Saturday, February 04, 2006

Toulouse Street

You know you're from New Orleans if the first thing you think about is the party.

Imagine this: your wife has bought a house that you've never seen, not so much as the tiny little on-line pictures the real estate agents have. You're not even sure how many rooms there are, or exactly what it looks like beyond the archetype of Craftsman double bungalow burned into your memory.

The loan isn't closed and the insurance isn't written. The inspection isn't until next week, and you, the "man of the house" will not be there with a flashlight taping on walls and flushing toilets and asking a hundred knowing questions, in the same impressive fashion one peers under the hood of a modern emission controlled car while waiting for the tow truck.

There's no phone or cable service in this part of town, and no ETA. No internet and no cable. Suddenly, you remember that book they made you read in eight grade. What was it called? The Lord of the Flies? You eye your son in the next room watching Cartoon Friday, and imagine him and his sister dressed in rags, a vacant look in their eyes, hefting pointy fire blackened sticks.

You're buying a house you can walk two blocks from and peer down Marconi and see the pumping station at the head of the Orleans Canal, and easily imagine Lakeview just over the tracks, and Lake Pontchartrain at the end of that canal, slopping like a drunk with a bowl full of soup right toward your lap.

And the first thing you think is, what am I going to call the party?

Because the house, you see, is on Toulouse just off Olympia, up smack against the Bud's Broiler railroad tracks. It's a whopping two blocks from the site of Samedi Gras, that huge celebration of the start of the Endymion parade. As if moving back to New Orleans weren't stressful enough. A party. I'm going to have to through a huge ass party. Every year for the rest of my life.

But first I have to sell the house I have, throw out or pack up an immense mound of stuff, and get the boat I usually tow all of forty miles to the lake ready to drag 1,200 miles to its new berth. To sell the house, I have to fix a half dozen windows, two bathroom floors, and clean out a garage and closets. You know about closets, don't you; those little rooms people in other places have to store all sorts of stuff? A lot of that has got to go.

And don't forget, your wife needs to find someone to cut a door to make the double a single, build a wall in one of the walk throughs to make another bedroom, convince the assessor this double really is a single, and figure out how to get a reliable high speed internet connection, essential to bringing my job home with me.

While at the same time I figure out what to do with the kids: can I get my kids into Franklin and Lusher, or will I get whacked by the note on a dry house plus parochial school tuition? What will the kids do this summer? Where can they go swimming? Will they make friends quickly?

Even as I wonder about living on the edge of a no man's land that was Lakeview, Mid-City reverted back into the back of town, knowing I'm hedged by levees the Corps of Engineers promise they'll have up to spec by June 1, and they're almost 16% done. You do that math, and you can probably get a job as an engineer with the Corps, or perhaps even an appointment to the Levee Board.

Yeah, that's a lot to think about. Even more to do.

What I have to do is to emulate my highly organized wife, the woman of the many lists. Forget the Big Worries, the ones you can't do anything about. They just make you crazy. You take the rest, and you make a list and prioritize it. It beats figuring out which of my daughter's dainties can go in the dryer, or trying to decide what I should ask for the house in Fargo.

Organize. Prioritize. I can do that.

I'm thinking The Begindymion Bacchanal, but I'm open to suggestions.


Hearty congratulations on finding the house. It sounds delightful and I am quite sure it will all get done and work out for the best (although I don't know about the luck/mojo that comes from asking where your D might be "swimming" in NOLA this coming summer/hurricane season --- YIKES!).

It sounds like your DW has a good system. I think sometimes when we have too much to do, that looking too far into the future makes us nauseous, sort of like motion sickness and that if we can focus on the things that are close at hand, that need to be done first, the baby steps, that it becomes easier to keep our bearing and take one step at a time.

It's all very exciting, Markus. I'm really happy for you (and perhaps a bit jealous).
Endy is taking the uptown route this year.

Last time they took that route, I was riding and our hitch had to be re-welded right as we were leaving the port and we ended up last in the dome at midnight.
Yeah, but we don't close until 3/2. So, starting *next* year. I can't start until next year anyway
You should be able to get COX
high speed internet in that area
by now..
Bellsouth says no phone lines
until around May or June..
but they have some sort of
wireless high speed (NOT WIFI)
available for businesses in the
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