I've been shamefully remiss in updating the blog. I keep saying, "I gotta update the blog. I gotta update the blog." but every time I sit down to do it, I'm either too exhausted or I'm overwhelmed with the challenge of writing about all the new developments in an interesting and concise way. One of the volunteers who helped me months ago recently emailed asking for photos. This essentially FORCED me to at least select and re-size them. Then, of course, I had to add captions. Then I figured I might as well email the photos to friends and family, so that required more writing. So tonight, I convinced myself that I'd basically already written the blog and all there was to do was post it. But, of course, I am me. I couldn't JUST upload the photos and copy the email blurb. Here I am, still typing two hours later.
Up until the end of last year, I'd committed myself to working full-time on the rebuilding of my house. But, for various reasons (mostly my ever-depleting savings account), I recently decided that earning income was priority. HOWEVER, before I dove head-first into working for The Man (in this instance, Whole Foods Market), I dedicated myself 1000% to finishing as much as I could. This is what I accomplished.
I'm not a believer in the supernatural, y'all. I don't think there's a man (or woman) in the sky who spends his (or her) time engrossed in my personal life, doling out favors and punishment as he (or she) sees fit. I do, however, believe in the innate goodness of humankind. And I believe that there are a great many occurrences in this world that are beyond my comprehension. Like, for instance, how almost immediately after I'd decided to "leave the Matrix", I randomly met a man who does construction work for a living AND (genuinely) wanted to help me with my house. Lonzel and I put down plywood and cement board on the bathroom floor, removed the bathroom window, cut a hole for the new one, and framed in the bathroom walls for insulation. Now, truthfully, he only helped out a few mornings (before he went to his own job! THAT'S a good man!) but just his presence those few days gave me the energy and confidence to finish up this work. He also lent me his miter saw (HUGE help!) and his nail gun for a few days. And, finally, he introduced me to his friend Morgan, a master electrician. Morgan patched the wiring that had been clipped (by some heartless saboteur) and installed temporary lighting in the house. Not free, but MUCH lower than the cost I bemoaned last blog entry.
I received another blessing in the form of two generous checks from past volunteers. These are people who had already come down and given their time and labor to work on a house belonging to a complete stranger. Still they felt they had more to give. I'm grateful for the money, of course. One check is slated for the purchase and installation of a front door; the other to put a dent in the cost of wiring the house. But I am also appreciative of the moral support. There are times when I feel like an idiot for moving back down here with pie-in-the-sky dreams of rebuilding this house with my own hands and no concrete Plan B. So, thanks Peris and Jaye; and Judy, for not only the practical help, but also the encouragement.
Now that I'm employed, I can't spend as much time as I'd like to working on my house. Most probably, the proceeding entries will be about what others have done. I may be getting some significant assistance from Lower9.org, a local non-profit rebuilding homes in the Lower 9th Ward. Thanks, Mack McClendon of The Village for helping out with that! Also, Catholic Charities may be sending some volunteers over to patch and paint the exterior of the house. And I've received many offers from friends, friends of friends, and people with whom I've volunteered in the past. So I'll be organizing work days with them. I truly hope that the house will be habitable (and safe for a young child) by the end of April. I'll keep y'all posted!!