Saturday, February 14th ~~
About midway through Saturday morning, a growing concern we all were having becomes what we believe to be reality, and that is, for all of everyone's efforts, this home may not be salvageable... We find several areas of wood rot, insect infestation and serious water damage; the bathroom floor and wall is literally ready to cave in. It is dangerous and I ask the Iowans not to work in the bathroom area. Dave and Tom aren't sure what to do. I call Maggie to see what sort of inspection was done. She tells me that it was just the initial inspection, and that a deeper, more thorough inspection is needed to determine the next steps. Our work is almost done. We decide, however, to finish what we started... we don't want to leave bits and pieces of wallboard hanging off the walls and ceilings, as it seems in a strange way to be disrespectful.
The owner wants us to remove the bathtub. It is cast iron & he has a salvage guy who will pay him for all the scrap metal. So, we do go back into the bathroom and it takes six of us to get the bathtub out through the back door, the shortest route through the house. We do this wondering if at some point we and the bathtub will fall through the rotting floors, but we make it!
Since we don't feel we can continue to work on the house until we get some official word by the city or other official, we call it a day and head back to the WTEC... but first, we clean up as much gutting debris in the house as we can and we clean up the front yard. If the house has to be taken down, then our work is most likely done, but we still want to leave things as 'tidy' as possible. This is more a metaphor than what is reality. We are disappointed, because we had hoped that we could have finished the gutting and perhaps even have had a small hand in the first steps in rehabbing. Dave & Tom, the site guys, think the house is salvageable, but we and they shall now have to wait and see..
We will move on to a new project on Monday, but the owners will continue to live with waiting and seeing what an inspector says, waiting and seeing about Armando's cancer and its treatment, waiting and seeing what will happen next in their lives... waiting and seeing just like their many other Galveston friends, neighbors and fellow citizens, just like the thousands of folks in Louisiana and Mississippi, in Kentucky and back home in Iowa.
On Saturday evening, we go to Seawall Drive. We eat, have a beer or two and watch the first of the Galveston Mardi Gras parades. This isn't New Orleans or Mobile, but the Galvestonians are bent on having a celebration. It isn't wild and the folks who catch beads give them to children and even to some of us shorter adults. Obviously, we are visitors and the locals smile, joke and talk with us. And then, for a few minutes, hurricanes, floods and lives changed forever are forgotten and drowned out by the raucous noisy high school bands, shouts for beads and recorded jazz music blaring from the colorful floats of the parade. There is a determination to party on!
There is a homeless guy living outside the back door, who adds yet another layer, another dimension to our experience here. We'd like to feed him, but when another group did it, it apparently caused some issues... as in his trying to move in. He seems to have enough money to eat at Micky D's (about four blocks from here) as well as chain smoke... and then there are the cats. Sue likes feeding them...