Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The movers called at 6:45AM and arrived around 7:15, having left Lafayette around 2AM. When I told my father the movers were coming, he asked for tissues. He remained quite oblivious to the tons of junk that the five men were hauling into our living room just inches behind his recliner.

I asked the foreman if he had any idea of the weight of the move and he said it was around 15,000 pounds. Normally that weight would also fill the complete volume of the truck, but since we had so many books, the load was very dense and only filled the truck by about half. One of the mover's comments was "You could open a book museum here!" Much like the load out, the load in was quite efficient and made somewhat easier by the fact that most of the furniture and boxes were going right into the living room to be stored until a more permanent living situation could be found. Three hours later it was all over.

Later, my cousin called and asked about the status of our FEMA trailer, which I had not thought much about for the past two weeks and which I assumed would never arrive. I had seen hundreds of those trailers stored on the tarmac at the old Chennault Air Base, but a variety of rumors were swirling about what was going to happen to them. Trapped either in bureaucratic malice or inefficiency, they were too late for us. However, Sean could certainly use one.

One of my mother's neighbors who was retired from Conoco had heard a rumor that 500 trailers were going to refinery workers, which would make sense since the primary value of Lake Charles to our country is for its refineries. There certainly were trailers sitting out at the air base.

I called the FEMA number that I had been left a couple of weeks earlier. I got no answer, no voice mail, no nothing. Unclear about my own handwriting, I tried another number that I thought it might be and got another FEMA contractor who was not aware of our case or our agent, but said she would try to find out what the situation was and get back to us. At that point, my mother and I discussed it and agreed that it would not be right to take a trailer away from someone who really needed it. However, I was curious whether anyone would ever get back to us, and, to my surprise, someone called a few hours later.

It turned out that our application had been closed for some unknown reason. I suspected it might have been related to the failed attempt to arrange a visit by a FEMA adjuster in mid October. Regardless, moving ahead with the trailer would require going through the application process all over again and I politely said we had decided to relocate and would no longer need their services.

I also explained the situation to our contractor and he was in complete agreement that we shouldn't take an emergency trailer away from someone in a much worse situation than ours. He had been considering purchasing a travel trailer anyway and ultimately did when he returned to Missouri after completing the roof.

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Next: December 1 - 4, 2005

Abstinence to defer disappointment is bad living. (Tamar Adler)