August is a busy month. I've calculated that historically about 1/12 of all the significant events in human history occurred during the month of August.
The first atom bomb was dropped in August. The King of Rock'n'Roll passed away. Hurricane Katrina.
Some good things happened, too. My Darling Wife and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage this month.
And I've signed up to make a presentation at the Rising Tide 2 Conference on the 25th of this month. The title of my talk will be "In Levees We Trust." I picked that title because I thought it was a little more catchy than, "I don't know who is crazier: my neighbors who are happily going about fixing up their slab-on-grade houses that are for the most part below the 100-year flood elevation in a city that does not yet have even the marginal 100-year level of protection and likely won't for several more years to come, or, Congress and the President who seem all too eager and happy to send gazillions of dollars overseas to a war-torn country that will likely tear itself apart in civil war whether we remain there or not while dragging their feet on the appropriation of money to programs that would really benefit Americans, such as health care and infrastructure and flood protection."
Ultimately, August has been and will continue to be a busy month for me and that’s partly why I have not been so faithfully posting here. Work, family and other needs and obligations conspire to keep me from writing.
Not that there’s anything good to write about.
My Darling Wife and I have been slowly (very slowly) moving forward with our plan to build a new elevated house on our property in a severely flooded area of the city. I don’t think that is going to happen now. The cost of constructing a new house at a reasonably safe elevation is prohibitive. I have been searching for the poetic, deeply meaningful way to express the disappointment that does not give in to despair. I have been thinking of ways to frame the shock, the letdown, the contempt, and I don’t know—a hundred other emotions that come with the reality that has landed on us now. But it does not exist.
The simple fact is that building a new house in New Orleans today is very expensive. Elevated? That costs even more. I’ve talked to builders and we even got quotes from modular home builders that left us short of breath.
So now we’re looking to purchase an existing house. Of course it would need to be in the unflooded parts of city. Of course it will be expensive. But it will be less expensive than building new.
And it puts a curve ball on The Road Home and SBA. We have asked Road Home to change our grant from Option 1 to Option 2. We asked SBA to change our loan application from a Rebuild to a Relocation. As simple as it is to say that, it means a complete change in paperwork, as bureaucratically different as if we were going from roller skates to a nuclear submarine. I fully expect that, in the Rube Goldberg methodology of those two agencies alone, this could mean many months delay in the process.
We celebrated one Christmas in our FEMA Travel Trailer. What’s one more?