Sunday, July 06, 2008

Nightmare, Revisited

We’d planned a nice, relaxing weekend. We’ve been working so hard for what seems like forever—rebuilding from Katrina, renovating our newly acquired lakeside weekend getaway/hurricane evacuation house, sorting through my globetrotting mother’s lifetime accumulation of treasures and reconfiguring our house to get ready to move her in with us—that we decided we deserved a few days off. The idea was to go up to the lake, resist doing any of the zillion and one things that still need doing up there, and instead lounge around, sip root beer and eat (vegetarian) hotdogs at the picnic table overlooking the water, and then mosey down into town for the local Red, White, and Blueberry Festival.

Ah, fate. I pushed open the front door to hear the sound of rushing water. At some time in the past three weeks, the hot water heater sprang a leak. At first, from the looks of things, just a fine spray, at some point it turned into a gushing flood.

It could have been so, so much worse. I seriously suspect the final burst occurred just hours before our arrival, which is what saved the house from total destruction. Thanks to our decision to go up there and “goof off” this weekend, the damage was limited to two rooms—the room where the hot water heater is located, and the dining room. The casualties are a bunch of Steve’s tools (which were stored on the shelves and floor of the former), a dining room chair (already refinished once after Katrina!), an antique buffet already in need of refinishing, and of course the walls of said two rooms.

There’s nothing like ripping out moldy sheetrock and soaked insulation to bring back the bad ol’ days of Katrina and provoke on a dose of posttraumatic stress syndrome. At least we know the drill. After bleaching, we’ll now need to let the studs dry for six weeks before we can start rebuilding. But we did get the Sheetrock we need, and I was incensed to see that it is now selling for less than $6 a sheet, despite the recent Midwest floods. Why incensed? Because my house was rebuilt after Katrina using $12 a sheet drywall. Ya gotta love capitalism.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Just When You Think Things Can’t Get Any Worse…

We’ve been having a hideous storm here in New Orleans all day. Buckets of rain, endless lightening and thunder, howling winds. You need to understand that even without a hurricane it can rain so hard in New Orleans that the streets turn into vast sheets of water deep enough to swallow unwary motorists. Which is how my daughter managed to drive my car (of course it’s my car; hers is still in the shop) into a lake deep enough to make it stall out.

‘I’m so sorry,’ she says over and over again when she calls.

“That’s all right,” I say. “I’ll call Steve to come get you.”

Ten minutes later, she calls back. “Where’s Steve?”

“He’s coming. Why?”

“Well I was just sitting here in the car and I heard this huge crack and this giant tree came crashing down toward me!”

Deep breath. “Are you all right?”


Deep breath. “Did it hit the car?”

“No. But it brought down some power lines and—”

“Don’t get out of the car!”

“Right, Mama,” she says in that tone that only a teenager can manage. “I’m sitting in a car surrounded by water with live power lines bouncing around and you think I’m going to get out of the car?”

Ah, if only this were fiction…

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