Monday, October 15, 2007

A Lovely Weekend

There was lots to be happy about over the weekend, so I am trying to remember those things as another busy week at school begins.

Saturday was most memorable. Our dear friend Terrence had just moved back from Houston and he called to tell us on Friday. While I was down in Holy Cross at a website committee meeting (where I was somehow made chair of the committee !?!?! perhaps because my fellow members mistake having a blog with having a clue about the Web... sigh!), Simon picked up Terrence and brought him down to see what we hope will be our new house.

At the house, we met with members of the Emerging Green Builders--a group of young architects and environmental-y building people (I really MUST learn how to talk about this with some kind of authority)--who took a look at the house and gave us lots of advice about how to renovate in a way that would save energy (and money).

I'll have to admit, a lot of what was said kind of went in one ear and flew out the other. Because we are not in a position to handle the renovation on our own (and remain sane and married), we are asking our contractor to use affordable and sustainable measures as he renovates, and we are (perhaps naively) trusting that he will. Among the measures we'll take: following the recommendations of The Alliance for Affordable Energy (whenever feasible), including installing a radiant barrier in the attic, installing plenty of insulation, installing ceiling fans in order to avoid using "forced air" cooling whenever possible, and purchasing Energystar appliances.

The problem with all of this energy-stuff is, of course, that it costs money.

This, however, brings me to another happy lesson/moment from this weekend: I learned a lot more about the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement & Development (or CSED), largely via the website committee meeting and a bit of research. (As part of the website-building plan, Dave Macaulay and friends have donated the URL [which is a website address]and the design for The website will largely be the platform for the CSED, which is good, especially since a Google of "CSED" brings up far too many other CSED's. I'm looking forward to helping with putting together a more effective website than the current one,, which is a rather rudimentary site right now that doesn't do the work of the CSED--or the neighborhood--justice, but which will... soon... soon!)

In a nutshell, the CSED is committed to helping Holy Cross become the first carbon-neutral neighborhood in America. Yes, really. Now you may see why I get the goosebumps when I think about/talk about/write about my future home. To think this is happening in New Orleans!

Anyway, I learned a bit more about my neighborhood's environmental commitment, and then I learned a but more about my future home, and then, Terrence and I drove down to the Delery Street Playground and swung on an excellent, if rusty, swingset. The sun was setting and the weather was incredible. The humid air had taken leave for the weekend, and swinging through that cool air with my friend Terrence with me, well, all just felt FINE. Terrence seemed happy to be home (although we are worried, worried, worried about his schooling), and I felt wonderful and light as air. When I got a call from a friend asking what we were up to, I said, "Swinging!" and then I explained my take on swinging and also skipping: it's nearly impossible to be down if you are swinging, really swinging (none of that melancholy scrubbing a foot around and staring at the ground) or when you are skipping. Try it!

To top off this wonderful weekend, the Saints won their game against the Seahawks last night, and I ate four Dove dark chocolates, drank a glass of Malbec, and slept well. I even dreamt of swimming competetively, as I did when I was young, and in my dream, I was the same kick-butt backstroker as I was way back when.

Today I was back at school, and back to my house-head (I feel as thought All Things House run through my mind nearly constantly these days). In between classes, I drew potential floor plans for our double-to-single shotgun conversion, obsessed over financing details that sound Greek to me, and made other house-obsessive attempts to ignore the mounting pile of literature papers I have to grade. I really do not know how people work full time while renovating a home... (and being married).

Now, back to the grind...

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