May 22nd, 2013
13 weeks pregnant.
After nearly two years of working on the West Bank as part of my current disaster recovery project, I found out this past week that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is estimated that my project will end on July 15th. While I have enjoyed the steady employment provided by this contract, I have also developed a complete disdain for traversing the bridge and dealing with the horrible traffic five days a week. The end of this project means there a slight sense of uncertainty concerning where I’ll be placed next, but it also will be a welcome change. Now that the official countdown is on I’m trying to rally all my team members to finish everything on time, while also keeping myself as focused as possible. It’s not so easy though when you’ve been staring at the same spreadsheets for so long.
Our home inspection was more interesting than I initially expected. The general inspector was an older man named Andy (who I would whole-heartedly recommend) that has apparently been inspecting homes for a long time. He explained every part of the house to my Andy and I and we both enjoyed learning things we probably would have never known. Luckily, there isn’t anything terribly wrong we the house. No deal-breakers. While he did point out several things that he suggested we fix or improve (which I intend to), there were very few things that NEED to be done, which was a complete relief. This home-buying adventure has brought to my mind the film “The Money Pit” on more than one occasion. I can easily say real estate is not for the timid (unless you are made of money).
The most exciting thing that happened this week is that my best friend Amanda and her husband Shawn moved back to town. I’ve mentioned Amanda before in this blog and she is an integral part of my sanity. I think we get along so well because we are very much alike and share a very similar sense of humor. Also she helps me enormously with my writing. In fact, she reads each of these posts before they go on the internet to assure that I don’t end up looking like a grammar school drop-out. Knowing that she would be returning and would be here for the birth of the baby is something that has helped me with many of my fears. I think it is so important to have at least one friend who can always make you laugh, luckily I have several, although Amanda may be at the top of that list.
Not only did Amanda return to New Orleans but the Dalai Lama also visited. We had an interesting experience when we went to see him on Friday at the New Orleans Convention Center. First off, parking and security were a nightmare (no big surprise there). Andy and I got through everything, found our seats, and then realized that we had nearly an hour before the talk was scheduled to begin. I suggested we go find a bathroom, since I literally pee at least once an hour now. We walked out of our section and I recalled seeing a bathroom one level below us by the snack bar. I (foolishly) suggested that we take the stairs, because the escalator was packed with people trying to get into the place. We went into the stairwell (door opened, no problem) and the minute it closed behind Andy I just knew we were locked in. I ran to check the doors below us and discovered the only one that would open was an exit to the outside of the building. We had already been through security and they had torn and punched our tickets so I knew we wouldn’t be able to get back in. I started freaking the fuck out, feeling like I was going to have a panic attack and Andy was like “Fuck this, let’s just leave.” I then called my friend Misty to come save us, but she was at the back of the security line and estimated it would be at least 30 minutes before she got in. Did I mention the stairwell was something straight out of Nightmare on Elm Street and it had no air conditioning/ventilation? Andy then began climbing up flights of stairs checking each door and miraculously the one at the very top opened. On the outer facing side it stated “Emergency Exit Only, No Building Access” which clearly should have been posted on all the stairwell doors. This upper area was a small balcony overlooking the other floors with a glass railing. Luckily there was an elevator that brought us back to our original floor. I then texted Misty to explain we were free.
We laughed about it after, but it was not funny while we were locked in there. You can use your imagination to conjure up the things I was saying. It was not pretty. When we got back to our seats, the place was packed and a rather large woman wearing a lot of perfume was sandwiched next to me. She immediately reached over and stroked my dress, cooing, “Is that a Trashy Diva?” That should sum up the crowd that was in attendance. (Trashy Diva is a high end store that sells retro style dresses beginning at $120.00 – mine was actually a $30 knock off.) The talk opened with monks who performed for about 35 minutes consisting of atonal moaning and didgeridoo. I can only assume that they were chasing out the evil spirits that surely lurk in the Convention Center, because it literally made my stomach hurt. I was about to have to leave when they finally finished. I barely made it. I would say the highlight was listening to the mayor introduce the Dalai Lama. He gave a heartfelt speech and then presented him with a key to the city. It made me cry a little. It was a bit harder to understand the Lama then I expected and about 35 minutes into his speech the feedback from the live feed began broadcasting over the mike, so that after every sentence there was about a 15 second delay and then the crowd would softly hear what he had just said before. It was confusing, mostly to him, and he remarked “Is that a ghost?” We cut out a bit early because Andy had to work, and we didn’t want to get stuck in the awful traffic. After a quick discussion we decided to give our tickets away for Saturday. I’m very grateful that we had the opportunity to see him, but it was not at all as I expected. I was hoping the whole thing would be a peaceful and inspiring event for Andy, I and the baby, but it turned out to be quite the opposite.