Release Them

I read an article by one of The Times-Picayune’s columnists last week, and it echoed how I feel. An elderly woman who lost everything to Katrina was talking about all of the things that she lost and misses. She said that every time she thought of more things, she would tell herself, “Release them. They’re gone.” That’s how I feel. I miss my stuff. I know that people are right when they tell me to look on the bright side—at least I have my health, my family, my job. And they're right, and I am incredibly grateful. But, at the risk of sounding selfish, sometimes I just want my stuff. I don’t care about the material stuff--furniture, cars, etc. But the sentimental stuff--I want it back.

My heart hurts over Emmeline’s belongings in particular. I think of all of the hours I spent while pregnant--washing and folding tiny baby clothes, decorating, dreaming. And looking forward to the rapidly approaching day when a baby—our baby—would arrive. I was so pleased with how her room turned out—the soft, mossy green color of the furniture, the big cushy rocking chair that my mother had turned over to me, a remnant of my own childhood. The monogrammed blanket. The silver rattle from Mexico. Now everything in the room is covered in mold and rats have taken up residence in E’s crib. Release them, they're gone.


I'll Take the Stairs

They don’t call it the School of Public Health for nothing. Got into work this morning and the one elevator was out. I thought about going home but then decided to hike up the 18 flights. And then, after being in my office for about 30 minutes, the fire alarm went off. We tromped back down 18 flights of steps, me in my high­-heeled boots, only to be told when we got to the bottom that it was a false alarm and we could go back up again. I heard later that rain had leaked into the elevator shafts, causing a fire that put the one working elevator out of commission. So we walked up and down steps all day. Need to go to the dean’s office? A relatively short walk up of only six flights. Going down to the parking garage for a cigarette? That’s 22 flights round trip. By the end of the day, I’d walked up and down a combined total of 112 flights. No wonder I’m tired.


Why I Should Invest in Cabinet Locks*

*Before you place that call to Family and Children's Services, I was with her the entire time she was exploring.


A Thousand Little Deaths

As I told Kenny last night, post-Katrina life feels like a thousand little deaths. The death of life in New Orleans as we knew it. The death of our home. The death of our former city, Bay St. Louis. It was painful going over there yesterday. Everything is gone. The homes of my parents and his mother—still standing, but nothing left to salvage but mud. His grandmother and sister’s homes are completely gone—wiped away by storm surge. The bar where we met? Gone. The house where we lived? Gone. Nick's church and the rectory where he and Mom lived? Gone. The building that I worked in? Still standing, but not looking good. No more Dan B’s. No more Fire Dog. No more municipal pier. No more Peterman’s Grocery. Everything’s gone, reduced to splinters or slabs.


Delivery Declined

It seems that some people really don’t have a clue that Katrina even happened. I ordered some books from Amazon recently, assuming that they used UPS or a similar service for deliveries. (Almost six months after Katrina, we’re still not allowed to receive packages, magazines or catalogues through the U.S. mail.)

Anyway—about two weeks after I ordered the books from Amazon, I’m wondering where in the hell they are. I called Amazon and was informed that the books had been refused upon delivery and that my account had been credited. I told them I didn’t refuse the books—who, exactly, did? That’s when the customer service rep told me that someone at my office named Katrina had refused delivery. Um, do you mean Hurricane Katrina? Oh yes, she chirpily replied, that must be it.

So in case you were wondering, Amazon uses the U.S. Postal Service to deliver books, and they promptly refused my order. I wonder how much longer we'll have to go before they allow us to have packages or magazines again?


Sweet Baby Girl

This picture just makes my heart melt.