to start with getting the fire out. The trees in Tyler and Rachel's front yard prevented the trucks from getting closer to the fire and spraying water from a lift down onto the fire. They needed 10 different fire stations to help get this fire out. That's insane to me! It was freezing out this night so everyone was walking out to watch the fire and then jump back in the cars to warm up. We were doing that all night, just back and forth. Around 2am came along and the fire department told us that they're going to have to bring in the excavator to knock the house down. The fire was in the walls of the house, so they couldn't get it to stop they would get it out in one place and then it would start up in another area. Right before the excavator came in they did a little investigation to see if they could figure out what started the fire. So they went into the house right before they knocked it down. They took a heat gage thing some sort of equipment they have and measured the heat coming off of the fireplace. The firefighter said that the temperature on the outside of the fireplace was too cold for a fire to start there. Which means the fire most likely maybe started from an electrical problem, hence the the power going out in the living room? So it makes sense, but we'll never know the actual reason now that the house had to be taken down.
Aftermath of fire.
We ended up heading back to Jessica and Brennan's place around 2am. Jessica and Brennan had to work the next day. Josh and I were about to pass out in the back seat, we were just getting tired, I mean it was 2 in the morning. As we were leaving the excavator was pulling in. Getting ready to knock the house down. When we were driving down the road, there was fire trucks all the way down the road and into the next neighborhood. There was so many fire trucks just lining the roads for what felt like a mile down the road. It was so foggy on the way back to Jessica's place. I couldn't tell if it was smoke from the house or fog because it was dangerous amounts of fog that night.
We get back to Jessica's house and it was just a sad night. I thought none of us would get any sleep after this long traumatizing night. Like we just watched your cousin's house burn down for 3 hours, they lost everything. Biggest take from this is, everyone got out safely. We have to be so blessed that no one got hurt and we all got our shi# together when we needed to. You see this stuff happen all the time and nobody blinks an eye, cause you know what are the chances that this is going to happen to us? Well it did happen and thank God Tyler and Rachel have insurance and that we were all in the same room so we could all get out easily. Another thing to everyone...please just invest in a nice fire proof box it'll be a small thing that will make a world of difference.
Please pray for Tyler and Rachel they're slowly getting everything they need back, but they did lose everything. It'll be a while before they get to move in to their own place. But they need all the prayers they can get!
I can't upload videos on here, but just go to my Facebook page under Brittany Schmidt and there's a ton on there if you're interested.