Posts Tagged rebuild Galveston

Yin-yang, thank you, Ma’am

Brooke got up Wednesday morning in a particularly good mood. She was going to show property all day to a couple who had just three weeks to buy, which meant they were serious and would probably make a quick decision. She had emailed them listings to consider in advance, and they had told her which ones they wanted to see. She had a List B, just in case none of those worked out.

She met them at Starbucks and reviewed the game plan for the day. After a real estate primer, they began the tour. Everywhere they went, Brooke saw other agents she knew and they hugged and wished each other Happy Mardi Gras. The feeling of community was palpable. They were all happy to be out and working again. It had been so slow for so long since the storm.

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The difference between Galveston and Haiti

I think I speak for all of Galveston when I say that we’ve had flashbacks this week… flashbacks to September 13, 2008 and the vast media coverage that brought worldwide attention to us as Ike hit and just as quickly moved away, taking the media with it to cover the sudden and apparently unexpected financial crisis that, frankly, escaped our attention entirely.

Because when you’re in crisis, other people’s crises don’t matter all that much, especially when they’re about something as imaginary as Wall Street money.

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The last word…

About six months ago, I posted the story of my friend, Alex, who was in danger of losing his home and car back to the bank because, as a self-employed small business owner in a slow-to-recover-from-Ike industry, he had been turned down for loan modification by both lenders.

Alex asked me to update you on his story, and says this is his last word on the subject.

Alex’s car was repossessed shortly after this story originally ran, and the mortgage company foreclosed in June. The car company sold the car at auction for $20,000 less than Alex owed on it, and the mortgage company is now marketing his former home at $100,000 less than Alex paid for it. Alex wants everyone to see how illogical the system is — when people struck by natural disaster who WANT to do the right thing and fulfill their financial obligations are met with immutable bureaucracies that refuse compromise only to make a significantly better deal, and take a bath, with the next guy. Alex would have been happy to work with both lenders at FULL VALUE if only they had agreed to restructure the debts.

Finally, Alex says he has moved on. It has been almost a year and he feels like he’s finally getting his daily life back under control — even if it is in a borrowed house and borrowed car. He’s grateful for everything he’s learned and can see the light ahead.

In March, he fell in love. That was the best gift of all.

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Copyright © 2009 Alice Melott

Essays by this author can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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Smile though your heart is breaking?

My father, an attorney turned French professor, taught me never to ask a question I didn’t already know the answer to. I find that’s a great cross-examination technique, but a hard way to learn, especially for people who’ve been out of the Ike loop. For instance, I reconnected with a couple of wonderful old friends on Facebook this week, and had to finesse the answer to “What’s new?” Things are really great, but it’s so hard to explain why without diving into the yin of our yang. Such a simple question with such huge bunny trails. So finesse from me these days sounds something like this:

6-bedroom/5+ bath Lasker Home for Homeless Children is on the market for $999,900. Owner says "Bring all offers!"

6-bedroom/5+ bath Lasker Home for Homeless Children is on the market for $999,900. Owner says “Bring all offers!”

This month, Jody & I took a Carnival Cruise that truly was. Then fifteen of her family came down for the weekend, and stayed with me in my office, which is in the Lasker Home for Homeless Children, and is where I live. I cooked some cool stuff I’ve snagged and adapted from The Food Network, like shrimp & grits and tempura fried asparagus. We went to the newly renovated Galveston Country Club for the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet Friday night, and had Sunday brunch at the new Olympia Grill on Harborside. (Scallops on the half shell with wasabi seaweed and soy sauce… Oh, my GAWD!)

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Several random thoughts…

So, you know my new addiction is Facebook, right? If you haven’t been there, I can only tell you that it’s your assumptions and prejudices and ignorance — yes, ignorance — that are holding you back. I’m 50 (almost 51) years old, and two weeks ago I was absolutely certain I was way too cool (and old) for such falderol — and I was as wrong as I’ve ever been in my life. I spent 25 years in high-level professional communications, and this is the single most brilliant social and business communications invention — innovation — I have ever seen. Just do it! It will rock your world. If it doesn’t, write me and I’ll refund your investment.

This last week on Facebook, I was introduced to a concept called “25 Random Thoughts About Me.” You write 25 things about yourself and then invite 25 people close to you to do the same. What comes from it is poetry… and insight… and truth. Don’t think. Just do it. Again, I’ll refund your investment… Read the rest of this entry »

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A visit to Smith Point

Windchimes peel at Smith Point

Windchimes peel at Smith Point

Gail Nash wrote me tonight, saying:

“You asked in your blog about Bolivar, “where did everything go?” Well, for starters, I think a whole lot of it went to Smith Point, including one of the 2 people who escaped Bolivar at the last minute. My brother-in-law and the sheriff found him alive and took care of him! The Nashes have 2 family homes in Smith Point. My sisters-in-law had a permanent home, and the other one is more a fishing place. There were roofs from at least 3 houses in the yard. And Shannon, my brother in law, is using wood that floated on to the property to try to rebuild the house. It was a one story house on blocks that has been there since the 1930’s!

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Here are the rest of Gail’s pictures. They are an unembellished reminder of that which we believed we would not, could not forget… It ain’t over.

 

http://picasaweb.google.com/nursenunn/IkeTheAftermathSmithPointTxPhotosByJayPragueAndHisDaughter?authkey=TW63dHA81qs#

http://picasaweb.google.com/millyuns/SmithPointIke?authkey=FUPDwrgk8Mo

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Copyright © 2009 Alice Melott

Essays by this author can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR from Galveston – Anybody got a hat?

I haven’t told this story before.

On Wednesday, September 10, 2008, I decided to cash in my birthday massage coupon – it being six months old already and all – and since we thought the third storm in a month was headed south of Galveston, I thought what the heck? And if it decided to come closer to us, we still had ‘til Friday to get out. We’re well rehearsed at this stuff, and I deserved an afternoon off.

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“Grow up,” said Ike

 “You live everyday at the beach, yet you take so much for granted. How often do you really stop to count your blessings? Is it enough?

Billy & Ruthi's morning shot

Billy & Ruthi's morning shot

“Do you walk each day along the shore, toes buried in the sand, dreaming your dreams or hunting seashells or solving the world’s problems? Read the rest of this entry »

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I got my future back

My balcony oasis

My balcony oasis

On hearing the results of the recent Presidential election, Gloria Steinem said, “I feel like I got my future back.”

We’re having an “Ike Orphans Potluck Throwdown Thanksgiving Dinner” at my loft this year. I sweep and vacuum and dust away the layers of Ike dust that seem to flake off and grow back like dry skin — plant little violas (the only flowers Home Depot had, and they’re perfect) in my balcony pot garden — re-place the photographs of my friends where I can smile back at them at will — and sing along with the soundtrack of “Mamma Mia,” not caring a lick who hears me…

I feel like I got my future back.

Thank you.

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Copyright © 2009 Alice Melott

Essays by this author can also be read by joining http://www.facebook.com/alicethewriter.

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It’s the little things

This is where we were ten weeks ago:

Keller Williams Galveston after Ike

Keller Williams Galveston after Ike

And here’s what I did today…

It arrived at 11:30 a.m. on a flat-out glorious day at the beach. A little landscaping, a front porch, a big-beautiful sign, and we’ll have a new home.

It may not look like much to you…

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