November 8th, 2005

I Will Not Defame New Orleans.

Home, For Realsies

Today I had the first hot shower in my own house in over three months.

Yesterday, I fucked around with the gas meters and lines. One gurgled, spewing gas into the air and leaking foetid black goo down the side of my house. I turned that meter off. The other meters seemed to feed all the appliances in both halves of the house, and eventually I got the water heater line to bleed out whatever crap had accumulated and actually heat my water. Which makes me wonder what that gurgling, gooey meter was going to.

I'm not even sure how many people are staying at Clifford at the moment. There's Rickylane and Allison, and Rickylane's father, and Jeff, and some other guy, and Nathan and Alex from time to time...

...it seems to me that if we have a functional, non-fucked-up house in New Orleans, it is our responsibility to give shelter to as many friends as we can accommodate while people try to rebuild their lives.

Hep a niggah out, yo.

Tonight we went to Mimi's. I was just going to have one cocktail there on my way to the Quarter, but when I saw that Eileen, the real estate agent who sold us our house, was working behind the bar, I changed my plans and stayed there for the duration. "Real estate biz slow, Eileen?"

We bought a Guinness for an off-duty National Guard Guy who signed on for another month of New Orleans duty because it was, comparitavely speaking, a 'cushy' job. Compared to, say, busting down doors and being shot at daily in Iraq, the which wherefrom he done recently came from of at. We quizzed him on many matters. He was forthcoming upon all subjects except, "Do you regret having to kill anyone?"

Today's task was to buy a fridge for the downstairs apartment. I went to Lowe's, found a reasonably priced model, but learned that they couldn't even speculate as to when they might be able to deliver it.

Went to Sears, where delivery was available in four weeks, but all models of fridges on their floor were out of stock.

Rickylane made a phone call (for which his superhero name is now, "The FACILITATOR!") and rounded up Jeff with his pick-up truck (Jeff's superhero name = "The TRUCKINATOR!"). Back to Lowe's to buy the first fridge, drive it home in Jeff's truck, and coax its ponderous ass into the house.

There is now one working fridge in Clifford. I spent an hour putting in the shelves and door bar things and such. Waiting the requisite two hours after it had driven recumbent from Metairie, plugged it in, and put a single jar of capers inside. Big, clean, cold, beautiful fridge. With capers. Mmm. Things are looking up.

This is a bizarre world to be living in. It is, all at once, both the city that I know well and love, and some weird foreign place with new rules, new problems, and new expectations.

My city is rebuilding itself. And I can't begin to describe the feelings of relief and joy I am experiencing as I witness this first-hand.

When will it ever get back to 'normal'?

Never.

But it's going to be something. And this something just might not suck ass.