I honestly don't know what to say.
A terrible thing happened, but the aftermath was something that I never could have dreamed of. After feeling lower than I have in my entire life, the kindness of strangers has not only made me realize that it could have been much worse, but that humanity ain't all that bad after all.
When Mark posted a link to our Go Fund Me page, it made me feel weird and uncomfortable. I was basically asking people for money. I had many talks with close friends and family, though, and was able to put my pride aside and realize tragedies are when people help other people. Also, having people text and email constantly asking how they could help, I figured this might be helpful for those friends who don't live very close to us. I was expecting somewhere in the $200 to $300 range, hoping to get to $500 eventually to help replace my laptop.
As it stands right now, our account is up to $1,925.
It doesn't happen often, but I'm at a loss for words. I figured I might get one or two people to donate $50 or so, and that would have been great. Instead, tons of people donated $5, $10, and $20. There were a few people who donated crazy amounts, but for the most part, it was $10 here and $10 there. Broke college kids who only know me from my twitter feed and what I write on this site were able to scrounge up $5. Older Cougs who didn't know who I was or what CougCenter was heard about it via someone's facebook and donated. The news kept spreading, and people kept responding.
It wasn't just money, though. People were donating things. I received a package with two brand new t-shirts from one member saying "I was gonna send my stuff, but figured you'd want new stuff instead. Hope you and Mrs. Kyle enjoy them". Another reader, who actually signed up specifically to ask what our sizes were, sent me a box with close to 20 polos and other t-shirts so I'd have nicer clothes for work. Included in the bunch were a Coug golf polo and a shirt that said "Washington State Coaching Staff" that I'm wearing as we speak.
Then there are the things that are so cool I don't even know what to do with myself. It makes me want to cry. So, instead, I snap a picture and post it to twitter. Here are a few examples:
More proof that Cougs are the best people alive: pic.twitter.com/I21zYUXquG— Kyle Rancourt (@KyleRancourt) August 29, 2013
And the other day, this came: (beanie handed down from a 1932 alum. 1932!) pic.twitter.com/y2cUl8xIqi— Kyle Rancourt (@KyleRancourt) August 29, 2013
The first care package was from Myk Crawford, who is the guy behind CougShirts.com. If you want a "Why Washington State? Well that's a stupid question." t-shirt, go there. He's got a bunch of cool stuff. The package he sent me was well over $200 worth of goodies, including a big WSU flag to hang in our guest bedroom.
The second picture came in the mail today. Along with a freaking WSU football helmet for my Coug Room/guest bedroom were tickets to the game against Southern Utah (plus a parking pass). My wife was thrilled with the parking pass the most, I think. She was definitely thrilled the least about the helmet, especially when I told her I planned on wearing it to bed. She changed her tune when it was too small for my giant head. Then she laughed at me.
The final picture is really bizarre, in the best possible way. The note that accompanied the hat looking thing said that it was a beanie from a Class of 1932 alum that had been given to him a long time ago. He passed it on to me, noting that he's actually never seen another. Nor have I. At the very least, I have a really cool piece of history. I mean, c'mon, 1932? That's crazy. Nusser was just a wee lad back then, and Sherwood was placing bets on who would win at four square that day at recess. That's a really long time ago.
Basically, I just wanted to take this time to let everyone know we're going to be ok. We found a new apartment, moved in, and are comfortable. We don't have a ton of stuff, but we have what we need. The rebuilding process is a long, slow one, but at the end of the day, it's just stuff. If I can make a few recommendations to you, it's two & a half things:
1) Get insurance if you don't have it. It's really inexpensive. If you're a renter, get renter's insurance. We paid like $13 a month for our plan, and even though we should have re-evaluated our coverage a while ago, $10,000 is better than zero.
1a) Make sure your plan is a plan that suits you. My wife had insurance when we first met, and that covered damages up to $10,000. We met when I was 24 years old. The most expensive thing I owned was my Xbox 360. I thought $10,000 sounded like a million dollars. About a year into our relationship, we started accumulating expensive things (TV, appliances, jewelry, etc). When we called the insurance company to see about upping the coverage amount, the person was either too lazy or didn't know, so instead of pushing the issue, we just thought "meh, no big deal, $10,000 is still a lot". $10,000 is not a lot, especially after getting married and receiving expensive wedding gifts. Without getting into specifics, I'm happy to tell you our coverage is now in excess of $30,000, and will go up every year until we get a house.
2) Get a fire safe. They're relatively inexpensive (we got one on Amazon for $50), and without it, we would have been screwed. Inside were passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, insurance information, and other important documents. Two days before the fire, a diamond fell out of my wife's wedding ring. I paid for the insurance on it, but the proof was inside the safe. Had it been burned in the fire, they wouldn't have replaced the diamond free of charge.
Other than that, I just hope that no one has to go through something like this. It's a really crappy situation to think about something randomly and then realize you no longer have it. As authors at SB Nation, we were given free t-shirts for helping with the switch from the old site over to the new system you see today. That shirt was not available to order from our store, so now that it's gone, I think, damn, that kinda sucks. I got over the TV and the couch pretty quickly, but it's the little things that sting.
In the grand scheme of things, we were lucky. We weren't completely displaced from our homes as some of the older people who lived in my building were, as we were able to just find a new apartment. And no one died, thankfully. I get sad when I think about something random, like a leather belt I got on our honeymoon to Italy, but it's just stuff. Stuff can be replaced. People cannot. And with the tremendous amount of help we've received from our extended Cougar family, it's made it infinitely easier to move on.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. We love you all. Go Cougs.