Monday, May 11, 2009

Beatlick Travel: Lower Ninth in Nashville

Date: May 11, 2009 11:01 AM

Beatlick Joe and I pulled into Nashville this week during another pouring rainstorm. The rain has followed us all the way from Houston without letting up one moment it seems. Nashville is sodden.

We spent a few days with Joe's brother Paul catching up before I actually went across town to see my little home. I wasn't prepared to find my own little version of the Lower Ninth Ward right here in Tennessee.

My old neighborhood is devastated. I am still in shock. My house sits in the middle of four empty homes all in a row. I would say 20 percent of the homes in the neighborhood are empty with grass overgrown on the lots and storm damage from a recent tornado. One house on the block has been a burned out shell for months. Really, really sad.

My little house is sad. The bathroom will have to be gutted because of the leaking toilet, but I have to say I am really touched by what a good job my management company Barrett Realty has done, with what they have had to work with. I was impressed that they had varnished the floors. That seemed exceptional to me with all they must be dealing with because there is so much real estate for rent and sale around my neighborhood.

So my sister comes over and we take a deep breath and just try to figure out how much we can manage to do independently. Here comes one neighbor over to offer help. My sister's friends come by and offer more help, big help.

With all their care I have already managed to get the yard mowed, trees trimmed (that was a big deal I couldn't have managed on my own), and a tacky little fence torn down. I need roofing, aluminum siding, a new sidewalk, and new back steps. All are in a serious state of deterioration. I have an appointment with my insurance agent this week and then I'll know more about what I have to be responsible for and what might get fixed by insurance.

In keeping with my new policy of minimal worrying I haven't really felt too overwhelmed, just sad, at what lay before me. I cleaned out the attic and put a big for rent sign in the front yard. This wasn't done before because the house was empty and there was a fear of vandalism.

But once the sign was up and neighbors saw some signs of life around the place they began inquiring about the property. Now listen to this, also in keeping with my new found strokes of good luck, a man walked over from across the street, his wife's mother lives there, he takes a look around and says he would like to rent the place, plus DO THE REPAIRS HIMSELF!!!

Well this is beyond all reasonable sense of good luck as far as I'm concerned. I could maybe get to just walk away from all this and leave it in someone else's hands, get back to Las Cruces in time to house sit, and be on my merry way.

So right now I am just waiting to see if this interested party will meet all the requirements for my management company. I'll spend this week dealing with the insurance man and we'll just see what unfolds. But again I am humbled and really relieved so far.

We are slowly looking up old friends. Last night Jamie Givens, as I have called her a world class poet/traveler and wandering Sadhu, came over with a huge meal. We have a friend spending a few days with us, his family has a resort in Monterey, Mexico, that we hope to visit one day, and it was great to be able to spend some time with him and give him a little shelter from the storm. So the four of us feasted and laughed, held an impromptu poetry reading and invited the neighbors over. It all has worked out so well. I'm not sure why I was so resistant to coming home. So far it's been awesome.

Happy Trails
Beatlick Pamela