It's been about a year since our trailer was delivered and almost a year since I first slept in it.
It seems about time I told the story of the first time We stayed there.
In the process of obtaining a trailer we apparently inadvertently gave up the opportunity for FEMA to send us a check every month. Talk about poor communication.
Does anyone recall in the aftermath that FEMA or anyone else explained that you had an option of getting a travel trailer or a monthly stipend? Has anyone had any explanation of the options for families? I have a neighbor who asked if he could get two travel trailers for his family of four. He was told NO! He declined the invitation and was instead sent a check for $10,000+ by FEMA with a promise of more to come.
Later I heard that families could get more than one trailer, although I suspect you would need to have 12 kids to qualify.I have written before about how we obtained our trailer through the early return program, and how I worked to get it set up. I finally got everything hooked up and began sleeping there. I was eagerly anticipating her first visit to the trailer. She had been in Atlanta and except for a couple of quick visits had not even really seen the Trailer.
I was confused. She worked very hard to get the trailer delivered and set up, then She said She wouldn't stay in it. She spent time at her mother's when ever She was in town.
Eventually I guess I wore Her down. Given that we had apparently made our bed and had to lie in it. As much as I appreciated he generosity I just couldn't impose on my mother-in law any more. I treasure my privacy and expect the same of others. My mother taught me that after 3 days guests, like fish, begin to stink. I learned that lesson well.
In eventually I got a tentative "I might stay in the trailer". I decided to go all out. I think she needed a romantic diner prepared in the Trailer with linen napkins and table cloths. I thought we needed a candle lit dinner.
I had some crystal candle holders we salvaged for the house. I also had already procured (some surreptitiously salvaged) stainless steel tableware and some almost forgotten unused china, which resulted from an aborted venture in Florida.
All I had to do was go shopping for some linens, prepare a menu and hide my anxiety.
The Linens were relatively easy, only a few places were open the (it was early December). Kmart was open and close by so was Big Lots. They were closest to the Trailer. I visited both. At Big Lots I bought some blue candles and some decent towels to supplement the thin, small FEMA towels. At Kmart I bought a Martha Stewart table cloth and napkin set. I was almost set.
I also had the salvaged Baccarat Champagne flutes and obviously need some Champagne to go with them. That was easy enough. The the menu was harder. I had yet to come up with any decent pots and was limited to the FEMA supplied Coleman camping set.
Dinner would be a simple affair, a simple green salad, baked pork chops and a microwave vegetable. The pork chops were a recipe I had started using when going to pick her up at the airport. The long baking time allows for a trip there and back.
Her flight was in the evening. We generally travel in the evening, if possible, to avoid the impact of delays and to get the most out of the work day. I set off to pick her up in the dark, with the table set pork chops in the oven and Champagne in the fridge.
I wasn't sure she would let me take her to the trailer. I was the only person living within several blocks and the ride home was pretty scary in the night. block after block of unlighted houses with about half of the street lights out.
Fortunately coming from the airport you can get to out house down West along Robert E. Lee and since parts of Lakeshore, Lake Vista and Lake Terrace had not flooded that route didn't look so bad, although many many people had not yet returned even to Metarie and although things were definitely better in Metarie it was still dark dark dark.
I needn't have worried, everything turned out just fine.