Friday, December 28, 2007

The Beginning of The End

I know that I promised to update the blog weekly; this is why I usually don’t make promises. Unpredictability is the nature of life. I have been in a holding pattern for about three weeks. Here are my VALID excuses – 1) My daughter’s daycare was closed for a week, so I was unable to do any work on my house save that Tuesday when Aiji came to help. The rest of the week was filled with Mommy days. 2) As fate would have it, on the Tuesday the daycare reopened, I was stricken with the flu! Even as I struggled to push forward and accomplish SOMETHING, ANYTHING, my body simply would not allow it. I couldn’t see beyond the pain pressing on my eyeballs. My every movement was strained; every turn of my head followed by pain. I went home to bed… and ended up staying there until Friday. 3) Lastly, I decided to go out of town at the last minute (minor emergency). So there went another week. My readers surely understand the frustration. Life happens, yes. But I NEED to be in my house working. And it’s not just the emotional need anymore.

Last post, I wrote about The Impracticality of Passion, where I shared the realization that my dream is coming to an end and I have to face reality – it is no longer a good idea to rebuild my house on my own terms, without earning any income.

A few things have happened to support this thinking:

1. As you know, I recently discovered that my brand new electrical wiring had been clipped. As long as my house remains unoccupied on this abandoned block, it will be subject to the whims of selfish thieves.
2. Tired as I am of dealing with trifling little liars disguised as professionals, I am hiring a new electrician, who appears to have integrity, to rewire the house. Of course, in post-Katrina New Orleans, morality comes at a premium. His estimate is just short of double the previous electrician’s.
3. Even though the previous electrician took six months to NOT finish a two-week job, my contractor/uncle is still charging me almost the full amount for his services.
4. My insurance company is closing my theft claim without payment because my insurance does not cover theft while the property is under construction. My house is completely vulnerable and there will be no retribution for any loss incurred.
5. To add insult to injury, I just got a letter in the mail today stating that my insurance company would be canceling my homeowner’s insurance as of January 18th.

All these factors, coupled with the fact that I am WAY over my projected timeline and need to begin making some money, have contributed to my reality check. No one (with whom I have a financial relationship, at least) cares about my commitment to this house and the neighborhood. They are not moved by the strides I've made; my learning experience means nothing to them. This is Reality; and at this point, I am basically “shit out of luck”. The good ole days are over and it’s time to leave the Matrix.


I am not one to mope around and be sad about unfortunate circumstances. I am just not the “woe is me” type. Self-pity is a useless emotion, and it’s counter-productive. When I feel a twinge of depression coming on, I am compelled to MOVE. I have to shake it; I refuse to let it conquer me. Thus, I have come up with a plan of action – a bare minimum list of what needs to happen so that my daughter and I can live in the house.
- Win the lottery and/or marry a wonderful (and coincidentally wealthy) man
- Frame in the bathroom with studs
- Install baseboards throughout the house (the electric sockets will be in the baseboards)
- Re-wire the house (hire an electrician)
- Install plumbing in the house (hire a plumber)
- Patch the rest of the kitchen ceiling
- Close up the walls in the bathroom with greenboard and cement board
- Install hardwood flooring in the first three rooms
- Install tile in the kitchen and the bathroom
- Hang kitchen cabinets and sink
- Install temporary plywood countertops
- Install toilet, bathtub and lavatory

The first one COULD happen… I also COULD be struck by lightning this afternoon, but it’s not likely. I just put that there for amusement. Everything else could be done within two to three months, if I receive cooperation from all parties involved. That, in and of itself, is a gamble. Working with electricians and plumbers in New Orleans has proven to be a challenge for quite a few. But I hope that this time, since I’m working with men of integrity (or so I’ve heard), I will be able to forego the common problems. I am still debating whether or not to attempt the flooring installation myself. I know for sure that I can/will install the tiling. I’ve done that before and I feel confident about it. Hardwood flooring is a different beast altogether. I’ve installed laminate flooring, but it’s not the same. So we shall see.


We shall also see if I am able to even get through the Bare Minimum List. I have not updated my budget in a while and, honestly, I’m afraid to do it. But such things need to be done. I know already that I’ll be spending more than the amount of the initial insurance claim compensation. The question is “How much?” and whether or not I can afford that. Time to crunch some numbers.

At this time, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have sent a few dollars my way. And, of course, to all those who have volunteered their time working on my house. I couldn't have gotten this far without you; I truly appreciate your help.


Kiini said...

Jenga--It's all good! Literally. I get these inspirational quotes everyday, todays said:

From here, of course, all earthly problems appear small - really small. That's because we know they're fleeting, they prepare you for the "best of your life," and you chose them, not wanting to obtain their rewards in any other way.

But from where you are, of course, they can look gigantic. That's because they're often seen as permanent, limiting, and imposed upon you by chance, fate, or circumstances.

Kiini, get real. See them from our perspective.

With that I say, you did it!!! You moved back home and damn near built a house with your own hands. You put in roofing, you know what beadboard is, you re-somethinged windows, you fashioned a drain pipe, you learned when to say--I can do it! and when to say--I need help on this one, and you inspired untold numbers of people with this blog. You did it your way and that is so FABULOUS. So very very fabulous. It's all a weave in the complex tapestry of life.

Aren't you excited about the next installment? I am. :D

Bring it on!

Mtume said...


Here's my two cents. I agree with Kiini - you really have done everything you set out to do. You said, "I’m here to learn, to build, to dig my fingers into the dirt and create something new."

Well, I've seen your house and what you've done with it. You (and the good people who've helped you) have done A LOT. A whole frickin lot. You've done considerably more than anyone reading this blog (and by that, I mostly mean me) will ever do. You should be proud of yourself - I know I'm proud of you. It was a huge undertaking and you've done exceptionally well at it.

That said, I think it just might be time for you to put that degree of yours to use and start making some moolah; then, you can get some efficient professionals on the job and get the house done. If you could safely keep on going slowly, I'd say that's the way to keep go; the problem is, you're taking two steps forward but then every time some neighborhood crackhead ganks you for your pipes or wiring or doors or whatever, you're one step back.

So that's my opinion. It's not worth much, but there ya go. Whatever you decide, Jenga, I know it'll be the right thing to do. Go for it in '08, Lil Mama.


P.S. That "thank you, sexist man" comment was hilarious.