enduringplum: (Default)
( Apr. 12th, 2007 12:54 am)
The official Road Home Program inspector is meeting me at our flooded-out house at nine on Thursday morning! I'm looking forward to it because this is a sign of progress, which has become a very important concept to me.

I still don't want to get overly excited about any sign of progress, no matter how big or small, because I don't want to be disappointed like I've been many times since Katrina, but I am certainly still optimistic and I can't suppress all my excitement.

On Saturday we're going to see a few houses with our real estate agent, who is one of Triple_Phoenix's friends. Since The Storm, one of my coping mechanisms has been to day dream about making another house our new home, which is not something I could ever again do in an apartment, so I'm very excited about possibly getting in to a new house in the near future.
enduringplum: (Default)
( Mar. 29th, 2007 03:18 pm)
We finally got a note in the mail from The Road Home Program and today I made our appointment to speak with one of their advisers! We're going to go to their Kenner offices on the evening of April 6th to discuss the possibilities. Hopefully, we'll be able to sell our flooded home to the state and possibly also get a low-interest loan to buy and renovate a new home. That is the best scenario I can envision and one which I really hope comes about for us.

We've been looking at houses and trying to secure a loan since we got back to New Orleans after Katrina. We weren't able to secure a loan before because we were still paying the mortgage on our flooded house, but now our mortgage has been paid off by our insurance, ideally all we'll need to do to get some down payment and furniture money will be sell our old house. Hopefully, the state will buy it from us, as they have claimed they will, otherwise we'll probably wind up selling to some land developers.

We also found the letter that the SBA claims they never sent us (actually, they claim we never applied to them for assistance), which states that we were denied an SBA loan. We need that letter to fax to FEMA so we can finally get the assistance they first offered us, but then refused when they claimed we said all of our possessions were fine and had not been destroyed in the flood, which we, of course, never said.

If we are, for some reason, denied assistance, we will just try to sell our house to a developer and we'll secure a home and renovation loan on our own, but if we have to do things that way I'm not sure when we'll be able to afford health insurance for me again and I really can't continue to go without it.
It was really good to see [profile] diabolicalsound last night! Along with all the usual suspects, he came over last night to play Hex Hex; Hex Hex is always great fun, especially with the no talking below zero Voice rule in effect! Unfortunately we didn't have Cranium and [profile] the_ugly_knight didn't think to bring Cash'n Guns.

Hopefully Diabolicalsound will be able to move back to nthe New Orleans area soon; it just depends on whether or not his mom will finally be granted disability income, which she certainly deserves. Diabolic is really tired of living in a tiny, paper mill town in Arkansas and I certainly can't blame him. I mentioned last night that Arkansas is a very beautiful state, but apparently not the part where he's living. :(  I'll be thrilled when he comes home again for a number of reasons: 1, because yet another friend will finally be returning home after being scattered to someplace lonely after The Storm; 2, because he provides a lot of vibrancy and energy to our group of friends; and 3, because we might finally be able to finish an Exalted storyline with him here to help us bully The_Ugly_Knight!

My knees are swollen, hot, and painful today because of the sudden weather change. Last night around midnight they began to ache, so I knew it would rain today -- my knees are more reliable than the weather channel.

We've got to get our taxes done so I can apply for a grant for school. This will be the first year of my life that I can apply for FAFSA without having to take my parents' income in to account, but I'm a little worried that our joint income as a married couple (read: his income) will still be too great to allow me to receive any sort of grant money; government financial aid sucks like that, so I may still wind up taking out a student loan. I just really want to get my computer graphics degree so I can start doing work the work I already love doing! It's really important to me to be able to support myself, but because of my weird health problems I can't do that with a job that keeps me on my feet all day and/or which doesn't have flexible hours.  I come back to this issue all the time, but it's central to my life.

I'm going to start going to Yoga classes at Wild Lotus on Monday. I do take issue with some of their policies, especially the one which requires students to use a yoga mat during classes, because one of the main tenets of Yoga is that it requires nothing at all to practice beyond one's own body, but I understand that they may not feel comfortable asking students to practice directly on their studio floor and that many people feel a yoga mat is required to practice; if nothing else, it certainly can make practice a little more comfortable and feel a bit more ritualistic, which can be beneficial. I don't mind that they charge for classes, of course, although that does go against the spirit of Yoga, but I understand that the teachers there need to earn a living and I admire that they're doing that through something they love doing and I think the free events they offer is helpful to balancing the giving nature of Yoga with the financial demands of today. The classes on Monday nights are only twelve dollars to drop in on and Wild Lotus doesn't require prepayment for most of their classes, nor do they seem to require any contracts, which is something I felt I was pressured in to at the Liu Institute.
enduringplum: (Poppies)
( Jan. 9th, 2007 10:41 pm)
I don't know why, but I haven't felt like updating my LJ or journaling lately, but I really should get back to it.

The wedding on the twenty-second was a lot of fun! The rain cleared up long enough for our ceremony on the river and we had a good turn out. I did discover that RSVPs are fairly worthless, because plenty of people who didn't RSVP came and quite a few who did never showed; it didn't bother me and didn't even occur to me until sometime yesterday - I just thought it was funny.

Since we got the Crescent Ballroom at the Double Tree Hotel New Orleans at no charge, all the food at cost, and a great discount on both bands the most money my parents have spent on the whole affair has been on the photographs and wedding albums. I think Michael Caswell does good work and he also seems like a really nice guy, but most of all his prices were the most reasonable of the New Orleans-area photographers I looked into and my parents still spent more than two thousand dollars on the package we chose.

We received many generous and thoughtful gifts from all our friends and family, but the most beautiful gift was from Mischa and Cat! When I take a picture of it, I'll edit this entry and post it here.

I spent the day helping my dad prime the "master" bedroom of the little house; [profile] triple_phoenix helped, too. Tomorow I get to go back to help paint! :O Sometime today or yesterday all the plumbing in the house went out because the previous plumber did a shoddy job, so now it's going to cost around five thousand dollars to repair.

The good news is that our house is legally ours and we can now work on trying to sell it, then we can take out a new home loan and use the money from selling our house for our down payment and for any renovations which will need to be done, not to mention furniture. Our apartment is nice enough, but it will never feel like home because it belongs to someone else and I just hate that. Our lease doesn't expire until July, but I'm already beginning to look for houses again to get a good feel for what's available right now as opposed to what was available last year, when we first got back to the city. We're not opposed to having to work on the house we buy, because it seems like much of what's available in our price range has some storm damage - either a flooded downstairs or some wind damage. Sometimes it is very tempting to start looking for homes and jobs out-of-state, but we're too committed now to leave so soon after The Storm.
enduringplum: (Sienna)
( Aug. 28th, 2006 09:31 pm)

I've felt like crying all day, which I'm sure has been a common feeling in New Orleans all week; tomorrow is the anniversary of hurricane Katrina and I'm feeling it acutely. 

A year ago tomorrow our lives were changed irrevocably. My boyfriend and I lost all our material possessions and our community, but at least none of our friends or family died due to The Storm. Still, things are hard, but through my depression and anxiety I am still optimistic that things will get better. . . eventually.

I just hope that, like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, we are not forgotten. More lives might have been lost in those attacks, but just as many lives have been deeply scarred by hurricane Katrina. It also disturbs me that the clean up of New Orleans is being criticized as too slow, but the clean up of the World Trade Center was an unbelievably slow process and of a much smaller space; that was just a few city blocks, but Katrina devastated an entire city and the surrounding metropolitan areas.

Every time a new tropical disturbance develops, I get nervous, and I'm horribly nervous about leaving the area for any reason; the last time I did, when I got back absolutely nothing of my previous life was the same.

The president is staying in the hotel across the street from the Doubletree Hotel New Orleans, which is where my dad works and my parents live part-time (they move between it and their FEMA trailer). I wish I could just run across the street and casually tell him to go fuck himself, but I would never manage it; after all, that kind of behavior just isn't becoming of a southern woman.

enduringplum: (Mizumi Red)
( Aug. 24th, 2006 12:37 am)
"Hello All,
Have you wondered just what all is being done to commemorate the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent flooding of New Orleans?  I have.  I've found all sorts of listing for marches and candlelight vigils and prayer circles and demonstrations and all sorts of things happening here in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes.  Well, our fearless leaders have done a pretty good job of ignoring and turning a blind eye to our plight after making upteen empty promises throughout the past year.  I have a hard time believing they'll be paying attention to our breaking hearts as we come together to mourn this coming weekend.

So - as an effort to bring a few helpful reminders to their doorstep, I'm taking part in "Watering the Bushes".  The idea and execution are pretty simple. Mail a bottle of water to the White House with the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center as the return address.   Surely you've been inundated with the facts about how long people waited for rescue - supposedly unbeknownst to Michael Brown - at the Convention Center.  First hand accounts tell us that they were without water and food for days.  Spike Lee's documentary "When the Levees Broke" has excellent footage.  I highly recommend seeing it if/when you can.  Anyway, if nothing else, at least the White House will have supplies ready for the next disaster to befall American citizens.  You'll know you've made a direct contribution to emergency relief efforts, whatever they may be.  And if they are all returned - at least the Convention Center will have water!

No American citizen deserves what has befallen the hundreds of thousands of residents of the Gulf Coast.  Insurance refuses to pay, the SBA makes incorrect calculations and the rescinds its offer - and demands the money back weeks or even months later - after a person has used the money to start paying for repairs, FEMA refuses to pay, and everything has to be fought for.  Hardly anyone was planning to remodel their home last September.  Who has the ability, right this moment, to rebuild your entire home?  My neighbors are fiercely proud people.  No one wants to ask for charity - just a little help and understanding.  My drive to work takes me through the Gentilly neighborhood.  I see so many houses in various states of repair.  So many look like repairs were started and had to be abandoned.  Did the money run out?  I'll never know.  All I know is that an American city is dying.  And I'm realizing, this isn't the first, nor will it be the last, time our current administration has better things to spend its time and money on.

Pass it on friends. 

Here are the addresses:

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Boulevard
New Orleans
, LA 70130"

enduringplum: (Lantern Light)
( Jul. 1st, 2006 08:52 pm)
The first thing I have to report is that Nacho Libre was hysterical; I feel it combined the delightful absurdity of This is Spinal Tap with the comedy of Death to Smoochie, plus much of the music was done by Danny Elfman. The movie's setting alone was cool enough for me to recommend it: it was shot entirely in Mexico and much of it in historic Oaxaca.

I cannot endure another day without Taco Bell and since I'll have to go out to Harahan for the Bell anyway, I might as well swing by the theatre to see Nacho Libre

Last night when I told Allen* I'd be seeing it with [profile] triple_phoenix he was relieved; he said he'd almost given in to my begging him to see it with me. :(   I don't get him— I thought everyone loved Jack Black! Honestly, I think he's the funniest thing on God's green earth next to Pootie Tang.

Sometime today I'm supposed to see the house I may be moving into with [profile] triple_phoenix and a couple other friends. With five people living there, it may be a little crowded, but having a real bedroom and a real kitchen and a real bathroom will be a huge improvement over the Polly Pocket sized amenities with which I've been living for the last few months; trailer life is not the life for me. 

If we do all move in together the number of pets on the property will be a little daunting (mainly because of me, I must admit), but well under the legal limit! :P I'll be bringing my dog, four cats, and three ferrets; Allen will be bringing his cat, Sterling; [profile] triple_phoenix will be bringing her cat Lily and her bunny; and one of the other roommates will be bringing two dogs, although those will only be staying with us until September, when their owner is supposed to come back to New Orleans. The ferrets will have to continue to live outside and the bunny will have to join them, otherwise I think it would be impossible for the house to avoid smelling like a pet store; it'll be bad enough having three indoor-only cats, but Sunny, Sayuri, and Lily just can't go outside.

It bothers me to look at my Photobucket album because it reminds me that before Hurricane Katrina we had a life! We had a house, garden, pets, things we loved, and a normal routine that was all our own. We went to the grocery store, had friends over, and cooked dinner all according to our own way of doing things. We didn't have to live our life according to what time the FEMA inspector was coming over or what time we had to meet the contractors at our flooded out house! I could fold laundry, sweep and mop, and water the plants when it was best for me. I never worried about where I would do my laundry or if I should just cough up the money to have it done at Soap Opera; I never worried about who would be folding my panties before Hurricane Katrina. So, thanks a lot global warming; thanks a lot Bush administration.


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