Just a little advice

I haven’t told this story because frankly it hurts and it is painful. To me anyway. But it’s time to let go and get over it in some way.

I have never owned my own home. Always been a dream of mine (up bringing I guess, who knows where our wants and desires come from) since I started working. My goal was to own my own place with a nice porch and some space to entertain in the back. The inside? Yeah that’s important but I want to sit on my front porch and drink coffee and read the paper in the morning and BBQ and drink beer with friends in the back. That’s all I want. Or wanted.

Well the years went by, city to city, state to state. Never found the city that was like New Orleans. Ever. Been to many great places, lived in wonderful cities. But they were not home. I waited for the opportunity to come back.

April 2002 I got the chance to return. I got the offer to run 690 AM in town. Didn’t care that the station was news talk and I had no experience at news talk. Didn’t matter. It was New Orleans. It was home.

The station was a disaster. No ratings. A complete and utter mess. Worse radio station I have ever heard. EVER. Anyway, not about the station but my energy was focused there for a long time.

January 2005 the station had gotten to the point where it was solid. Yeah still tons of work to do, tons of bridges to rebuild (the wacko who ran it before was insane and at one point had David Duke doing a talk show) but we were getting there. And I was staying no matter what. So I started looking for a house to buy. One I could call my own.

Took a while but I found what I finally thought would be home. Now I have made tons of mistakes in my personal life, this would be a 60 page post if I went there but suffice to say, I’m not rich by any means and my credit stinks. But I had saved and scrimped to be able to buy a starter home in real estate terms.

Here’s where the title comes into play. Just a little advice. Don’t attempt to buy a home during hurricane season. Ever.

Jumping through hoops, throwing my life savings around to get this checked and that checked and oh we forgot this is gonna cost you this amount was rough. But that’s what saving is for right. Anyway this I guess is the killer. I could look at it a different way but I don’t wanna. I want to look at it from what I lost. The house checked out, everything was solid, good property etc…Insurance all set ready to go just show up at the closing Mr. Frazier with your checkbook and you’ll be ready to go. So I had my checkbook all ready to go, hell I had even signed the thing without knowing what amount they would need. Just one problem. The closing was scheduled for August 29, 2005.

Yeah that obviously didn’t happen. I was at the radio station talking to terrified residents trapped in their attics on that day. And they couldn’t swim.

Yeah I know I should be happy I didn’t close on Friday August 26th 2005 like I was pressuring everyone to do. All I would “own” now is a slab where a house once stood. And of course all the money and savings and cost associated with getting ready to buy the house are gone. So it’s back to square one. When I got back to town full time, I went and got a PJ’s coffee and sat on that slab and drank the best tasting coffee I’ve ever had. And cried and cried and cried just like I’m doing now.

11 Comments so far

  1. Craig (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 9:24 pm

    Ah, hell Dan. All you did was get some firsthand experience. You scrimp, you save, you finally get yourself in position and, um…..bang.

    You’ve lost some money and, obviously, a little time. I spent 15 years in radio and another 15 or so in the wire service business and I’ve learned, mainly, that everything is cyclical and it all comes around again. It’s just that next time, jumping through all the hoops won’t be as much of a hassle or a surprise. I can gripe it up as good as the next guy and curse the Gods Of Fate with the best of them. But ain’t nothin’ a decent shot of rum (or coffee) can’t cure.

    As far as what nature brings us — ain’t no predicting that. I figure as long as I get One More Day — it’s all I need.

    You’re in the arena and be proud of that. It’s more than many can say and more than too many can hope for.

  2. roux (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

    At least the closing wasn’t Aug 28 2005. Then you’d be stuck.

  3. Ann (unregistered) on June 29th, 2006 @ 10:56 pm

    I don’t feel your pain – but I can empathize with the best. :-) We are in our third home (not to brag – due to moves not desire or credit worthiness) and the one I long for the most after all the apartments and dorm rooms and motgages later – is the first. What sold me on it – not the light (which was fabulous) or the location (which was ideal for a cool, trendy, arty 20-something couple), or the yard (which was a canvas for the right van Gogh) but the black wrought iron porch – in the words of my husband – it was “so New Orleans.”

    sigh – I understand and share your tears for the first time.

    I’ll buy you a beer to cry into next time I’m down. :-)


  4. Mindy (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 12:24 am

    “I could look at it a different way but I don’t wanna. I want to look at it from what I lost.”

    You really ought to look at it from what you didn’t lose — everything you owned. Your baby pictures. Your high school report cards. Each clipping from the newspaper with your name on it. Your dead sister’s belongings. Your high school. Your clothes. Your shoes. Your diary. Your love letters. Your plates. Your earrings. Your family recipes. Your cookbooks. Every book.

    You didn’t lose anything. Some money. Big whoop. You were lucky. Think about how lucky you are, and don’t cry — another house will come along. It did for me, and it will for you too.

  5. Dan F (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 5:41 am

    Ummmm no Mindy, the shotgun I was renting was ruined as well. I evacuated afterward with 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of flip flops and 2 cats. Thank God I brought the cats to the station. But thanks for the thought.

  6. Covingtongirl (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 8:10 am

    i wish i could give you words of ease. loss stinks, on ANY level. I never knew what loss was till the storm came. stay strong my friend. and know that your not alone. do what u need to do to get to a calm place in your mind.

  7. Todd 10-30 (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 9:18 am


    It sucks. No doubt about it.

    My wife and I moved to New Orleans in the month of May just before the storm. We moved here to be close to her father.

    We closed on the house February 11th, and her father died February 20th. We decided that because we owned the house now, we’d continue with the plan. Moved in on May 23, left just before the storm, and haven’t been back in that house since.

    My advice, it only hurts if you let it.

  8. Maitri (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 10:41 am

    A corollary to the piece of advice from Todd: Let it hurt. The tears remind you that you’re human. I lost a home and friends 15 years ago and the pain continues to ebb and flow to this day. The emotional upheavals since Katrina don’t seem to decrease in amplitude or frequency, either, and, guess what – they’ll be with you for a long time. As long as you are that human and care for your home and people, it will be there.

    Let it flow, Dan, let it flow. Time and tears don’t heal all and permanently, but they are great, great therapy.

    Big hug.

  9. Editor B (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 11:59 am

    Damn, that is brutal.

    Us, we bought our house back in 2002. There was a one-day window where you could get homeowner’s insurance between Isidore and Lili, and we managed it. And it’s worked out pretty well, except for that of course we got flooded like just about everybody else when the levees failed. Ah well.

  10. Breny (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 1:44 pm

    Dan, let the tears flow. You have to grieve the loss just like any other loss. Some people can just suck it up and stuff it down, others need to immerse themselves in the sadness to get past it. I’m one of the latter. Sounds like you are too. Just make sure that you are getting past the sadness and don’t get stuck in it. If you can’t see a way out, get professional help.

    You did it once, you can do it again. I’ll believe it for you until you can believe it for yourself.


  11. Laurie (unregistered) on June 30th, 2006 @ 3:45 pm

    Dan, Geaux meditate in your house….


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