Tuesday, May 1, 2007


Peanut butter and Jelly - who doesn’t love a good PB&J sandwich? Pierre and Jamyla – power couple of the century. And PJ’s!! I love a nice warm pair of pajamas in the winter. Why do I mention these seemingly random things, you ask? I’m just reveling in all the good things that come from the combination of letters P and J. The latest items to add to my list: Peris and Jaye – the couple from Chicago who came down to help me with my house last week. AND NOW Paulette!! Which letter does her surname begin with? You guessed it – J. Good things come in P’s and J’s.

First, let me tell y’all about Peris. This is a man who happened to find my blog online through reading an article in The Oregonian (he does not live in Oregon, by the way) and offered to volunteer while he’s here for Jazz Fest. When he got to my house last Wednesday, he brought his burly self (when tearing things down, it is a true BLESSING to have a large person helping out) AND his lovely wife, Jaye. They arrived ON TIME (another blessing) and ready to work. Jaye and I started with removing the kitchen sink. I’d bought copper pipe cutters to release the sink from the plumbing network. But then I remembered that the pipe thieves had already done this work for me. Thanks, raggedy thieves. I appreciate the gesture. Now I can return the cutter to the store and get my money back. I’ll bet your initials are P.J. too, huh? ANYWAY, next we took out the countertop and cabinets.

Believe it or not, this is PROGRESS.

Then, my mother and Jaye commenced to rip out walls in another room. Peris and I continued with the kitchen; I tore down the east wall, while Peris removed a stubborn wall cabinet. He then single-handedly brought the STOVE to the back shed AND removed all the debris. We got so much work done that day. I’m forever indebted to these people. However, I decided against giving them my first born child, opting to offer them Jazz Fest tickets instead. They had a great time!

Me attacking the kitchen wall with a vengeance.

And then they came back on Monday and did more work! Peris removed the drywall from the kitchen ceiling (there’s BEAUTIFUL tongue and groove wood lining the ceiling beneath the drywall) AND took out about a third of the old linoleum tile and plywood from the kitchen floor.

Peris is my hero!

My mother and Jaye replaced the broken window sash ropes on two of my windows. Old New Orleans houses tend to have sash windows, which operate with a rope and weight mechanism. The rope runs along a pulley at the top of the window frame; the rope is connected to a weight inside the frame, hidden behind the molding. When the window is raised, the weight holds it in place. Without the weight, the window won’t stay up. Four of my windows were in such a state; now only two are… and we’ll take care of those tomorrow!

Too bad I couldn't get a better photo of them at work. Damn you, sunny day.

PJ #2 - Paulette came on Monday also. I will speak of her now. Paulette is a friend of mine from New York. She makes crocheted hats and scarves and embroidered shirts. She’d been reading my blog and decided to come down and help. She showed up at my house about an hour after her plane touched down in New Orleans and began ripping out moldy drywall. Now THAT’S a worker!!! Thank you, Paulette. She’s here for the rest of the week. Today, she rested but tomorrow we’ll be back at the house, gutting the bathroom. I’ll tell you all about that exciting (I’m sure) adventure next week. Anyway, Paulette pulled out the moldy drywall in the front room... with the windows closed since my mom and Jaye were repairing them. Even though she’s from Barbados, the heat still got to her. It’s not THAT hot! Wait until July/August hit. It’s gonna be REALLY hot then.

Paulette - HARD at work!

This week, plumbers do NOT make it on my PJ list. Well, besides the fact that they have no “J” in their title and therefore can’t qualify anyway, PLUMBERS SUCK about as much as electricians do. I’ve been trying to get a plumber over to my house for an estimate. NADA. I’ve made appointments, but no one’s ever shown up. So I still have no pipes. The thieves have them. No, they probably sold them already. So, some other homeowner has them. I will take this opportunity to note that if you are reading this and you are a licensed plumber or electrician, you will make a KILLING down here. It’s unfortunate for people like me to be at the mercy of skilled folks like you, but that is the situation down here. I wish I was a licensed plumber right now. Anyway, I hope y'all have enjoyed reading this week's installment. :)


Alan said...

try to apprentice under whoever does your plumbing and electrical work so you too can come up during the next bloody disaster!


oh, this darn katrina.

Paulette said...

It was my pleasure helping you out..even though I felt like my contribution was so minor compared to what you have ahead of you. Jenga...you are my new Idol!!!...you are amazing and you're loving the process 'cause you're learning. And its encouraged me to be more active in volunteering!!! I'll email you some of the pics I took.


Mtume said...

Jenga, your blog is becoming one of my favorite diversions because, a) it's endlessly amusing, and, b) it's an excellent context-shaper. (As in, I guess my apartment / my job / my life isn't that bad after all. I could be gutting moldy drywall or yanking rusty stoves up and/or down flights of steps.)

Favorite sentence from this week's blog entry: "I will speak of her now."


honeychild / the mixtress said...

how hard do you rock? very hard, woman. very very hard. *waves to P is for Paulette*

blowing kisses

Diana said...

All I can say is "WOW". I'm really impressed with how you are just tackling everything head on. Keep it up, I can't wait to see the end result.

PS: Ella misses her best friend.