Earlier in the week I was working on some smutty things when my landlord’s goon started pounding on my door. He said the landlord sent him over to ‘kick the door down’ so I offered him some water and tried to negotiate a situation where that didn’t happen. He tried to talk me into opening the door cause the landlord wanted an additional $4000 out of the blue, or he wanted his house back. After considering my options I told the goon I was not going to open up the door since it was his job to kick it in. It seemed like helping him would be cheating. Also I wanted to know how strong my bolts were. With tools and mussel it took him over an hour. When he did get in he started putting my stuff out on the street, then he put it in his truck and drove away. Thankfully they only took stuff from the front part of the house ‘as a warning.’ Since then I have been frantically trying to pack my things and get them to a safer location.
If you find yourself asking ‘what the hell?” let me assure you that landlords in New Orleans are really classy folks who understand the intricacies of the legal process and find it far more effective to take the law into their own hands. Despite the fact that I have a lease that runs through March he decided he wanted to shake me down for a little scratch. It was unethical and rude but it is the sort of thing that happens in the big sleazy. Yes, I could sue him. No, I am not going to. I’m just going to move. Then I’m gonna go talk to my council members down at city hall. This is such a common sort of occurrence that the city council has been looking at ways to curtail slum lords from retaliating agains tenants. This is not California or New York. Tenants have no rights here at all. So I’m moving. Again.
I have been meditating for stability in my life quite a lot recently. So when this happened I assumed it was not random. I expect that some things I need to work on in my life — namely getting grounded and building a permanent home for me to stay more than a few years — I assumed that this goon was only a manifestation of the hard work I have been doing to get my head straightened out and my life stabilized.
I didn’t stop him from kicking the door in. I could have pointed a gun at him and told him to come back with eviction papers and the sheriff, instead I offered him water and made a plan to find a new place to live. I tried to be as peaceful as I could without actually letting him in. I mean he had a specific task — kick the door down. I didn’t want to interfere with his work. I did call my landlord while all this was happening only to be told that they were storming the shack to take it back, that it belonged to them and they wanted it. Or I could pay his extortion rate. I was having none of that.
The house I have been living in has Chinese drywall, cancer of the house. Because of the drywall (which off gasses and corrodes metal) the coper in the electrical system has totally corroded, almost burning the house down several times. The drywall is also responsible for the almost complete lack of plumbing — the bathtub drains immediately under the house, the sinks go past an elbow before they drain under the house too. The drywall situation is so intense that appliances get more or less eaten when they come into the house. Two massive air conditioning units sit on the roof, coils completely rusted out. The shack has not had a stove during the two years I lived in it, and I had the privilege of watching three refrigerators rust out. Three.
In addition to the structural problems that Chinese drywall causes to a house, it also causes health problems. After all the health issues I was having when I was healthy I was ready to overlook a blistery rash I have had since the first week I moved into the house, writing it off as a sun allergy. When it spread to my face recently I wondered if it was cancer or a zit. Having never had acne I just didn’t know. Then I looked at the side effects of living in a house with this drywall. Oh dear.
And as if all that wasn’t enough my sweet little cat has developed respiratory problems. She coughs and gasps like she has asthma. It is very concerning.
About a month ago I started noticing a stinky fart smell when I would come inside. I assumed my house guest had gas but when they departed the house still stunk. It was getting worse. When Chinese drywall off gasses it releases a sulfuric compound that smells like rotten eggs, rotten cabbage — farts. One night it got to be so foul I had to leave and go for a midnight bike ride just to get away from it.
I am staying in New Orleans but I am moving out of the river shack.
I am selling some kinky stuff I have kept in storage.
Giving away most of my furniture.
I am only taking my cat, my manuscript, and my dignity. I am moving to a house with different and less serious problems. I am tired of swamp monsters living under my house. Mosquitos, snakes, opossums, and rats constantly scurrying around the edges of my life. The River Shack was a lovely little place for me to learn to think clearly. It is right on the bank of the Mississippi River. There are hundred year old oak trees in the front yard. The neighbors are delightful family folks who grew up in the houses they currently live in. I have really enjoyed living in this area and would not hesitate to continue living here, if the house was not trying to kill me. My physical and emotional health are demanding that I live somewhere with indoor plumbing. This is not the worst thing that could have happened.