Saturday, October 21, 2017

have I mentioned how busy I am?

I should be writing a reply email to a man I have known for 50 years. I'm not, obviously, but I will. I'm sort of amazed that he has kept up with me all this time since he moved to Iowa and married only a few years after we met. We have had periods of time where we communicated fairly regularly to times when we communicated not at all. He was an object of romantic desire early on but that didn't pan out and yet he has not let me slip away into the past. I'm not really sure I understand why so I just accept this gift of connection and friendship. He's an interesting guy and a great story teller, a romantic whose greatest desire is to become a published writer. He visited us out here a year or so ago when he was closing up his deceased parents estate in the city and gave us an open invitation to join him and his other in Wisconsin where he now lives if we ever need a safe place. There's some real past life stuff going on here. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Onward into the now, the second set of three drowned feathers came out much better. Well, not better in how they cast but in how they look. I used brown and gray powders in the feathers before the white and it muted the white nicely. Need to use more powder though. Learning process and all. I think these three are my favorite and I think the rock will be the best, partly because it's so dimensional.

Next up is one of the 10” x 10”s. I've never done a piece quite this big. My mind is telling me to work out the colors for the big drowned feathers and order my glass or to start on the basic cold work for the six small ones today when my desire is to just continue for the next two days and get the rest of that part of the shop cleaned and hosed.


after (you can't really see how clean it is but trust me, compared to before, it's sparkling):


Thursday, October 19, 2017

work of one kind or another for the foreseeable future

The last three small drowned feathers are in the kiln. The first three came out well though I think the white sand on one of them was a mistake as well as that pale gray for two of the rocks and for some reason I was way off on the volume measure for another one and it's not thick enough to suit me (will probably re-fire that one) and the quills are way too prominent, may have to grind those down some. 

And at first glance, I'm not wowed. The white feathers are so 'white' and dense and 'flat' that it's hard to see the detail I think. May have to reconsider my approach though I'll withhold judgement til I get the finish work done. We'll see how the next three come out. If nothing else, they're good studies for the four large panels and Marc got one of those molds done today. I have six weeks left before the first weekend open house so I think I'm going to try and get the flower/bee piece model finished and cast that I had just started on before Harvey and the ensuing upheaval hahahahahahaha, I'm such a kidder.

Since I finished those molds on Tuesday I worked outside Wednesday moving and consolidating the pile of leftover lumber from fixing the structure of the house. Some of it will be used over at the shop whenever Rocky wends his way back here but I wanted it off the grass which has not fared well under all those building materials. Then I trimmed around the raised garden beds which was in desperate need and started around the bunker when the last of the trimmer string shot out, about 18”. This trimmer has issues and I don't have enough electric cords to reach everywhere anyway so I went to look at gas powered trimmers. The lightest one was just under 10 pounds. I didn't buy it then but I think I'm going to go back before the week is out and get it.

So then I spent some time in the shop moving more stuff around and setting up my cold work station and went and got some big plastic containers to hold the pool whose boxes got turned to mush when the shop flooded. So the pool and it's cover have been sitting there for 6 weeks untouched. Oh ick. Smelly and slimy, I had to unfold both items and spread them out and hose them down. Still need to wipe them down both sides and let them dry before I can fold them back up.

Today I worked over at the shop again. During the demolition stage I had Rocky tear out the four built in rooms in the shop. I had them tear it out down to the framing because one, it was old and nasty and two, we needed to see how much rotten wood there was before we could rebuild. 

The guys did a pretty good job cleaning up after themselves considering the amount of debris they were dealing with. I filled two large bags with as much debris of small sheetrock bits, insulation, rust, and just plain dirt as I could lift and then I used the shop vac. Next was nail pulling and hosing down and vac-ing up the water off the concrete floor. Tomorrow I'll start on the next room...getting up the last bits of sheetrock and insulation, nail pulling, vac-ing, and hosing down the concrete floor. That's about all the time I can spare for that right now since I need to get back to working on the cast glass and I need to order some frit in order to do that.

These days it's just whatever is demanding the most attention every morning is what gets done cause it all needs to get done.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

another day pretty much like the previous days

I've been filling molds. Three down and in the kiln, one done and two to go. I walked the perimeter of the house fluffing up the poor crushed ferns and picking up all the trash and debris left behind after Rocky and Manuel finished the exterior of the house on Thursday. It wasn't that much really, just bits and pieces of tar paper and old siding and some metal and the occasional nail, because they did a good job cleaning up after themselves. Next project is to knock out the brick planters, sheetrock the ceiling, and put up the birch bead board paneling in my studio room. He may not start on that til next week which is fine as it gives me time to finish these molds and put away my stuff. I'll have to move back out of the room while they're working on it.

Friday I went back to the Civic Center with my list of questions to meet with Katie the FEMA agent again. The rejection letter was issued on the 7th, she says, and new supporting documents were shuttled to my file on the 11th thus opening an appeal to my application and now I have to wait til the case agent reviews my file again. In the meantime maybe more of the supporting documents will make it into my file. Apparently, the agents in the field fax all the documents at the end of the day to central command but it may take a week or longer for them to migrate into the pertinent file. Be patient, she says, it will be resolved in your favor. OK, but I'm losing faith I told her. So I guess I'll not bother them again til at least next Monday.

Another puppy hanging around Sunday. 

Waited too late in the day to take a picture and contact SPOT. By the time they got back to me willing to take the pup, it was nowhere to be found.

Beautiful weather today though. Another cool front blew in and this one is supposed to last more than two days. Perfect for working outside but my priority is to get these last three now two molds filled.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

my refusal to conform has come back to bite me in the ass

FEMA inspection was a week ago and no money in the bank. Went back to the Civic Center again, signed in, and sat across from another FEMA agent who told me that my claim had been rejected because they could not authenticate my identity.

I'm sorry, what?

They just mailed the letter today, shall I print it out for you?

Yes, fume fume fume.

The letter says that to authenticate my identity I must do one of the following:

Except that I've already given them that first dot and more. Well, the SS card was just the receipt in my name for ordering a new card. This agent didn't seem inclined to do anything besides give me the letter and send me on my way even though she saw all the documents I had already provided. So I fumed out and went back to the house to get my actual SS card, which fortunately had arrived in the mail a few days previous, and my birth certificate and last year's property tax statement and last years tax return and my marriage certificate though I was loathe to use my marriage certificate because, wouldn't you know, it has another completely different name on it. This isn't my first marriage and back when I divorced the guy after 3 1/2 years I didn't think to change my name back in the divorce decree. So my current marriage certificate says Ellen Abbott (name of the rat bastard). Because it's not already complicated enough.

Back at the Civic Center in front of another agent. He's pulled up my file, he sees all the documents and statements already submitted, he doesn't understand why they are being so stubborn. He takes my Official ID card (DL) and my SS card and my birth certificate, my property tax statement, a house document that shows us as the buyers and makes copies and adds them to the stack of documents to be faxed to FEMA central. He will make sure the documents get faxed, he will confer with the wonderful Katie tomorrow, who is the most knowledgeable and connected and has the day off today, and send an email to ? someone to see about resolving this situation and he says he will call me tomorrow with an update. In the meantime, he suggested getting my DL name changed over to match my SS card (don't want to do that) and he sent me over to the legal aid table. So I'm going to be appointed a pro bono lawyer to see what advice and/or help they can provide towards getting this straightened out.  But I'm wondering if maybe they are never going to accept it, so many disasters happening at one time, stretched, who can we kick off this runaway train kind of thing and time is running out for people to be able to apply.  Perhaps it might be better, easier to just withdraw my application and have Marc apply.

So, of course because the day wasn't going badly enough already...I stormed out of there after my first visit this morning. Got in the car and zoomed off about two blocks to the stop sign and zoomed off from the stop sign about 2 or 3 blocks when I got behind someone going soooo slow, fuming in the car when I finally looked in my rear view mirror to see those red and blue lights. Well, fuck. Apparently I zoomed right past that cop car.

I'm fishing out my insurance card and DL and tap tap tap on the window and the conversation that followed went something like this...

yes yes as I roll down the window

How are you today, ma'am, he asks me.

Not that great, it's been rather frustrating.

Why is that?

FEMA is refusing to accept that I am who I say I am even though I have submitted several documents and now I have to get more.

What seems to be the problem?

It involves this name and that name and this other name and how I use them and that's the short version of a very long story.

He wanted to know if that's where I was going and where I had met with FEMA and...

Do you know why I stopped you today? he asked.

Yes, hanging my head in shame, I was speeding. I'm sorry.

You passed me going 45 in a 35.

Yes, sorry, I know.

Well, he says, standing there holding my ID and insurance certificate looking down the road, you go on but don't speed. We want you to get there and not cause any accidents. Hands me my stuff and says again, don't speed.

No sir, I won't, I know, I'm sorry.

And he lets me go.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

finally fall, for a few days anyway

Tuesday (with edits)...There's a cool front blowing in and it's raining leaves. I had just swept the concrete apron of the driveway clear of leaves a week ago and already yesterday it was nearly covered again. Even though the days are still humid and climbing into the low 90s, the trees know when to shed their tired dingy leaves. The oaks and the maple and the crepe myrtles and the tallows have been dropping their brown and dried up finery for weeks. Now this cool dry air blowing in will encourage them to release more. The oaks are starting to drop acorns as well and the pecans, well, the pecans have been dropping in their husks for months. Though I have been picking up nuts free of their husks for about a week they are as dried up inside as the leaves falling on the ground. I doubt we'll get many good ones this year.

While the new color samples will come out of the kiln later today and I will be filling the ready molds this week, today I am going to take advantage of this cool weather blowing in to dig out all the nut grass from one of the raised beds (done!) and repair the weed cloth between the beds where the flood lifted it up and moved it around (not done), something I've been putting off because it has been so hot and humid. Not that that has kept me from working outside during this weather but I do try to work in the shade. No shade over there where the gardens are.

Rocky is still getting the hardy board up around the outside of the house. He could finish today but probably won't. He's got his crew split up working on at least one other house and maybe another (as it was, he didn't show up, had been sick all weekend and was feeling pretty terrible when he worked on Monday). My poor ginger and ferns and mock dogwood and hummingbird bush are taking a beating growing right next to the house as they are. I had to move one small azalea before he trampled it to death. It seems to be recovering in it's new location.

Today...It's so nice and cool outside, a relief from the oppressive heat and humidity of this long summer. We even pulled up the quilt and slept under it last night. I turned off the AC and opened some windows and doors yesterday and didn't even break a sweat clearing out the nut grass in the garden in which I have several volunteer tomatoes that are blooming!

Well the samples came out and I numbered them and cleaned them up and I'm pretty pleased with them. Have one more combination I want to try when the first three drowned feather molds go in the kiln later this week.

So yesterday I had just enough time to get to the library and was ready to head out the door when I couldn't find my phone. Well, poop. I put it down somewhere. “Call me” I told Marc. Silence. Hmm, it's not in the house. Walked over to the shop where I had been working earlier. Not there either. It doesn't sit very deep in the rear pocket of the shorts I had been wearing so I looked around outside trying to remember where all I had been in the yard or on the street or around the shop. Still no phone. Finally I remembered that I had been playing chase with Minnie, who was loving the cool and not humid air and was feeling very energetic all day, at the back edge of the property beyond the mini wildflower meadow (which is now just a big weedy spot) and the compost pile and there it was, laying on the ground.

Monday, October 9, 2017

more of the same

I have sort of reclaimed my studio in the house. After taking down all the old paneling and associated pieces around the doors and windows, removed all the exposed insulation, pulled all the nails, and cleaned up after myself, I have reclaimed my studio even if temporarily. I've set up my desk in a different configuration mainly because this whole situation is different and I have an auxiliary work table, also temporary since it belongs to my sister and because I need to be able to break it all down quickly when work begins in here, and moved my computer off the dining room table and back here. I'm sort of enjoying this stripped down version of my space, all the furniture that I had to make work gone, all the other stuff that I had refused to deal with for years taking up space, gone with no guilt (although plenty of that stuff is in boxes somewhere). Now I get to think how I want to make this space work best and then add in whatever furniture is needed to make that happen.

I set up 8 more color samples yesterday, all for sand. 

They're all combined colors ranging from 4 - 8 different colors and transparencies each. I've always worked with transparent colors, my objection being that opaque colors are so flat, they have no depth, and they don't really portray the reality of, well, reality hence my combining similar but different colors and different transparencies just to get something that looks like sand. We'll see. In the meantime I'm cleaning up the four molds I have ready and measuring them so I'll know how much weight of glass it takes to fill each one.

I worked out in the yard some, more cleaning up and digging up trees...pecans and hackberries mostly...pulling up tens of little yew trees and grassy weeds and the black and blue salvia which is proving to be greedy. Still finding things that didn't make it like the purple verbena. Some things are coming back like the gerber daisies and the four o'clocks, a few of the rock rose survived but you know what liked the flood? The day lilies. They haven't looked this full and lush in years. Guess I'm not watering them enough.

Friday, October 6, 2017

finally FEMA and work of one kind and another

The samples are out of the kiln, two molds are made, and Tuesday I visited FEMA to make sure that they were satisfied that I am who I say I am, and started back on demolition.

The paneling in my studio room will have to be replaced because it is so old they don't sell it anymore besides the fact that it's really ugly. 

During the initial demolition, only about 4' up was removed, enough to expose the wood so it could dry but I learned Tuesday that the county in my precinct will stop picking up flood damage and construction debris after October 26th. Hence the continued demolition. I've just about got all the paneling down. Most of it was easy enough except for two sections that I almost had to chew off and the way they encased the windows has me scratching my head. But the good news is that after consulting Rocky about the rest of the sheetrock in the back bedroom, I don't need to tear it all out up to the ceiling after all. I wanted to replace the old blown-in insulation but he said that he wouldn't, it wasn't wet, was still good so just leave it be. The repair work on the structure is done and Rocky is replacing the old siding shingles, which were brittle with age and nearly impossible to get off without breaking, with hardy board. Then we start on the inside.

The FEMA inspector finally came out yesterday morning. She took pictures, took pictures of some of my pictures, measured all the rooms and the water mark, wrote stuff down while I recited what all had been in those rooms and was lost. Now we wait and see how much money turns up in our bank account.

Later, I went to the Social Security web site to check on something and I noticed that instead of my account being listed as Ellen A Leva, it now reflects the new Social Security card with all four names and has me listed as Edith E Leva. Thanks FEMA.

After the FEMA inspector came out yesterday I engraved a number on each of the 44 color samples and added their formulas to my list of samples made which now numbers 143. That may seem like a lot but it's not really. Then I set up my little flat lap in the shop and ground the points off the edges. The first two rows are a transparent color over an opaque color. The bottom two rows are a transparent color mixed with an opaque color. These are for the rocks and sand for the drowned feathers. Not too many for the sand. May have to do more.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

this is who we are

So. Once again, for the 273rd time in 275 days in this year alone, (383 in 2016), the nature of this society called America has shown itself in spades. And it ain't pretty. But apparently no massacre is bad enough to do something about the gun violence in this country. No group of victims is too heinous to do something about the gun violence in this country. No, anything besides unfettered access to whatever and however many guns a person can have, no matter their criminal or mental or social dis-functions, is unAmerican.

Captured from FB

Hard to argue with that.

I also read an article from the Atlantic about the dark truth of this society...

No other society allows the massacres to keep happening. Everyone around the world knows this about the United States. It is the worst aspect of the American national identity.”

As long as it's white male 'lone wolfs' whatever they do is tolerable.

The other truth is that this is who we are and we know it. We know this will continue, and it will, because we do nothing to change it

No other nation that is not ruled by anarchy allows this to happen.

The 273rd mass murder, defined as four or more casualties, and the worst to date in terms of casualties inflicted, in 275 days. That's almost one a day. One mass murder a day not counting just the one or two killed. The thousands of women killed every year not by an unbalanced individual but by someone they know and possibly love. The hundreds of children killed every year, now the third leading cause of death. The thousands of people shot because someone was enraged and had a gun. The thousands of suicides every year.  Some statistics here from Newsweek.

And because the body counts aren't high enough, Congress, the lap dog of the NRA and gun lobby, wants to throw silencers into the mix.

Monday, October 2, 2017

weekend chores

It's been pretty busy around here the last few days. Friday, I got my spinach, lettuce, and beet seeds planted, finished cleaning and drying the last of the few bottles of frit that got damp, and worked on organizing the shop, cleaned and moved stuff and made some space so we can work in there.

Saturday Grandgirl Autumn was spending the weekend at home and she and her boyfriend came out to visit. I moved more stuff around in the shop, made a new template and cut out more forms for the color samples, and finally hosed down and brushed and wet vac-ed up the dirty water from the floor of the room that has been my in-house studio. I had hosed it down before the tiles were scraped up but not since. It looks so much better and no longer has the ick factor when I walk on it barefoot. I've set up a small table in there so I can get some work done and it's where I'm working on the color samples for the drowned feathers but it's too small. I think I'm going to set my desk up this week.

you can see the path I made to the door with the mats

Sunday, I dug up all the wild blackberry vines that had sprouted since the last time I dug them all up, repotted a pot bound plant into a bigger but not big enough pot, worked on cleaning and putting away the things still left on the driveway...the paddles, a baseball bat, a small cooler, a pair of swim fins, the thing that holds my 3' wide paper, a couple of plant stands, a box of seashells and assorted other items, a couple of plastic bins, a mop, an extension cord, stuff like that and I finished setting up my samples and they are ready to fire which probably won't get done til late today. Maybe.

Today we have to drive to the city. And Tuesday I'll be back at the Civic Center to find out if I've been 'verified' yet.

Friday, September 29, 2017

no, really, it is me

I've spent the last two days mostly dealing with FEMA, all of whose personnel I will say have been very pleasant and helpful. Last Wednesday it was two weeks since I went to the Civic Center and checked on my application when they told me an inspector had been appointed and would call within a week to set up an appointment for the inspection. So I went back last Wednesday since it had been two weeks and no call to learn that they couldn't verify my identity and so no progress had been made and they sent me to another table where I was told that specifically, they couldn't verify my ownership of the property. The name on the title besides Marc's is 'Ellen Abbott', my most common use of my name and signature. My application to FEMA is in the name 'Edith Leva', 'Edith' being my first name that I have never in my life used or been addressed as except by teachers on the first day of school that didn't know me and assumed every kid was called by their first name. 'Leva' is my married name and although that is the one on my driver's license and SS card and is my legal last name, it's one I only use under certain circumstances. So legally, my first name is Edith and my last name is Leva and that is how the application to FEMA was made out even though I told the agent on the phone who was helping me, that I didn't use it. No matter. That was the one they wanted. I suppose I could have just reversed it like I often do on forms, or depending on the form, drop it altogether using Abbott as the middle name or initial but this was an agency I wanted money from, hence...Edith Leva.

So, after I explained all this, Katie, the very nice and helpful agent on the other side of the table, said, “no problem, this can be easily fixed”. Did I have my SS card? No, lost long ago. I have utility bills in my name. I have my driver's license. I'm on SS. Did I have a payment stub? No, direct deposit. Property tax bill? In my husband's name 'and wife'. No legal document with the name Edith on it? Nope. “Well”, she says, “the best thing is to get a replacement SS card, they won't charge you a fee if you lost it in a disaster, and they will give you a receipt and we can use that. What we can do now is have you write a statement explaining the name thing and signing it with picture ID, but really best is to get another SS card.”

On the way home, I remembered my tax return which I still file in my maiden name so Thursday morning I went back with last year's copy and this time sat across from Sue, also nice and helpful, who copied that and added it to my file to be faxed to the central command, and who also urged me to get a new SS card. So I left there and drove the hour to Victoria, waited until my number was called, and requested a new card to replace the one I lost back in my 20s when my house flooded and “please make sure all four of my names are on it”, and drove the hour back to Wharton and back to the Civic Center and back across the table from Katie again.

So I was here yesterday”, I started. “I remember”, she says, “the name thing.” “Well, I drove to Victoria and back today and here is the receipt for a new card with all four of my names on it”. “Perfect”, she says.

So now I am waiting to have my identity verified and a call from the inspector...again.

Since they didn't bother to inform me that there had been a problem the first time, I plan on going back early next week just to make sure.

Any questions?”, she asked as we were about done. “How difficult would it be to change the application from my name to my husband's name, you know, just in case?”


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

work commences

Finally sat down yesterday and made a list of 'formulas' for my color samples for the drowned feathers and rocks and just now realized I didn't do any for the sand. I have 24 opportunities, which I thought would be plenty, and quickly realized that wasn't enough. I could cut out more fiber blanket forms but I don't know where my template is or if I even kept it. I think I did. I'm pretty sure I did but what box it is in I have no idea. I haven't found it in the places I thought it might be. I could make a new template but all the cardboard from which I make such things drowned in the flood. So I guess I'm going to have to reconsider some of my formulas.

Work on the house commenced Monday and continued yesterday. Poor Rocky. He's got too much work and he's doing his best to get them all moving forward. I understand. I understand because I have been in that situation. Not fun. Makes you not want to answer the phone. He's been here with a helper he is training the past two days. Rocky's a good man. I haven't heard him raise his voice once with his helper, just explaining what he wants.

that's Rocky on the ground, he's spent most of the last two days under the house replacing the seals and floor joists

The other thing I did yesterday was finally take the long handled nippers and the stump killer and cut down and treat the stumps of all the trees growing along the fence line in front of the shop yard on the ditch side just on one side of the driveway. Minimum 15 trees...hackberries, pecans, and a tallow. Mostly hackberries. I avoided the poison ivy which has taken hold in the ditch and on the fence as best I could, used gojo hand cleaner with cold water, then soap with cold water and I hope like hell I don't get a rash. I still have to do the fence on the other ditch side of the driveway and the shop side of both sides of the driveway but I need more stump killer. Maintaining that ditch would not be such a chore or downright impossible if it wasn't so deep and so steep and now still lots of debris from the flood.

just some of the trees

FEMA has not called. It's been two weeks since I went to the convention center and conferred with the representatives there and they told me my inspector would call within one week to set up an appointment so I guess I'll be back today to find out what's going on. Several of my neighbors have already gotten their grants. Paltry amounts, really, considering how much damage but none of us had flood insurance and while technically we are in the 1,000 year flood plain and no one living here can remember when or if it ever flooded, that makes a big difference with FEMA. Have flood insurance? You get the big bucks. Don't have flood insurance because no one ever thought it would flood here? Too fucking bad. The two awards given people that I know of whose whole house flooded got $13,000 and $12,000.  And if you don't have flood insurance and you get money from FEMA and then don't get flood insurance, if it happens again, they won't help you.  

And Trump is basically telling the Puerto Ricans 'fuck you' cause you aren't real Americans and there's a big ocean and you're in heavy debt to Wall Street because I welshed on our deal.  Such a guy, that Trump.

A few random photos...

pampas grass blooming

squirrel in the magnolia tree with one of my pecans

sparkly totems

big garden spider

Sunday, September 24, 2017

back to the real life

Last Wednesday, it was three weeks since we were rescued by airboat as the water lapped at the door. Last Friday, three weeks since we saw the house for the first time. Those three weeks were filled with long days of physical labor. Nothing is back to the way it was but we've managed to reclaim some sense of normality now that we are back in the house. I feel lucky in that respect. Walking the dog early on Friday, stopping and talking to Gary to see how he is getting along and news of other neighbors and visiting with Leonard and Judy further down and next door Deb and Robert, all of whom are still working to get one room of their houses livable so they can move back, I know how much we were spared.

Now that I've hauled everything to the street, I'm no longer working hard long hours though I could easily spend a week doing just that over at the shop cleaning up behind the demolition over there. I work til about 2 PM and then quit mostly or do small things. I've gotten my wind chimes all cleaned and rehung and the totems and plate flowers are all cleaned and put back in place. I'm working on clearing the yard of all the fallen green and rotten pecans because they are starting to pop out of their husks and I don't want to confuse these dried up things with real nuts if we still have any up in those trees and they start falling.

I managed to find the jar of already mixed kiln wash for a shelf to do my color samples on for the drowned feathers. Fortunately there was just enough to do the kiln shelf because I have no idea in which box in which room or building the powder is in. I've set up the forms I cut out and cleaned the jars of frit and powder that floated in the water for three days. Out of 23 jars, only 3 seeped any water so I need to scoop out the damp frit and wash it and dry it out. And I've also got the drowned feather waxes set up and ready for molds to be made.

I had thought that I would not do a fall garden this year but then someone gave me some beet and lettuce seeds and I went and bought some spinach seeds and I just know that when the little plants become available I'll want to get some so I went over to the gardens to pull up the okra and check out the state of things over there and the state of things over there is nut grass and johnson grass have colonized my two original raised beds but I did notice a few volunteer tomatoes. I pulled up the smaller okra plants but the two big ones are like small trees with trunks about 2 1/2” in diameter! Could not pull those suckers out, had to get the shovel and dig them up.

It is still blazing hot out there. Mornings are a little cooler but it doesn't last.

Friday, September 22, 2017

ch ch ch changes

you didn't think that little reprieve was going to last, did you?

Since the flood has reshaped our reality just about everything I write about has/will reference it in one way or another. For a while anyway. Currently I am without a studio. I can set up my desk at some future point before the room is remodeled and work but my environment is gone. The kites still hang but that's all that's left of my studio. 

No star lights, no paintings or prints or other wall hung decoration, no 'kapow', no place to hang my keys and caps, no roll of 3' butcher paper, no so many other things. Right now I'm set up on the dining room table. Not the best option but the only option.

The shop is also changed. It was full before, containing our stuff and a lot of our friend's stuff who is in the process of a major move himself, moved but still adjusting. Now, with our stuff, our friend's stuff, and all the stuff from my studio and the back bedroom that survived and the total demolition of the 4 built-in rooms in the metal building that is our shop and the contents of those rooms...with all that stuff in the big bay and the small bay, it's stuffed full and unusable. Still we are planning on casting these waxes I spent the summer on because I have committed us to the December open house and we need these pieces for that so we're starting on that this weekend.

It seemed to me that when we first returned and in the first week or so after there were no birds. I don't know if this is true, perhaps my situation didn't allow me to notice them but slowly they have been returning. First one day I saw a cardinal, then a few days later I heard the wrens fussing and today I saw in the white crepe myrtle beside the house a titmouse and chickadees fussing and two mockingbirds. I've put out birdseed in the little feeders that I can't see from here.

The neighborhood is changed too. Some left and I haven't seen them since. Some are about but not everyone is in residence yet or they are living in rougher conditions, or in their travel trailers of which there are a few. My neighbor on one side has rigged up an outdoor kitchen. Another neighbor has put a hog fence perimeter around the front of their house and trailer. This is also one of the few houses that keeps lights on at the front of their house all night every night. Clearly they live in fear. Rocky is suddenly inundated with calls for bids to repair their houses as everyone is ready to get back home.

The big claw truck came down our street again earlier this week. They had cleared along the front of the house once 

but then the debris from tearing out the shop rooms got dumped and I've spent the last three days making sure every ruined thing that I wanted gone from either property was on the pile. Many others put out another load after the trucks came by last week. I even managed to get rid of an ancient rusted frozen up heavy as shit flat lap and the water heater from the shop, neither of which I could move, when one of the metal scavengers happened by while I was on the street.

I've mentioned how the things in my gardens have fared. What I didn't mention is the ox-blood lilies. They liked all that flood water. Three or four days after the water receded, up they popped.