Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bring on the truck

I spent a lot of the end of this week on the phone--with insurers, with the contractor, with the power company, with the sewage and water board. I think I was choosing to ignore all the nitty-gritty details of moving, and now here they are, demanding to be taken care of.

In addition to having our services switched on and ironing out the paperwork from last week's theft, we also need to pack, of course, and I've gotten next to nothing done in that department.

In fact, I've found myself just really really TIRED this week. Since I've always had a bit of an iron deficiency, I surmised that I was feeling this way because I needed a burger and some greens. But after eating both, I still felt like sleeping for a week. And so I've been doing a lot of wasting time and sitting around (when I'm not on the phone, which I guess still qualifies as sitting around.)

I think part of what is making me feel so overwhelmed is that I've lived in my current place for some eight years, and I have collected a lot of stuff. I wouldn't say I'm a pack rat, but I like to keep mementos, pictures, papers, and other little items that bring back memories. All of this stuff has to be packed, and since I really need to sort through it, neither my mom nor Simon can help me get it done. It's all me.

So I've been slowly going through boxes and boxes of all I've collected during the past eight years--papers from graduate school, letters from old boyfriends--and as I've been doing it, I've been indulging in memories of my past. This has meant that it's been hard to get rid of even the tiniest of scraps of things: a bar napkin with some nonsensical scrawl on it, for instance.

I found one of these yesterday. It was a Camel Cigarettes cocktail napkin from the Funky Butt, and it read, "I'm afraid I may know everything already." I'd dated it January something-th, 2003. When I wrote it, I was bartending at the Funky Butt, and I was still with my then-boyfriend, Will. We were having a tough time, as Will had realized that New Orleans wasn't his city and he'd decided to move back to New York to pursue a career in film editing.

I remember talking about his leaving really openly. I was just CONVINCED that New Orleans could seduce him as it had me if only he'd let himself fall in love with this city. So I told my co-workers, my friends, my classmates--everyone--about his moving to New York, and I asked them all to help me convince him to stay. I knew it wouldn't work. But still.

Anyway, when I said "I'm afraid I may know everything already," (was it to a friend? a coworker? a patron?) I think I was talking about our impending breakup. It was an amicable enough one; we had both realized that Place was important to us--and we had fallen for two very different places. But our amicable breakup made me feel all of a sudden very adult. I really did have a sense that I'd found My Self, my Home. I knew Who I Was and Where I Wanted To Be, and knowing it made me feel both comforted and sad. Here I was. Here I would be. Here, here, here. What then?

What am I trying to say?

I guess I am trying to say that leaving this house is harder than I thought it would be. It feels like I'm closing an important chapter in my life. One might think that marriage would have felt like the "end" of this chapter, but my taurus-side has always made be feel very attached to things I can touch--a house, a cat, a letter from an ex-boyfriend, a ceramic frog I bought at a flea market in college that I stuck my hairbrushes in (this Simon recently threw away after it broke, and I fell into a melancholy for an entire day.) And so this chapter is one that's been housed not just in this city, but at this address.

I guess that's it: I've been going through my letters--through all of these things I've collected in this house-- and in doing so, I've realized just how different my life has become during the time I've lived at this address, and I can see just how different it will be, and I guess it has made me sad (even though the way I see it being in the future is happy enough, and all). I just wish I knew why I was sad, 'cause I don't want to be thinking about exes and deaths and lost kitties. I want to be thinking about landscaping and furniture and levee walks.

I mean, I really don't want to go back to relive the past eight years. They've been largely erratic ones, particularly those that were pre-Simon. But still... Oh, I don't know. Does everyone have this feeling when you're on the cusp of a big change? Do we all ache for a past that isn't even really ache-worthy? Or is it ache-worthy? Seriously, does everyone feel this way, or is it just me, because I feel like I have some big-time big-change blues.

I really am overjoyed to be moving (if you've been reading my blog, you know this). But I have never been good with transitions and in-between times. I get sad. I romanticize the past. I have make hyperbolic predictions about the future (He'll regret leaving me!) I indulge in self-pity and cheeseburgers. I put off packing. I Google ex-boyfriends. I blog.

What am I saying here?

I haven't a clue, y'all. I just know that I do not like this moving-crap. Not when someone else is doing it, and not when I am. I say bring on the truck and let's just get it done.


Up next: a happy post filled with pictures of progress. Promise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bad(ish) and Good Endings

After the agonizingly-long and sleepless, post-copper-theft weekend, I managed to get in touch with our insurance agent, who a) scolded me for thinking that our theft would be covered once we lived in our home before he b) LISTENED to me explain that we do NOT live in our copper-thefted home, after which he c) declared all flippantly (like, duh) that of course we have builder's risk insurance, it's just not with his agency (Allstate) which we were supposed to have known.
Why we should have known this, I have no clue. We never received any policy or paperwork indicating that we had a BR policy (which is why I've been losing sleep and poring over our settlement documents.) I learned today, though, that Zurich is the only Builder's Risk provider who doesn't require that the owner sign the policy (agent and lender is okay), and our BR insurer is--you guessed it--Zurich.

So I filed the claim smoothly enough (no one has seemed to suspect that I have stolen the copper my dang self, which evidently has happened to many others, including my agent--twice), and then this morning the adjuster called to tell me that we have a $1,000 deductible.
Now, $1,000 may not sound like much money to some, but it is a big fat lot to me and my husband. Since we cannot move in, we will need to continue paying rent, as well, which brings the damage up into a range that, well, made me cry.

Actually, the $1,000 made me cry. The copper theft made me cry. My parents leaving this morning made me cry. None of these teary-episodes has lasted long, but I can tell that my heart-center is off, and I am ready for that to end.

Often, my solution for bouts of self-pity or pseudo-woe is to funnel said sadness into anger.
Ah, anger! So much beefier. So much more satisfying.

So today I am mad at our contractor, whose workers left a pick-axe on the rear deck (what they're using a pick-axe for, I have no clue) that the copper-thieves used to pry open the door. He also has posted a big ol' sign on the front of our house which, along with the electrician's sign, the big, caboose-red dumpster, and the weeds that look like something out of the Rocky Horrow Picture Show, all scream "HOUSE UNDER RENOVATION! NOBODY'S HOME!"
I sent an email asking that the signs be removed, but nothin' doin'. So our nighttime "security system"--a car parked outside, a battery-powered Coleman lantern on, and Latino music blaring (tinnily) from our shower radio--will have to do until the dang project gets done. Yes, I could weed the yard my dang self. But it's in the contract. And it's hot. And we're paying a ton o' money for this. And I need to pack. And I am feeling whiny and sorry for myself and in the mood to blame. So there.

Yesterday, though, I learned some very bad news, indeed. My dad and I were in Lowe's (I was buying watertight containers to house photos and important things) when I got a call from one of our immediate neighbors. I had called her to tell her about our theft, but she'd been out of town.
Since she'd returned, she'd learned that ours was one of THREE copper thefts in our little tucked-away part of Holy Cross in just this past week. Another more dangerous theft occurred when the brother of one of our crime committee's co-chairs had his truck stolen and was hit by his own truck in the process of the theft. He'd been hospitalized. Another neighbor, she reported, had had his home broken into EIGHT TIMES in as many months. She told me that members of the crime committee were meeting with the Fifth District. I hope something reassuring came from that meeting. Scratch that. I hope that something productive and meaningful came from it. (What's reassuring to the NOPD and we residents are often two very different things.)

Hearing about the spike in thefts scares me--especially because the summer in New Orleans leads to lethargy in the daytime followed by stir-craziness at night. Heat can bring out the worst in people, and I am afraid of the long summer not just because of the rapid approach of hurricane season, but because of the inevitable uptick in crime.

Still, I can't wait to move. Can't wait. (Did I mention that Simon woke up to six gunshots right outside our door last week? One of the shots fired poked a hole in the roof of our next door neighbor's house. We have suspected them of on-the-side drug dealing, and it appears they pissed off someone whose territory they'd encroached upon. So, b-dang b-dang: warning shots. They've been packing their things yesterday and today, and I am so, so, so ready to follow suit.)

Ah, how wonderful my city must sound!
Well, I never said it was all good. It's just that I love it so.

Let's end with something good, though. Because in spite of all this bad stuff, I had a really wonderful time with my parents. My mom and I packed books (well, she packed while I took on the unenviable task of sorting and agonizing over what to keep and what to get rid of), my dad took my old computers to the Green Project for recycling. We ate lots of good food. We walked along the levee. We laughed a lot. We made fun of my cats, who seem to be loving the moving-process, what with all the new surfaces they get to call their own by sleeping on/climbing in. We talked about how wonderful it will be once we really HAVE moved, when my parents will be able to walk down the street to see the sunset (or my dad to dream of putting a boat on the Mississippi, which, BTW, I have said is NOT allowed and have promised to thwart via a slingshot-pelting with stinging buckmoth caterpillars). In spite of the theft-whatnot, we had a wonderful time, and I miss them already.

So, here--oh happy ending!--is a picture of Anna taking a "break from packing". Oh, how I wish I could have the same attitude toward the moving process as my cats!

Monday, May 26, 2008

When a Cat-Lady Goes Dog...

It's been too long (again). Sometimes blogging feels a bit burdensome, actually, and I think it's partly because I don't know who my readers are (with the exception of my ever-faithful mother and a few friends), and most of my readers don't comment. I'm not guilt-tripping here. I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it feels good to get a little chatter started. And knowing you're being heard can make all the difference when it comes to deciding whether or not to even open your mouth in the first place.


We'd planned to move this weekend, and it looked as though it'd be possible. My parents had arrived to help us pack up the old house, and the new one was moving along wonderfully. Progress.

The countertops are in (and I love my black matte laminate, thank you very much--especially the gentle curve the carpenter put in to compensate for the bumped-out sink cabinet beneath the giant window). The drawer hardware has been installed (cheap and lovely, thanks to Target.)

The lighting fixtures and ceiling fans have been installed, the closet shelves, built, and the appliances, ordered and delivered. All that was left to do was the plumbing trim, a second coat of poly put on the floors, and finishing-up painting...

And then, we got robbed.

Yes, Saturday morning, we got a call from our dear neighbors, Earnest and Donna Taylor, who said they'd just chased off three teens on bikes who'd been in the backyard.

I couldn't imagine what they'd be doing. I mean, what kind of bike-riding can you get done in our yard? You can't steal a washer and dryer on a bike, right? I thanked the Taylors and my parents and I piled in the car to head down, 'though we were in no hurry.

When we got there, it was clear that the rear french doors had been forced open. There were pry marks and the doors were open. But all the tools appeared to be on site, and our brand-new appliances were still sitting, untouched, in their boxes. I called the contractor, just to be safe, and he headed down. While I waited, I called the police. Even though we didn't see anything missing, it was obvious the door would have to be replaced (and that dang door was expensive as all getout, in spite of its ugliness.)

While I was on the phone, I saw three guys on bikes, like the ones Mr. Taylor described. They were headed towards us from the levee (my dad and I were on the stoop, getting some blessed Mississippi River breeze), but when they saw me step out onto the stoop, they turned around and left. I don't mean to be all, "Guilty as charged!" (insert ridiculously jump-to-conclusion-ish red-faced expression here), but it was obvious that these were the fellas Mr. Taylor had seen, and they had that "up to no good" look about them (there I go again with the sounding like a paranoid oldie...)

The National Guard arrived quickly and asked for a description. (I remember when this, in itself, was remarkable: the National Guard arriving. It was so... so... novel back then. Now, it's just regular, and, in fact, I fear, necessary.)

It's hard to believe this is the second time I've given a perp-description on Deslonde (the first was back when we saw three very, very young boys stealing VCRs and sports equipment from the Holy Cross school, way back when we were contracted to buy 701), but it is, and both times, the guardsmen began by asking, "African-American" with a sort of knowing nod, as if it were a foregone conclusion. Then: "Hairstyle?"

I don't know why I felt so self-conscious, and almost bad describing the guys (well, yes I do--it's the guilt of privilege and the curse of empathy: I feel bad for everyone--especially young kids desperate enough to rip off copper piping) but I had tried to memorize what I could (from a block away), and so I felt pretty good about my description: all three were very dark-skinned. One wore a white "wifebeater" tanktop, the other two, black baggy T-shirts, and all three wore long jean shorts. At least one of them had embroidered patterns on bottom of their shorts. Their bikes were painted black, and one had neon green accents.

Mr. Taylor's description was more vague (I love me some Mr. Taylor, BTW. To him, they really are just your average "teens up to no good," but to me, there was still a panicky newness to the way I felt, this sense that I really had to be specific and particular--and I suspect our different reactions/attitudes/perhaps even perceptions come from our differences in age and experience). Still, it was clear we'd seen the same kids, and when I'd seen them, they had likely come back to finish what they started.

"What they started," I later learned, after the Guard took off "in pursuit" and the contractor showed up, was a rather expert copper-theft job. The perp/perps had gone into the attic and stolen at least 30 feet of copper piping from the HVAC unit. Those who I've talked to since then have said we should be grateful they had the good sense and copper-pipe-thieving expertise to turn off the water before they went to town on our pipes. Otherwise, they could have flooded our home.

Today I went up to the attic to photograph the damage, but I realized I was photographing absence more than presence, and I didn't know what I was looking at. The damage to the underside of the house was more obvious. (See hanging pipe, below... its angle hinges at an incomplete cut.)

These pictures I am meant to submit to the insurance company, I think. I don't know, really. But I Googled copper theft and "builders risk insurance" and did what I was told.

Back to Saturday: I don't quite know how to describe how I felt all day. I was bummed and a little angry, but mostly there was this kind of resignation about it all, like, "Here it is," as if I knew it was coming but had been blocking it out, blissfully picking out lighting fixtures.

It was just so disappointing, I guess. My parents were in town to help us move, and here they were seeing this, one of the very worst sides of the New Orleans recovery, and one that I wish I could say was uncommon, but isn't. I wanted my parents to see how beautiful our home is and will be. I wanted them--and I guess, everyone--to see that it was possible to rebuild in This City and even in This Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood, since, after all, I have These Kick-Ass Neighbors and This Beautiful River, and Our Incredible City. And then this: here It was... the ugly underbelly, flopping us.

While we waited for the NOPD, my dad went up to the house to retrieve water and chairs, and my mom and I lay on the dining room floor and stared up at the new chandelier. Our "settling in" says a lot about what we expect from New Orleans' finest: I warned my parents that there was a better than even chance we'd be there all day. So my dad went to be practical and bring water while my mom did the good thing of lying on the floor with me and complimenting our 100-year old wooden ceilings, the Pottery Barn chandelier the electrician had just hung, the occasional breeze from the river. She kept saying how beautiful the house was. And it is. There's that, too, thank goodness.

Two hours later, the NOPD arrived. Officer 1972 was a wonderfully kind woman. She took my info, spoke to Mr. Taylor, and sat in the car filling out paperwork while my mom and I assembled IKEA dining chairs so we could sit. At one point she honked her horn and asked for my ID. "You know," she said, "I haven't been down this way since the storm. I mean, I've been on this side of the Canal, but I haven't been back here to Deslonde. It's nice. It's really nice."

I've always felt that way about our neighborhood. It's tucked away and beautiful, and it's also blessedly populated--mostly by good family people. It feels like a neighborhood that's loved by its residents, and it was that, more than anything, that drew us to Holy Cross, even if there were less people around to do the loving.

But after Saturday's incident, I felt f-ing pissed and targeted, and the area's vulnerability was what felt more evident than it's beauty. I felt as if I could see it in the way my parents must have, the way I suppose most do: it's got potential, sure, but it's all kinds of broken, and broke things are risky. What's to like about that?

I went inside and cried for a minute. Then, Mom and I sat on our newly-assembled IKEA "Ogla" chairs and waited for Crime Lab to show up.

The man from Crime Lab ACTUALLY DUSTED FOR FINGERPRINTS! Of course, we'd been so damn sure that no one would come, or that whatever officer who did come would scold us rather than trying to help that we'd all touched everything. (I have been scolded before after reporting an attempted break in. What on Earth is a young woman like me living in a place like this, I was asked. What could I possibly expect?)

Still, this guy made the effort, and I don't need to tell you that in Times Like These, going through the motions--however futile said motions may be--can provide good comfort. I don't mind admitting that the illusion of safety was something I needed right then. After all, one must keep moving, keep rolling with it, right? One must not freak out and put one's home on the market and move away. One must stay through this because one loves this place, dammit, enough to deal with it, right? And yes, all of it: one has to deal with all of this, yes.

This is what one tells one self, anyway, as one's local Crime Lab guy snaps on his blue rubber gloves and uses the finger-printing brush on one's brand-new door frame and fingerprints--one's own? someone else's?--develop, like a spreading stain, just exactly like they do on TV.

And by one, I mean me, of course. I tell myself this so I can stay here. And because I believe it.

Because I have to if I've got any chance of maintaining.

After the Crime Lab guy left, two detectives showed up, completing the TV-episodic quality of the morning-now-afternoon. They were all detective-like, too: one was handsome and young and he referred to the other man (who was stoic and quiet and old enough to be his dad) as hi partner. They wore streetclothes and showed up in an unmarked car. They were friendly (the young guy was more talkative than the other) but still appropropriately serious (which, by then, had begun to seem silly to me. It was PIPE, after all. It wasn't a keepsake or even a laptop. It was copper, people: copper.) Still, this copper-theft stuff has gotten bad, I learned. They'd been over on our street twice in as many days and they'd just that morning arrested two men for copper theft. The men were going to jail. They asked for times and names of the AC guy, the plumber, and the electrician. They interviewed Mr. Taylor. They said they'd be in touch. I'm not holding my breath.

The detectives, the NOPD officer, the Crime Lab guy--all of them said how beautiful our house was, and how important to protect it. They all shook their heads in disgust with the damage done by thieves who were clearly desperate (copper goes for $4/pound), and with the scrapyards who were taking their booty--most of it clearly new copper... copper that each and every homeowner in New Orleans trying to rebuild must, must, must have in order to, well, rebuild.

Anyways, it really was damn hot, and I was trying to put on a calm and confident face for my parents, but I just got madder and more worried as the day went on. How could we pay for the damage? How long would it set us back? We've been planning to move for over a year now, and then this--this lame sh*t is gonna stop us? Oh, HELL naw!

It had all been so very "deal, deal, deal with it"-like, that I didn't even think to call our insurer until late in the day. When I did, I learned that our Allstate agent had only opened a flood policy--NOT a Builder's Risk policy like we'd requested--and while I was flirting with breaking the f-down, I told myself (and my husband and parents) that there was No Way we could have gotten this loan without insurance (I still believe this.) So I submitted a "manual claim" that I hope will be sorted out once our lender comes back to the office, and I reminded myself that it was just copper piping, dammit.

Later that night, Simon and I tried to forget things by going to the Bayou Boogaloo in Mid-City. But once the sun set, I began to worry (I swear the sun's setting changes me in this way. I emote more. I worry more. It's uber mom-like and also werewolfy/vampirish, and very me). I worried because the guys who broke in to steal the copper from the attic had clearly SEEN our appliances, all five of them, sitting tidily in their unopened boxes. They'd surely be back, and a big ol' piece of plywood screwed over the back door would in no way stop them from getting our appliances once the neighbors were asleep.

We decided we needed to make the home appear occupied. So we parked Simon's truck by the house and left a battery-operated Coleman lantern and radio in the master bedroom. On night one, we chose Soft Rock. Night two, WWL talk radio. Tonight, the AM Latino station the workers chose to work to today. In the meantime, I haven't been sleeping. I've been reading and packing and obsessing over insurance, cursing Memorial Day. If we have to pay for the repairs... well, we CAN'T pay for them. We are, quite frankly, spent out, and we had thought we'd be moving this weekend... When I finally slept last night, I dreamt that I was late to teach my summer classes and that my students rebelled by refusing to take their exams.

At any rate, I feel like there should be more to say or feel or think about this--something conclusive--but I don't know what it is, and I am very much NOT looking forward to thinking about security fences or security systems, or, God forbid, getting a DOG. I want to go back to relying on my neighbors and on faith in the goodness of others. I want to stop "dealing" and get into "delving." I want to move, and I want it to be exactly the right move, and not at all scary, not one bit.

But since Saturday, I've been wired and tired from worry, and scared, as I get back to packing
my things, that I am preparing to move to house that may or may not be safer than this one, however "right" it may sometimes feel. And as I keep swatting my kitties away from the boxes they're taking so much pleasure in upending, I'm telling myself--and them (because we need it, dammit), that this cat lady will never, ever, as long as she can help it, go dog.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Oh, HELL Naw! ( Mom alert: explicit language!)

Ah, yes: the end of the semester. It's always such a heady time. Combative students are all of a sudden compliant and friendly, even. They ask for their grade sweetly, gently, apologetically, sensing (not irrationally) that one misstep now could send their C- plummeting south to "D" territory.

But really.

It is a lame, lame, lamer-than lame time for any teacher--the end of the semester. Like your students, you can taste the sweet relief of a single day off... Just one! Or TWO! Or--OMG--THREE! And that promise makes focusing all the more difficult.

Compounding the mental stress of making it through intact is the real stress of getting beloved and struggling students through, intact. For composition teachers whose students have a proficiency exam to reckon with, the end of the semester is a terrible time, indeed, and yet we are expected to hold it all together for our kids--all however many of them--as if we are superhuman (or inhuman, really.) It's rough, and I don't want to hear any tiny violins because it is, dammit. It is.

So today I am in my office, staring at this pile, realizing how bad off some of my most beloved students are, when I hear a French teacher from down the hall cry, "What is my grade? What is my GRA-ADE?!" She was mocking her students, who, during finals, are less present on the faculty hallways--more focused, more determined, more on the ball than they have been (in spite of our many admonitions) but then, of course, simultaneously more concerned about their progress than they have been all semester. Another hall mate responded, "You'd better tell them or they may just shoot you!"

Her colleague was referring to a proposed Louisiana state bill that recently made it one step closer to passage. That bill, House Bill 199, would allow all Louisiana college students 21 and older to carry a concealed weapon to class. And, sadly--although not unexpectedly--there are many Louisiana (ahem) sportsmen who think this bill is sweet as sweetness can ever sweetly be. And I mean, there are many of them. It is vomitous.

I would like to go on the record, as a faculty member at a major Louisiana State University:

If this bill is passed, it will be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for me to rationalize staying at my pathetically-salaried position. I would just come right out and say, "If this passes, I'm out of here," but we've got a mortgage to pay, and one must be real. Still... guns in the classroom?!?! And sanctioned by the proverbial principal? Pshaw! I just can't see how I could do it. How could I teach knowing that my students are packing? How could I do my job? How could I assess my students--give them the grades that the standards warrant--knowing what I know about their widespread inability to accept responsibility for that grade--knowing what I know about teacher-blame and teacher-targeting and the supposed "subjective" quality of writing assessment. (Don't get me started...)

I mean, my job is tough as fuck (and Mom, lord knows I try not to cuss on this blog, but fuck! My students carrying GUNS to class?! And my employer SANCTIONING IT?!?!? FUUUUUUCCCKKKK!!!)

Right now, I need sleep so that I can grade papers fairly, be supportive, and not see my students as potential killers as I award them the grades that they earned.

What I do know: we are one angry nation, and an angrier state, and an even more seriously angry city, and I see evidence of this anger in my students' responses to me (I have a file... trust me... it's scary.) And until I have seen evidence that my students are able to handle their anger rationally (fuck: I know I can't!) I just will. not. sleep. easy. knowing that Bill 199 is out there.

No way.

No how.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Another Boring Report

It's a gorgeous day outside--crisp and sunny--but Simon and I are once again inside grading papers. The end, for me, is in sight. This week my students will take finals, which I'll likely spend next weekend grading. I'd wanted to go to Atlanta to see my nephew, who's growing up fast and without his auntie, but it looks like I'll be here preparing for our move.
We visited the house yesterday, and one of the most exciting changes had just begun: the floors are being refinished! The baseboards have gone up, and they are huge and beautiful--like the ones that were original to the home. In the master bathroom, the sink cabinet is in, and the ceeiling-stain problems have been fixed (the wood ceilings were releasing some kind of oil that bled through the paint). This week, the countertops go in, the kitchen will be painted, and our IKEA upper cabinets will get hung (I spent last weekend assembling them.) It looks as though we are still "on" for moving in June 1st, although we have heard bad things about the final step of getting an inspector to issue and occupancy certificate.

Anyways, here are some pictures of this week's progress:

This the family room, which will open onto the back porch. Half of the floor has been sanded.
This picture shows the beautiful wood grain. The width of the wood and its grain suggests it is heart pine. We've asked for a matte finish, as I can't stand super-shine.

The crew opened the shutters on one of the front windows, which allowed spectacular light to come in. We also discovered that we have a fully "interactable" house with stationary screens on the bottom half of the windows that allows us to open them in order to catch a breeze. (Simon's testing them out in what will become the study, below.)

Here's more of our master bathroom. The sink cabinet and sink are from IKEA. The baseboards have yet to be primed in this room, but you can see that the window has been sanded and prepped for painting. You can also see the very basic white floor tile that we chose. I love it.

I couldn't stand to post a master bathroom picture without adding another of our shower! Next week the glass guy will come to put up the partial enclosure.
Oh--and here is a view from the front room (which will be the dining room just off the kitchen.) The green house across the street is the inspiration for our kitchen-colors. They haven't gone up yet, but when they do, I'll post.

The grass at the end of the street is the levee, and when you walk up that hill, you see this:

All the house stuff has offered a sound excuse for our not attending Jazz Fest this year. It's the first year, I think, that I've not gone since I moved here in 1997. Today has been the hardest day to be away from it, what with the weather and all, but at $50 per ticket, plus food and booze, we just decided the $150 would be better spent on the house this year. I almost always value experience over things, but I've been so tired from the long and difficult semester that I didn't agonize over this one, in the least. We decided to buy the Jazz Fest poster--a wonderful image of Irma Thomas in a pant suit next to a live oak tree--so we'll have a souvenir from the only fest we've not attended.

In addition to the house progress, there are other happy things to report. I won the Excellence in Teaching Freshman Composition award this week, for one. I discovered a singer whose song, Cobrastyle, I've been dancing to, and the end of the semester really is just around the corner.

Still, I have been feeling the residual effects of this long semester, and I am just so dang tired. Yesterday I asked Simon if we could go out to buy a pair of pants that will fit my now size-6 waist, but when the only pair I liked was $150, we decided I could just "belt it" and work on fattening up over the summer. So my plan is to sleep, work on furnishing the house, and eat a lot of backyard BBQ. I will not be able to participate in the Greater New Orleans Writing Project, as I'd hoped to, since it would've meant a month of 14-hour days, but I'm too tired to feel bad about it.

I'm afraid this is a boring post, and I'm really very aware that I've not posted much of interest lately. Of course, my mom finds it all interesting, so here's to you, Mom!