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.

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