Saturday, December 22, 2007

All of a sudden, stuff is happening in our neighborhood. It started when we pulled up to our house upon return from our trip to FLA, and we saw a "for sale" sign on the eyesore on our street. It's a Christmas miracle. It's been empty for years and like many properties, the owner refuses to do anything, other than keep the weeds cut. With pressure from neighbors, the city got on his case and he started working (tearing parts down actually) on it just before Katrina hit. After that, he did nothing knowing the city was too disorganized and understaffed to enforce anything. He got reported to the Good Neighbor Program (it does work!) and a couple of months ago (slow, but it works) a bright orange noticed was posted on the house. I guess he got tired of dealing with it and put it in the market. In less than a week "sale pending" was added to the sign. A realtor friend said the asking price of $75K was a steal. It remains to be seen who buys it and what they do with it. Of course I'll keep you all posted.

le eyesore

If that wasn't enough, a neighbor just informed us the former apartment building next door that got sold, flipped and condo-ized, has filled; all the condos have been bought. The condo-izing process started before Katrina. Hopefully this won't lead to a parking war on our street. The house on the other side of us is still empty (has been for years) though today the owners were over there moving stuff out. And lastly, the FEMA trailer park in the city park behind us is slowly being taken out. I noted that the trailers were installed Dec 05 and sat empty until March 06. Some less compassionate people in the neighborhood were acting all NIMBY. I want to say, for the record, we had no problems what so ever the whole time - and the park backs up to us. It's always been quiet, you wouldn't even know people were living back there. All we heard was the occasional crunch of tires on gravel. I actually started to miss the sound of kids playing and finding the occasional ball in our back yard. One last odd development... a stop sign has appeared at the corner. It wasn't there when I left for work Friday morning but was when we left for dinner that evening. I don't think it was placed "officially" I think some one came across a stop sign and decided to put it there. I have mixed feelings; it is a bad corner - our street has the right of way, but you can't see around the house to your right. I always go through there very slowly since some people on the cross street seem to feel the stop sign doesn't apply to them. So while this may slow down those who go flying down our street at 80 mph, we'll have to listen to the earthshaking BOOMBOOMBOOM slightly longer. And one of these days I'll figure out how to thwart the guy with the super charged muffler who drives down our street every morning at 6am.
Any campers out there? My friend and camping buddy is coming for a visit the first week of January. I haven't done much camping in these parts; she lives in the southwest so usually I fly out there and we hike and camp in Utah, New Mexico, etc. I shot my buddy Dave, fellow blogger and camper, an email asking for suggestions, but he's never camped in these parts either so he was no help. I have "50 Hikes in Louisiana" on the way from Amazon but I thought I'd put it out there and see if anyone reading this had some suggestions. I only found minimal info on-line. I'd like it to be a max 3 hour drive from NOLA since we only have 2-3 days. A few ideas I had are: Tunica Hills Wildlife Management Area, Clark Creek Natural Area and Kisatchie Hills Wilderness Area.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We just got back from spending a long weekend in Boca Raton, FL visiting my family. It's amazing how completely different it is there compared to New Orleans. This is a terrible thing to say but it was refreshing to see that perfectly manicured, hoity toity Boca Raton has also been hit with the uptick in crime that seems to be nationwide. I don't wish crime on anyone but it makes me feel not so bad about the crime here, like it can happen anywhere not just New Orleans. Call it rationalization. I know we all do it, it's the only way we are able to walk out our front door every day after reading the newspaper or watching the local news. Part of the reason I moved to New Orleans is that it is different than Florida. I grew up in Florida and have lived in numerous towns: Tampa, Orlando area, Jacksonville, Tallahassee and when I graduated college (FSU) I wanted to see what it was like to live somewhere else. The only things I miss about Florida are the beaches and my family. Most of my friends don't even live there anymore.

While I was there, I stocked up on FSU wear - I got a t-shirt, long-sleeved t-shirt and sweatshirt. You don't find much FSU garb in Louisiana. It hasn't been easy to follow FSU football since we don't have cable. I've been rooting for LSU Tigers - I like their team colors, I like their mascot, the don't play FSU in football, I know a ton of people who went there, and they play against the Gators. What's not to like? Granted the team hasn't been as stellar the last few years, and, though I love Bobby Bowden, I wonder if he shouldn't have retired on a high note, back when they won their last championship. I was horrified and demoralized to read about the cheating scandal. I await further developments as the investigation continues. Ironically, after reading about the scandal on, someone sent me a link to a fellow New Orleans blogger, Florida girl and FSU fan. She has some nice posts about the GOOD FSU football players, the link to those post I share with you here and here. A not so great football year is one thing. Academic fraud is an embarrassment to all FSU alum. A good friend who is also a Gator fan shared these words:
May the following well-worn words of Gator fans everywhere give you some comfort - "Wait until next year!".

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A college football free Saturday, I almost forgotten what they were like. And how much more you can get done. Like updating the old blog.

Here's some photos of the on-going renovation. This is the sitting room/dressing area. It's the link between the bedroom, bathroom and closet. It used to be a hideous Brady Bunch kitchen.

Here's G painting a wall a mottled blue.

The wall all painted and drying.

I'm amazed Gonzo didn't get any blue paint on her.

Here it is, with carpet, lighting and trim installed.

The doorway in the middle of the blue wall lead to our future closet.