Exit day. If I continue to get up earlier and earlier I will at the rate I am going actually be getting up before I go to sleep. The kitchen faucet I replaced earlier in the week works fine but the drain pipes starting leaking yesterday so replaced a part of it and it seems fine. Went out the car to get cell phone and can hear the Latin bar going strong at 4 a.m. House is freshly painted inside and detail cleaned. Got all the limbs cut that were too close to the roof and them hauled away. Added a few pieces of wood inside and got under the house yesterday morning and did a little something I've meant to do for a long time. Added a few knobs in the bathroom. Changed all door locks. Replaced window from when I had to break in. Dirty half of house on outside bleached. Windows washed. Various possessions given to Chaffeur and some tools and paint left over on Dumaine. Need to drop off some bedding at the nephew's and pick up camera battery charger. Print out boarding pass. Give key to Chauffeur so he can do laundry over here and keep eye on the place until it gets rented. Doing laundry now. Have still a few things to drop off at Chauffeur's, extension ladder and six foot ladder and this chair I'm sitting in. On the final exit will roll second coat of red polyurethane on kitchen and hallway floors. And need to run the top edge of baseboards in hallway and kitchen. And bag up that pile of leaves in the yard. And drop off rental car and get on plane at 6 p.m. So I have 13 hours left and 30 minutes until Betsy's opens for breakfast.
I resolved problem at 430 this morning, think I will be ok here with what I got done. Standing barely by front door to pick up Chaffeur's wireless. Just walked back from the Dome. Got a W tonight. If you looked at the weather for New Orleans at 11:30 Thursday night you would have no idea what it really feels like. It would according to the numbers seem moderate when it is in fact extreme.
Not talking about drugs now but I had the most simply pleasant almost euphoric high over the most mundane thing followed quite closely by a deep pervading and still lingering low when coming to realize the simple joy was ill founded, unrealistic, and full of false expectation. And I will therefore, apparently, be pissed off for the rest of the evening. Even if, regarding this job I just say fuck it all, it is what it is, there remains the unpleasant truth that I still have a lot of work to do, combined with a less than ebullient enthusiasm.
Things went a little better today. I did not have to break into the house again and I did not go to jail. Am not sure I am getting enough done but am getting a fair bit done. I guess it's a shame I never really get to live in this house after I fix it up but in truth cannot claim a dearth of very fine places to stay. Back to NY soon. And a little bit of Virginia probably after that. Went over to Dumaine today to discuss with M how best to divide up the North Carolina property. I had wished she could buy me out but it turns out to be more feasible for me to do the buying. Hope I am not biting off more than I can chew. But we were very cordial with each other for which I am grateful because I was making myself sick worrying about a contentious drawn out affair. She saw me out to the porch and while out there somebody called out my name. M said oh there your boys. Looking three houses down I could make out Lance and I waved. Who else is down there I asked. That heavy one is Shelton she said and I said no way. Yeah, don't he look like forty year old man, and I had to agree. The other one is Glynn she said. Oh a hell of a conundrum because as much as I wanted to see them I did not want to see them on this block. It, and they, are just way too hot. But where else? Are we going to meet up on the Westbank for an all you can eat buffet? M said I could take an imaginary call and rush off but in the end I manned up and reversed the car down the block. I did not however exit the vehicle. I shook all their hands and told them they looked good, which they did. The extra weight looks right on Shelton, makes his face look kinder. Lance and Shelton said they would come over to Rocheblave and do some work for me, no, they did not care if it was washing windows. I may not though be holding out much hope for that. I would like to take them to the all you can eat buffet and if the gods smile I will. When I got home I could not figure out where that classical music was coming from. It was my phone ringtone for unidentified caller. I bought a used smartphone on EBay. It is so much smarter than me I'm always feeling one step behind it. It was M calling to tell me my timing was just right. She said as soon as I pulled away three cop cars rolled up and all three boys were in handcuffs. I got to see them though and I feel good about that. Am going to try and avoid feeling bad about all the obvious stuff.
Ouch, the note program on this iPod just ate half my post and I rewrote it and it ate it again in the exact same place. Nothing happened today.
Have 6 days left. It is hard for me to imagine this job finished in time for my flight to NY on Saturday. But perhaps that is just the marriage of my pessimism to my laziness. Have yet some business to attend to that I am putting off. Will probably be doing the final cleaning right up until I leave for the airport. Somebody next time please remind before I go into the Quarter for breakfast on Labor Day Sunday that the Southern Decadence Parade is on Saturday. Parked along side of Armstrong Park. Saw the prettiest black man dressed as a woman I have ever seen but that did not really clue me in. On Dauphine the new street sweepers spray fragrant street cleaning disinfectant. But approaching Bourbon on Dumaine the odor of urine was still prevalent and the mountains of plastic cups being swept up by busy workers were of impressive scale. It was 7 a.m. and people, mostly of the spectator variety, were still drinking, and swaying and blowing their boozy breath into the stagnant air. It was not what I needed for breakfast so I turned around and walked back to St. Ann and met a congregation of cops parked in the middle of the street. But apparently a false alarm because they all drove off before I got to my car. So went and had another pork chop breakfast. A man at the counter in dress shirt and ill fitting pants and smudged sneakers with brown cotton gloves had before him a hundred pages of typing paper onto which he was scribbling, literally scribbling. He would pause every so often and gaze into the near or far distance, and ponder, then smile. It was an image disconcertingly familiar to me.
7 days left. Moved a few limbs out of the guy's way mowing the Pentecostal's lot. Had earlier this morning finished sawing up the big limbs from other day. The grass was high. Extremely hot today and yet noticeably cooler. Have taped and bedded a few spots where the sheetrock tape had buckled due to constant shifting of this house. Am painting now. Heard Spanish speaking voices from backyard. A new sound for the neighborhood, oddly pleasant. Have not been to the Latin bar at corner but can see it is well attended. Went to Galvez/Canal corner store for half pint of whisky last night. It can be edgy in there but wasn't last night. Find myself uncharacteristically making a lot of eye contact inside the urban establishments. Cannot tell if it is welcome. Met a friendly person today who wanted to haul my limbs away. We chatted amiably. Told him if he included as helper Joe L I would consider it. It would all make barely a twenty minute bonfire. I wish I could burn it. But the city frowns on that. Have to write seven days left even if I don't want to. Got hip to a new breakfast place in the neighborhood. Chauffeur took me. It was a place so perfect for me that I cannot tell you what is it's name, because I don't want to see you there. Wish I could have discovered it with Bernadette because we would have been happy about it. If I ever eat a better pork chop breakfast I will say that was the best pork chop breakfast I have had since...psyche.
Have eight days left. Joe L walked by just now while I was sitting on the front steps. I was borrowing the Chauffeur's wifi signal to load up today's news on this miniature wifi-only device. I promised Joe I had not forgotten my promise to let him help me bundle up the large pile of limbs from my recent manicuring of the property. We will get on it one of these days I said. He was going off somewhere with umbrella in hand to help somebody else do something else. In parting he said, boy it's a nice day today. I had before he walked up been thinking that if you took a plastic quart bottle of Wesson oil and put it inside your black rental car parked in the sun and let it sit for three hours and then uncapped it and poured the hot liquid over your fully clothed body and then rolled around in tall wet grass it would approximate how the surrounding air felt to me sitting half naked on my front steps at eight o'clock in the morning loading up news on this device. He was right though, it did feel a little better today. In New Orleans the month of August begins in June and ends sometime around Columbus Day in October. It was the only side offered so I was checking it out, the back side of this blonde woman bent over the open hood of her Mercedes parked in my driveway. You will learn the lesson to limit your exposure or regret the consequences so this woman and her Mercedes I was viewing from inside, looking out the front door glass. It turned out to be some charitable soul coming to help my accidental houseguest move her belongings from the front room. The houseguest was sitting in the front seat, obscured from view by the open hood. Upon closer inspection this Mercedes had seen better days but this days problem was just a bad AC fuse. I helped them load half the belongings and accepted as potential truth the Muslim woman's assertion that she would be back someday for the rest of it. She did at least leave me last night to my solitary self and I slept better because of it. Was on the side landing taking pictures of two of the cuter under house cats, feeling my resolve not to feed them weakening when the mother of the jailed boy called out to me from Rocheblave Street, asking if she could speak to me. This trip is getting more expensive than I had anticipated, knowing that her wanting to talk to me means only one thing. It is so hard sometimes to separate the hustle from the legitimate need but I got up and walked through the house to meet her out front. Sitting down on the front steps again I listened to her story. She said had just gotten back from OPP. The boy had been given a year, which somehow, including the four months already in, equated to him being out for Thanksgiving. He had to have white t-shirts and underwear (I gave up another twenty dollars hoping it might be spent on t-shirts). The lawyer was telling her that he would come up on the other charges in a couple of months. When I asked what were the other charges all she would say is that he would beat it because there were no powder burns on his hands and no fingerprints on the gun. Also that the police had beaten him up and another boy had been beaten to death last week. Perhaps I caught her in a lie or two but I'm not sure how that necessarily refutes her story in total. For lunch I drove by OPP without really thonking about the boy, on my way to Bode's Catfish Shack If you look at the color of the Sculptors flood line that is pretty much what the entire east side of my house looked like due to the natural tendency of shady painted surfaces to mildew in this climate. I washed it down with laundry soap and bleach water solution and it came out so shiny I have decided not to paint it this go around. Working on the inside painting and cleaning now. I ended up putting some food out for the two cute cats but when I looked under the house there was a whole mess of ugly ones too. I don't really think you should feed stray cats, cute or ugly. I should have loaded up the rest of that girl's stuff in my rental car and followed them to wherever they went is what I should have done.
Have nine days left. The waitress said as a question you're good when I said I was good to mean no more coffee. It was too cold in there and I was hacking up pieces of lung. At least it's not a dry cough. Need to get up on the roof and finish trimming overhead branches before it gets too hot or starts to rain again. The houseguest said someone was coming to move her stuff out today and I said that would be helpful which was the short version of a rant running last night through my mind. The rant was entitled a conflict of agendas. Those cats are fighting again. Saw a saggy titted pit bull bitch roaming free last night. Was coming around the back fence when I gave it the evil eye and it turned around. There are chew marks on my front steps looking like a shotgun blast made from dogs trying to get under the house to eat cats or what was once their food stash. Corner boys have a friend who makes drunken siren noises during their sidewalk happy hour. Remembering what the kid's mother said the other day when I asked which of the boys to men where hanging out on Dumaine. It was my subtle way to ask which of them are not in jail or dead. She told me oh so and so and so and so. But they disappear when the sun goes down cuz they afraid of those shooters coming back. Forty some odd shell casings recovered last time but no one injured. She got a ponderous look on her face then and said if those shooters had been real men they would have walked right up...and she pantomimed a gun to a head and then pulled the trigger three times. It is my goal to argue less so I did not disagree. Anyway, how would I know what is a man. Feeling some distance south of stupid these days. I bet it already got hot while I was writing this.
Have ten days left and head cold, zero energy. Cats under the house are going unfed. They will need to start considering alternate means of nutrition. Am not sure eating each other is out of the question. Saw a helicopter fly over yesterday that looked like something out of Buck Rodgers. A dated analogy for sure. The street sign at Bienville and Rocheblave is leaning, house on southeast corner is still boarded up. Epictetus is around, just a little gray on the edges. I would like to speak to him but don't really know what to say. Am down now on bare mattress on floor, under ceiling fan. Cleaned cat hair off all blade edges on the three fans. I imagined it was irritating me and making head cold worse. Slept ok last night. Could have been worse. Used towel borrowed from nephew as a cover over my chest. It made me feel a little more secure. Dreams were a bit strange but not markedly more so than reality. Friend and excellent tenant has moved out but has a few things still in house, including a Muslim woman who apparently has nowhere else to stay. She knocked quietly on front door last night even though she still has own key. I had thought where she would stay other than here had been resolved but apparently I was mistaken. We split up the haphazard bedding and she took hers to the bedroom and closed the door. And then left out early this morning. We have agreed on a two day deadline. I wish Bernadette was here but she has gone back to New York. We stayed at my nephew's in Lakeview for about a week. Part of me wants to stay on this bed all day but staying in bed takes considerable will power. I can hear sea gulls and crows but not yet the monk parakeets. I need to drink much more water because my urine is dark yellow, signifying dehydration. Am seriously conflicted about which is more important, doing something or doing nothing. It is one of the subjects that perhaps I could discuss with Epictetus. The cats are crying, or fighting, again. This mattress is oriented where my desk used to be and the palmetto fronds in the side yard are moving in the humid air and casting upon me slices of sunlight. One of the mothers of a Dumaine child is renting sort of next door to me. I was cutting limbs from the sycamore that got topped in the 05 storm and has since grown into a frighteningly tall and bushy somewhat leaning tree when she called out to ask me was I who I appeared to be. I admitted I was knowing it would cost me (in this case 5 dollars, make note to carry more singles). She was walking back from the OPP at Tulane and Broad where she had just visited that boy who was one of that core group I used drive around the city for Sunday outings, if they cleaned the garbage from the street. Never that good at math I said oh he must be 16 or 17. She said oh no he 21. I'm not sure she was debating that he stole the car but those guns were not his. When I said I follow things around town via the Internet she seemed proud. But she thought I meant that I was accessing his rap sheet, which one can do online, and she wanted me to know that some of his thirty odd charges are not his doing. She said he asked about me sometimes, which I neither doubt nor wholly believe, and that when he got out she was sending him over here to go to work for me. I explained to her the limitations of that but said that if he got out in the next 10 days and showed up here wanting to work, I would give him some. He was in truth, as an 8 year old, a very good worker. Although I can't help remembering it I hold no grudge that he once lifted the razor knife from my tool bucket and tried but failed to eviscerate his older cousin.