We had squatters in our house. That seems like such a bizarre thing to say in the 21st century, but it's true--someone was living in our flooded-out house while we've been in the process of renovating it. When I told my sister about it, her response was "What's a squatter?" Oh, to live in a place that didn't recently suffer a major disaster.

Kenny discovered this fact about three weeks ago when he went over to see the progress the contractors have made--we currently have no walls, as they recently ripped out all of the moldy sheet rock. When Kenny walked into the house that Saturday afternoon, he found two sleeping bags on the concrete slab in our living room, another couple of sleeping bags in the back den, and various groceries in what remains of the kitchen. After my initial shock at the thought of someone living in our house, albeit a house that's nothing more than a shell, I thought, "what the hell--let them live there until we're ready to start putting in new flooring and walls." The water has remained turned on for the past year and a half, just because it seemed easier to leave it on and pay the minimal monthly fee, so our uninvited guests had been reasonably good about cleaning up after themselves. And as long as they didn't hurt the house, what harm was there? Stupid, I suppose, but I think both Kenny and I were kinda hoping they might just burn the place down or something, as we've been a bit ambivalent about rebuilding.

Well, our guests are gone now. Kenny went back over there last week and discovered that they've been urinating on the floor and aren't keeping the place quite as sunshiney fresh as you would want uninvited house guests to do, so I called the police. Not surprisingly, nothing is easy when it comes to post-K life. Did you know that you can't just call the police and inform them of squatters over the phone? You have to go to your property, then call 911, then wait for the police to arrive so that you can fill out a report. Since I didn't want to go over there with Emmeline and wait for the police to arrive, Kenny went over there two nights ago. Of course, when he drove up in the driveway, whoever was in the house realized someone was there and they were long gone before the police arrived. We hoped that would be the end of it and that they'd realize it was time to move on--we didn't want to cause them any trouble--we just wanted them out of our house.

The contractor called today to say that our guests were back and to ask our permission to screw all of the windows shut, which we gave. We went over there tonight, and guess what? Our "house guests" stole the few salvageable items we had left at the house. Kenny's bike, the remaining tools that hadn't been stolen right after Katrina, our stereo, and a table that had originally belonged to Kenny's great grandmother. Do you ever feel like you're taking one step forward followed by two steps back?

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