(the most recent email from my sister)
Dear ones --
Well, in some ways, it's worse than we feared -- much, much worse -- but in other ways, we were spared --
For example, all the work (fine art, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, paper files, main computers, etc.) that we were able to muscle up to the mezzanine is fine -- as, in fact, is the mezzanine and everything else that was up there (our bed/sitting room, much of our own personal artwork, all our shoes and clothing, bureaus [bureaux?], etc.
Still, as the picture shows, we had 6'+ of water in our space for at least 12 hours -- the water began rising before noon on the Friday of the Saturday morning (2 AM) that Ike hit -- we've learned that the exact center of the eye traveled north up 24th Street (we're between 21st & 22nd Streets) --
The mucking out process is dangerous, difficult, demoralizing work -- the mud that covers the floor (and every other remotely horizontal surface) is slippery as cat shit and smells about as good, a savory blend of sewage, sea water and dead things -- the flood waters have swollen everything, inexorably forcing joints open and creating structural failure of furniture pieces like bookcases and file cabinets -- you find yourself throwing out your own past -- saved letters, documents, records, photographs, what-have-you have become slippery, water-logged, heavy blocks to be discarded --and were it not for the smell and toxicity of the mold and mildew, the patterns are intricate and the colors gorgeous!
We still have no plan -- are still waiting for even a call back from our homeowners' insurance agent -- and, other than receiving their official mailing, have had no word from FEMA, either -- some days, trying to re-open the gallery in Houston holds appeal -- other days, trying to get something going again in Galveston seems to make more sense -- at least, financially -- and a general contractor with whom I've worked successfully on several projects has suggested forming a joint venture for the short term, which seems to hold some merit -- the irony is that Steve had just worked up an impressive spreadsheet to take to our banks showing that consolidating our debt with a credit line thrown in would create a win-win situation for both sides, and having us showing a modest profit even sooner than our projections -- oh, well --
For the time being, we're staying with friends in Houston -- Betsy & Mark J. -- whose 3-storey townhouse has a guest suite on the ground floor, complete with small kitchenette -- while their master suite is on the 3rd floor -- so far, it's working out, including the fact that they have 2 adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (Olive and Shaniya), who are as fascinated by seeing (only) our cats as our cats are at seeing (only) them!
We know that we will have to move everything out of the (undamaged) mezzanine into storage during the reconstruction of the ground floor -- another HUGE job -- but, since we're unclear as to where we plan to be, we're unclear about where to try to find dry, secure, climate-controlled storage --
It's all a puzzle --
And so, as you can see from these pix, is our life --
Love to all of you -- and, please, let us keep hearing from you -- you can't imagine how it uplifts us!
Our dining room:
Our pile, in front of the pile across the street:(keep those prayers coming; thanks!)