I am offering one of my rare simul-blogs tonight, writing the same blog post on the south in my mouth and two chicks in a warehouse. It is because my worlds intersected today. And, at the end of the day, I needed green noodles.
I am in FEMA land. It is not a bad place. Just mysterious. The folks from FEMA are trying to help me fix my broken warehouse. They are really trying hard and are nice about it. Lessons learned from Katrina? I don’t know, but in Nashville FEMA is very much a friend. A candidate for governor ran some television ads proudly proclaiming that he would give Washington the boot if elected while displaying a garish cowboy boot with the state seal of Tennessee on it. He’s not doing so well in the polls right now.
So FEMA has questions. Questions I had not considered. I turn in a bill for remediation, the clearing out of the House of Toxic Poo. How many cubic yards were cleared out? I don’t know. There were bulldozers. I do remember that. Where did all the debris go? Hell? I don’t know. I find the answers. It turns out they are there if you know where to look.
Inventory. What was in the building? When I left the Friday afternoon before the flood, I failed to take inventory. I did not take notes. What is equipment and what is contents? What is the difference, I wonder? I call my FEMA project specialist 14 times in one hour. Is shelving contents or equipment? Equipment. Is copy paper equipment or contents? Contents.
There are many more questions. I spend from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. amassing paperwork. I feel strangely comforted by the government. They want to help, but they want to follow the rules. As a taxpayer, I appreciate that. As a flood victim, I want a gin and tonic.
So tonight, I make my comfort food. I make green noodles. They are simple. Not like my life right now. They are easy. Also, not like my life right now although I consider the people who lost their homes and feel like an insignificant fool. I am not sleeping on an air mattress in a shed in the backyard while my house grows mold by the minute. Shame on me.
Green noodles. Nothing more than eight ounces of thin spaghetti cooked al dente and mixed with a seven-ounce container of pre-made pesto. Top with toasted pine nuts and shaved Parmesan cheese. If you are truly weary, please eat it out of the pot. I had enough energy left to put it on a plate.
I did have good news today. We found a temporary warehouse for furniture. Yea, furniture. Hopefully, when that poor woman sleeping on the air mattress comes back to her house she will have a sofa and a table and a few chairs. Yea, furniture. I talked to a woman who is part of a consortium of nonprofits getting new books for school children who lost theirs in the flood. She has no place to store the abundant donations she’s been offered. We just got a second warehouse, I tell her. Bring us your books. We can work together.
I learned a lot today. I learned how to hold a tape measure with my big toe while retracing the lost rooms at the CRC warehouse for FEMA. They will pay to put things back as they were. If only you could remember how they were. I learned the difference between equipment and content. I learned that my multi-tasking skills are fairly awesome, balancing as I did copying a multitude of papers with arranging a furniture delivery from North Carolina.
And at the end of the day, I ate green noodles. Warm. Cheesy. Simple. Easy.