This is my Home: a View from the River

This past weekend Mr Bama's parents were in town for a short visit.  I always love when people from out of town visit because:
  1. we get some QT with people we love spending time with but never get to see
  2. we get to play tourist in our own city
Mr. Bama was in charge of plans for what to do the Saturday they were visiting.  So being one for adventure (and conspiring with his dad) he decided to get tickets for a river boat cruise along the Missisippi River.  Quite frankly, it was awesome to see NOLA and the riverfront this way
St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square and the
Moonwalk from the Mississippi

The Jackson Barracks


The Beauregard house at Chalmette Battlefield (where
Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans)

Mr Bama & I on the Creole Queen


You can do it, (just don't) put your back into it

Today I write you from the rather loopy world of vicodin and muscle relaxers, so I apoloize if nothing in the following post make sense or if I ramble.  It's been an interesting 48 hours, to say the least.  One minute I'm happily pain and worry free, the next I'm on the phone asking my husband if he would kindly come pick me up and take me to the ER.  Oh how things can change in the course of a second.

I'm of the school where if there's no pain, there's no gain.  I played countless high school and college lacrosse games with a newly bandaged sprained ankle -- I even played a lacrosse game in high school less than 24 hours after getting my head stitched up from a wayward stick hitting me in the forehead during practice the day prior.  This was part of life and it didn't bug me in the least.  "Just give me something to get rid of the pain and let me back in the game" was my mantra.  Perfectly okay when you're an 18 year year old, not okay when you're 27, apparently.  I was lifting a couple boxes (nothing too heavy) when on my way up I felt a tightness in my back and then it hit me -- a stabbing pain more unbearable than anything I've ever felt before (yes, moreso than the stick to the head or the night i broke my nose).  My first thought: "Oh.My.Gosh, I just threw out my back -- I'm 27 going on 57."  I was able to make it over to the phone and call my husband, who gallantly left work, picked me up and whisked me off to the ER. Well, more like he pushed my wheely chair to the door b/c I couldnt walk and then all but picked me up and carried me to the car b/c i was in so much pain. Thankfully, he switched vehicles before picking me up, because I don't know if in my condition I would have survived the 5 minute trip riding in this:
Mr Bama's 1978 Jeep CJ-5 when we bought it last January.
So the last time I was in this ER was the night Mr. Bama was bit by a dog when we were whisked in to see a Dr. almost immediately after we arrived.  WELL, apparently Tuesday nights are less crazy than Monday days, according to the nurse who finally saw us 2 hours after we arrived.  Her suggestion: "you picked a hell of a day to get injured. Never get injured on a Monday, they're our worst days"  Advice that definitely came much later than needed -- I'll remember from here on to remind my body to hold off on any craziness until Tuesdays.  Hunched over in my wheelchair (pathetic doesn't' even begin to explain it...) i could only semi-muster a grin on the nurse's comment.
Anywho, 3 hours later and with shots of pain reliever & high test pain meds,  I was feeling amazing.  One nurse asked how I was and I said something along the lines of "I feel Spectacular!"  At least that what I thought I said.  The nurse just looked at Mr. Bama and then back at me and mentioned something about a buzz and getting some sleep.  My thoughts were "sleep!? why would I sleep when I feel so wonderful!?"  20 minutes and one fabulous nap later, I was at home eating a wendy's frosty and reclining on my couch.  I made it through the night, only waking up once b/c my meds had worn off, and yesterday I was able to walk semi straight without any real pain.  I can't stand up from sitting down very easily nor can i turn or crouch down.  The good news is that the Doctor thinks I just sprained my back.  But since chronic back pain runs in my family, I'm not taking any chances and I'm taking everything one teensy tiny (and painful) step at a time.

Lessons learned from this experience:
  • I'm a terrible patient (b/c i have no patience. ha!)
  • when picking a spot to "relax," make sure you like said spot, b/c you're going to be there for a while.
  • everything tastes good when you're on vicodin
  • pain quickly morphs into boredom when you're stuck in the house not doing anything but "resting."  My back may feel broke, but I assure you my mind is far from that.  
  • there is much truth to my mom saying "lift with your legs! not with your back!"  Sorry mom.
  • if theres a time for the Dog to puke up on your rug, it will right after your husband leaves for work, so you alone are the only one to clean it up.  Choose between smelling dog upchuck for 8 hours or getting on your hands and knees to clean - thus pushing your recovery back by about a 1/2 a day.  Guess which one I chose.  Neither option is pretty, I assure you.
Well, in conclusion, i must say that this Valentine's Day definitely goes down in history as one of the most interesting, for sure.  Nothing says Valentines Day like a trip to the ER and super duper pain relievers.


This is My Home: Our Journey of Places

I must admit, my absolute favorite part of living in New Orleans is our house.  Yes, it's small, yes it was subjected to awful renovations in the 90s and some shoddy repair work, but my goodness it is perfect for our little family right now.  When we moved here (Mr. Bama in May 09, me in Oct '09) we lived in such an awful place.  It was listed as "lower Garden District luxury living."  However, after living there a few months we knew we had to get the heck out of there - at least from a construction/design standpoint.  I surely will never forget the kitchen that was thissmall, the lack of any garbage deposit anywhere within a 1/2 mile of our unit (I would have been laughed out of grad school if I had presented a project that had this place's layout... awful), our teeeennny tiny balcony, unique wiring (our cable was hooked up - to an outlet in our closet) and our, um, "interesting" neighbors.  So when our awesome 3 month lease was almost up, I began the search for a truly New Orleans home.  We knew that being given the opportunity to live in this amazing city was a gift, so living in a place that gave us a unique experience was essential.  Also, my Historic Preservation and old home loving soul was just screaming out to live in a pre-WWII house while living in this city (interesting side note: this is the first time in my life I've lived in a building that wasn't new construction or a product of the 1960s.  To say I've been quality, old home deprived is an understatement).  Before I knew it,  November had crept up and I was banging my head against the wall for a few weeks, only finding affordable places on Craigslist that were:
  1. located in highly questionable areas (VERY important note in New Orleans.)
  2. last renovated / cleaned in 1960.  Retro yes, but not in a good way, and they weren't much better than the apt where we were living.
It wasn't until we were driving home from yet another less-than-thrilling apartment showing when we passed a late 1900's, early 1910's converted double shotgun house with a "for rent" sign out front.  I made Mr. Bama pull over and I jumped out of the car and started calling the number on the sign.  The landlady picked up, walked right over from her house and gave us a viewing right then and there.  I was in love and Mr. Bama was really happy with the Uptown location.  Few days later, we had put down a deposit and were starting the move.
Now, a year and 2 months later, I am still in love with our home.  We were allowed, by our amazing landlady, to paint the house to fit our preferences, and the place went from pretty old house, to the pretty old Bama house.

Now, It definitely has its fair share of quirkiness, especially when it comes to the bathrooms:
walk-through-sized guilliontine windows.  I worked at prying this bad
boy open for 2 months after we moved in.  Lesson - never
EVER paint windows shut.

our creativity-demanding guest bathroom door, with windows, of course.
our master bathroom partition is on a mission to bring square
glass blocks back into fashion, circa early 90s style
But it also has its fair share of awesomeness
the hardware on the pocket doors.  It's craftmansship and detail like
this that you never find in the "throw them up in a month"
houses of today.  Cool note: The little latch in the middle
 is actually a key that can be used to lock the pocket doors and
 then taken out and stored.  really unique.
exposed rafters in the kitchen - perfect for defying the laws of gravity
and taking one's life into their hands every time they enter the kitchen

But it also has its fair share of awesomeness:
Transom windows (that are workable).  We has a serious airflow
problem when we moved in - after prying all of these open,
no more problem!  Such a simple concept,
yet one thats so incredibly overlooked
And probably one of the things I love the most is what I see when I wake up every morning.  The bottom portion of our big bay windows is covered with plantation shutters -- we dont have to have shades, but we still have privacy.  This is the view from our bedroom window:

doesnt seem like much, but I love being greeted by the pretty blue sky every morning without having to exert any effort.  Its truly the simple things!


Project: This is My Home

Some exciting news has come down the pipe here in the Bama household.  Ok - exciting AND nerve wracking wrapped into one lovely little package.

I'm not sure if i mentioned it in the past, but Mr. Bama's job requires him to move every 2-3 years.  Promotion or jobs don't change this fact, so until he decides to completely leave his profession, we'll be picking up and moving to another part of the country every few years.  Unfortunately this means that our time in New Orleans is up come April -- a fact that crushes me to the core.  New Orleans was a dream assignment that so many people in Mr. Bama's profession NEVER have an opportunity to experience.  However, we were given the opportunity to call this  amazing city home for a little, and during that time we got to see the inner-working of a city that really suffers from being misunderstood.  So many people think it is a drunken fest (yes, if you're in the FQ), a city where crime is rampant (yes, in some parts), a city that is gluttonous or a city where you party 24-7 (once again, true in the FQ).  But it is so much more than that and has stolen my heart.

So I'm beginning a project that I welcome any of my fellow bloggers and followers to partake in on their own way - whether their blogs, their facebook albums, their twitter accounts, etc.  Its called Project: This is My Home.  Over the next few months I'm going to be photo/video documenting my home, my neighborhood, my city .. the things I see everyday that Ive never quite taken much note of but know that I will miss when I leave New Orleans.  And I plan on doing this at every place I live -- because in my life my home will be a collection of where I live and where I have lived - the people I have met, the sights I've experienced, the little things that I've never noticed until I stopped and looked around.
So what makes where you live YOUR home?

PS - I'll be releasing where we're moving soon once it's more solidified.  Its about 95% sure, but theres always the 5% chance that something will change, so I've decided to keep it underwrap until we're positive!


If someone breaks your heart

I have to admit - 2011 has been a rough year (yes, i know its only February) so far, filled with professional frustrations & questions, worry about where we're going to be in a few months, and difficulty balancing work with being a good wife and a good friend.  Much of the frustration has stemmed from being let down by people around me -- and it doesn't matter if its personal or professional, getting your hopes up on a promise and it falling through or it being neglected is still the equivalent of having your heart broken.  I was conveying my frustration to my ever amazing friend Misa earlier in the day yesterday, her patiently listening to my tales of ups and downs.  I came home from work and found this tidbit in my inbox.  Serious at first, I found myself laughing a little at the end. 

If someone breaks your heart, just punch them in the face.
Oh sure, it seems obvious now, but you’d be amazed at how many people don’t think of it when it’s relevant.
Seriously, punch them in the face and go get some ice cream.
--Chuck Klosterman
Needless to say, no punching was involved yesterday, but I did go get some ice cream.  Theres nothing some Creole Creamery or Pinkberry won't cure, at least temporarily.
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