Monday, February 26, 2007

I'm back at work after Mardi Gras, and OH, how I had to drag myself out of bed this morning to come here. My students seemed no more pleased to be back than I am. Spring semester is always more difficult for all of us, I think, for a number of reasons--among them, Mardi Gras. (There's also the beautiful New Orleans "winter" weather, Jazz Fest, and the fact that many of my Spring semester students have failed freshman composition and are having to take it again. *sigh* to all of it.)

Mardi Gras is my favorite time of year, and this time, in spite of a bad head cold, was no exception. I paraded with the Ninth Ward Marching Band in both the Krewe of Muses and Proteus Parades (I'll posy pics soon), and on MG day, Simon and I took to the streets with our friends for the Saint Anne's parade and an afternoon of galavanting through the Quarter. I donned my red satin pantsuit for what may have to be the last year (it's falling apart on me!), and my yellow "100% fun" mask. I hope I lived up to its reputation, and I suspect I did.

I am always wishing that my out-of-town friends and family can see Mardi Gras so they can "get" one of the reasons why we love New Orleans so much. Our Mardi Gras, after all, is not the one that they typically picture. There's no Bourbon Street (well, not in the sense that one would expect--all "show me your tits" and whatnot). There's no dudes screaming and chicks on balconies or frat boys vomiting. Instead, there's neighors--young, and yes, old--all in costume, letting it all hang out, but in a good and liberating way. It's so, so, so fun...

I was happy to have my parents here for the latter part of the week, though, because I was able to show them Holy Cross and the house we are buying. My mom, in particular, seemed worried about our buying--not just in New Orleans, but specifically in a flooded part of the city. Once we went down to the house though, and then took a walk on the levee, my mom "got it," and I think she really did. We went down again the next evening to watch the sunset on the levee, and I felt as rosy as the sky knowing that my parents could see what we did--and now seem as excited for us as we are.

The hard part now is waiting. We've signed the contract and forked over a deposit. We're pinching pennies and preparing for the inevitable budget-crunch that will hit us come sale-time. The tentative sale date is September 1st, but given the work the house needs, and the fact that no work has yet begun, we aren't too confident that we'll be in by then. Now that we have decided to move I just want to GO. When my parents were here, staying with us, I kept listing the things that would be better once we moved--no more loud train, no more perpetual next-door construction (it's been 7 years of intermittent and sometimes late-night banging!), no more obnoxious and sometimes dangerous bar on the corner, no more cars tearing down the street to beat the train, no more piles of stuff everywhere (lack of storage space), no more walking through the bedroom with dinner plates, no more eating on trays in front of the TV, no more having to wash the dishes by hand, no more window AC units, no more of so much that I am ready to leave behind.

Of course, there are also those things we will miss. I will miss most the oak tree in the back yard. Already I've visited a nursery to ask about planting one--it appears we'll have to shell out a couple grand to get one that already has even the slightest of canopies, so we'll probably plant a sapling and watch it grow five feet before we die... We'll also miss the location and being able to walk to the Quarter and to coffee shops ('though lately we don't do that much, after the murder down the street). We'll miss our neighbors (it will take a while before we have any down in Holy Cross). I'll miss the house, itself, too... I've grown up a lot there, and I have so, so many memories from that space. I hope that the new tenant is a friend (Jackie has asked about it, which would be great), so I don't have to REALLY say goodbye. I don't think I knew until I moved to that house that I am such a nester--and that place is so, so, important to me. But it is, oh it is.

So here's to a new place, a new nest, and new memories...

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