Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Jackson II

In Jackson. Doing quite well. From New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi, is a very easy three hour drive, most of it through very pleasant country. And I do mean country. From the shores of Lake Pontchartrain up through Louisiana bayous and into gentle rolling hills in Mississippi farm country, it's a lovely drive.

Getting the escape condo set up is going remarkably well. Major furniture, bed and convertible couch, are being delivered tomorrow. In this area, we spend a bit of money. When the well-being of one's wonky spine is in question, you do not skimp, because if you do, you will pay for it in the coin of nasty, nasty pain. But then, for some other items we did nicely at the Salvation Army store. Dresser, coffee table, bookshelf, and so on. Well, sure, some of these have some scuffs and scratches, but I don't really want to live in something that looks like a hotel room. (Like where I'm writing this.) If things look like someone's lived with them for a while, that's fine, and if it wasn't me before, it will be soon.

Aside: Years ago, in order to place some modest orders, we went to the studio and workshop in New Hope, Pennsylvania, of the wonderful Japanese-American woodworker and furniture designer George Nakashima, not long before he died in 1990. His works, which often combined the rough shapes and burls of natural wood with exquisite woodworking and finishing, were of course always delivered in perfect condition. But he always said that he liked to see his work acquire the dings and marks that showed they were being used in everyday life, not set aside as show pieces. He referred to this process as "kevinizing," referring to the damage his son Kevin used to do to furniture when he was about four or so.

Some of the things we picked up today have been kevinized a bit, and will be stevenized as time goes on, I am sure.

We'll do more tomorrow, and the bed will be delivered and set up in the afternoon. Our new place on Wayneland Ave. will be technically functional as a refuge when that's done, though there's much more to do to make it comfortable. Who knows, it might be just in time. Tropical Depression 12 is now growling around the Bahamas, predicted to skitter across southern Florida and maybe break loose into the Gulf of Mexico. It would be ironic if we wound up having to stay here longer than expected to avoid 12 should it turn into a hurricane and head the wrong way. If 12 turns into a tropical storm or worse, I believe it would be called Katrina.

At the moment there is a hurricane working in the Pacific Ocean called, I believe, Hurrican Hilary. Make your own political jokes out of that, don't look to me.

Monday, August 22, 2005


Tomorrow we are driving from New Orleans to Jackson, Mississippi. The employment fight I've been waging for nearly a year (and which is approaching a good resolution, I hope) was precipitated by my decision to get me and my family the hell out when Hurricane Ivan was threatening to hit us and kill 50,000 people or so, despite my employer's desire that I should stick around for a few more hours to move a few more boxes.

Or something like that.

At any rate, that exact situation -- desperate flight to Texas to find some motel that would give us a room, with dog -- will not happen again. Such uncertainty in the face of danger is just too damn gut-wrenching. So having looked into Jackson, and having been pleasantly surprised at how relatively modest real estate prices are, we drove up some weeks ago, checked things out, and bought a small condo in north Jackson. Even if a monster hurricane hit the coast heading straight for Jackson, by the time it had traveled over that many miles of land it would be so weakened as to be just some wind and rain. I can deal with wind and rain.

So we go up tomorrow to start equipping the place. Get a bed bought and delivered. Likewise some furniture. Take all the seats out of the van and load it up with things like the TV we ordered, a microwave, trashcan, phones, and excess plates and glasses that are crowding the shelves here. All the stuff involved with setting up an auxiliary residence. Can be fun, really.

The dog doesn't go this time, but stays in a kennel. She'll go next time and all times after, to help her learn that this is another home for her, another place that is hers, with her own food bowl and dogbed waiting for her. For us it should also be more than a hidey-hole when a big bad storm is coming. The Jackson art museum has for years been hosting remarkable traveling exhibits that have seemed fascinating to me, but that I've never managed to drive north and see. That will be easier now.

Besides, when we were being shown the property, we chatted with our real estate agent, Janie Bass, about how our location on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans can get pretty tiresome during Carnival time. As the house is right on the parade route for most Mardi Gras parades, you have to put up with an enormous amount of noise and inconvenience, including being barred by the police from being admitted to your own street to park in front of your own home if you get there after the barriers go down. As Alden grumbled about this, Janie remarked casually, well, you could just come up here.

He looked stunned, as if revelation had hit him. "My god! You're right! We can come up here!!"

That may have been the moment when she clinched the deal.