Monday, April 30, 2007


Well, sorry for the lack of updates. I guess I tend to take the weekends off as I'm not usually near a computer long enough to type much. Strange, the changes in lifestyle one goes through when one gets a high maintenance dog.

Kayla and I went to JazzFest on Saturday and had a great time. I say "great" because: a) our tickets were free; and b) we had access to the Shell VIP area via our Broadmoor particiapation. Let me tell you, free food, the draft on cable, air conditioning, and an open bar go a long way towards making JazzFest Awe. Some. As evil as Shell is, and as much of the coastal wetlands as they've destroyed through saltwater intrusion, they know how to throw a party.

Still no luck on the apartment front, but we may have a couple leads. Hopefully one of them will turn out well. 20 days and counting!

In a major RHP development, we got called on Friday to schedule our closing appointment. Supposedly at 2:15 Thursday, we're going to close on our RHP grant and two weeks hence it will be sitting in our bank account. I'll believe it when I see it, but it would take some creativity on their part to screw it up now. Of course, I don't put it past them in the least.

Finally, if you're in the area, or lived here pre-K, please take this survey. You never know when you'll need data!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Of nice emails and bad smells.

We got an email passed on to us from Stephanie Bruno, the writer of our InsideOut series. Apparently, the mother of a former owner caught the article and has been following our progress. It was kind of neat to see that even a former owner of the house still feels some connection to it. We invited her for a tour, hope she likes what we've done (or rather, will do) with the place!

Charlie is supposed to start today, but we'll see if that actually happens. At this point, finding another place to live is the priority. I toured the French Quarter candidate yesterday, and was optimistic. Unfortunately, the place smelled a bit too "cat pee" for my tastes. You may know how Kayla and I feel about cat pee. My dog park mafia associate said he had some other places that might work out, so I'll keep on it.

The horrible dumpster in front of Walter's house got moved, we're wondering who did it. Ah, the little mysteries that make life interesting, right?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Another day.

Well, Charlie & Co. are supposed to start tomorrow. We have the second floor cleaned out completely now, so we don't have to fool with the house for awhile. In perhaps a month we'll have a better idea of what steps are next, and maybe we'll even have our Road Home money by then...har har.

Short post today, but there really isn't much to update with. We may have a lead on an apartment in the French Quarter and a house in Broadmoor...I'll know more later today. I'm not sure, if we have the choice of either, which we'd pick. I mean, life in the FQ is pretty nice, and the apartment is right next door to the dog park. Pretty nice for The Beeb! On the other hand, a three bedroom house would be pretty nice too! We'll see.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sounds like someone has a case of the Mondays

Another busy weekend, and another T-P article. Whilst Kayla studied, I took The Beeb to doggie class on Saturday (she just loves doing agility stuff...she can't do it fast enough), and started cleaning out the second floor in anticipation of work beginning Wednesday. With some help from Jonathan O, and Neilsey (or Jorge, his laborer name), the second floor is pretty much taken care of. We were able to pretty much fill up a 5x10' storage unit with just our leftover crap. I shudder to think what we'd have to do if we can't find another place to rent in less than a month. I suppose get a bigger storage unit.

I ended up having to throw out a perfectly good MDF Wal-Mart desk that I had put together for Kayla a couple years ago. At first I was bothered about doing so, when I realized we had thrown out much nicer stuff after the storm. What's a $75 Wal-Mart desk? So, out the second floor window it went.

The Beeb has a date with the vet this afternoon to check up on her formerly broken toe. This works out kind of well because she gets all doped up and is chill for the rest of the day. She's so much nicer when she's sleepy and not biting us.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Good news, bad news

We got an email from the landlady yesterday informing us she had good news and bad news. The good news was that she had talked to the Sewer and Water Board and they had fixed the water bill she had disputed. Phew! Oh, and the bad news (for us, anyway), is that the apartment is under contract and we have to be out by May 19th. Oh, and there will still be random, with little to no forewarning, showings, so keep it tidy! So, now we're back to finding a place to live while the house is worked on. Good luck finding a short-term lease that will allow The Beeb (although, how could you not want a dog as cute as her hanging around?). Hey, what's one more thing, right? I'm starting to feel like Giles Corey ("more weight!"). Bet you didn't expect an Arthur Miller reference this morning, did you?

In other news, on the way to our cars this morning, some drunk asshole hits me as I'm giving his friend directions to a FQ bar that's open at 8:00a.m. Turns out he thought I was "pointing" at him when I was directing them back toward Bourbon. K and I were unharmed, 911 was called, and said asshole will at least spend a few hours at OPP, and perhaps even get one of the world famous baloney sandwiches. One of the arresting officers called me to tell me that the defendant is going to Iraq tomorrow and his girlfriend had left him (gee, I wonder why?). While if true that sucks, perhaps I'm crazy in thinking that doesn't give him license to cold-cock me out of nowhere? Oh, right, try to make *me* feel bad because I called the cops on a drunk tourist who, unprovoked, assaulted a local. Why else would this guy (or the cop) relate all this information but for trying to make everyone feel bad for poor him. It's discouraging to see the NOPD spouting the same well-I-have-an-excuse-for-being-a-shitbag reasoning I read from pro se inmates every day. Except it's supposed to somehow be different when it's a black purse-snatching crack addict. Not as much tolerance there, right? According to his friend, this gentleman had been an asshole and starting shit all night.

Yesterday I also had a strange conversation with a guy a Broadmoor neighbor had called me about. Apparently, two guys were walking around the house, taking pictures, and banging on the trailer door. Allegedly they are appraisers for the Road Home, and they are re-appraising our house. When I told him the RHP has done this TWICE already, he told me those were just unqualified adjusters. Since January 2007, ICF is now hiring appraisers to reevaluate houses because the previous ones had been low. Now, we're both happy with our award as is. I don't see this turning out well, but I hope I'm wrong.

To end on a positive note, The Beeb is feeling much better and went to the dog park for the first time in a month. I think she's grown in that time because she seems bigger than some of the other "regulars." She played and had a gay old time, but got tired quickly because she's a little out-of-shape now. We better cut back on the treats!

You know, if you're new to the blog and/or us, you may think I'm nothing but doom and gloom. Lately, you'd be right. Good stuff does happen to us, really it does. We recognize it when it happens and appreciate it (The Beeb being a prime example). It's just hard to stay upbeat when life has been a harder-than-average slog for what's approaching two years. I've always been something of an Eeyore, but Kayla is becomming less Tigger-ish. Hopefuly we can get this turned around.

Who says I'm ALL doom and gloom.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My soapbox.

In a non-rebuilding related rant, our hero self-absorbedly blogs about current events.

I tend to agree showing the VT shooter video this soon is pointless at best, and ghoulish at worst (assuming anyone cares what I agree with). While NBC's justification was to show it to "help prevent future horrors" by letting people "see the warning signs," I can't see how that, or any other, positive purpose is served here. I mean, the guy was bat-shit crazy. There's no real insight into the pathology of the "dark loner" in an unfiltered, psychotic rant against "the rich people" and women. If you saw this guy on the street doing this, you'd pretty much figure to stay the hell away from him. The trick is that these folks don't do this stuff in public, and it's only after the shooting rampage does anyone discover these videos. Moreover, for 33 families, this is probably the most disrespectful thing any network could do. They fake a good game about being somber and solemn with their sad music introing the Today show..but c'mon. Stop assuming all of us are that stupid.

What showing the video does do, however, is serve as another scathing indictment against the VT campus police, and building/campus security in general. This guy had time to stop at the campus post office and send this stuff *between* bloodbaths? Moreover, an email blast? Really, was that the best they could do? Sadly, probably so. Lemme get on my preparedness soapbox for second. If a crazed shooter walked into your building or place of employment right now, is there any way for you to find out what's going on without having to see or hear it yourself? Probably not. As much as I detest the IT department here, one nice feature of our super fancy digital phones is the ability to broadcast over the speakerphone part. Now, do they have protocols in place to use it as a warning device? I'd doubt it. Still, it's nice to think the capability is there. That's why I guess we need to get the Broadmoor SMS system up and running...the emergency preparedness committee better get on that. Oh, wait, that's right....

UPDATE: Wow, this is pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Another day.

Not much to report today, really. Look for another article in the T-P this weekend, with a photo even. The reporter saw the blog and that we got our letter and thought an update was in order. This is also the case because we signed with contractor #2 yesterday. He's supposed to start next week, so we have to finish clearing out the second floor of everything remaining. He's going to have to take out a good bit of drywall in order to inspect the structural damage caused by the gross negligence of James Kim and CMC Construction, Inc.

Kayla and I also spoke with a playright last night who is doing background for a play she's writing about New Orleanians and their Katrina experiences. I'll keep everyone posted as to how that's coming along and when you can start lining up at the TKTS in New York.
We were planning on going to the Wednesday at the Square this afternoon, but I won't be able to because of a Broadmoor meeting I forgot about. As Super Secretary of the BDC, I kind of have to go to these, especially since I found out about it in January. Oh well, there will be other Wednesdays and other batches of fried pickles.

You know, I haven't included a non-sequitur picture of The Beeb in, why not?

This is her, "I'm about to be very, very bad" face.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I'm SOOOOO relieved

Thank goodness Warren Riley is finally going to stop the rampant crime in this city by putting the stretched police force where it's needed. I can rest easy now.

In other news, the decider is showing his support. It's great to see he will make the command decision to quickly interact with Americans who, in a time of great distress, need him.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

As a side note, I stumbled across this picture whilst perusing Google images. Nice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The novelty has not yet worn off...

Greetings all. A pretty good and productive weekend was had by Kayla and I. We took The Beeb to her first intermediate obedience class, and she did pretty well. We found out it also has some elements of agility training, which she took to super quick. It also served to get her pretty tired out for the rest of the weekend. We did FQF for most of Sunday, and got a little sun in the process. The Beeb enjoyed it as well, and got scads of attention, just like she likes. If only the weather stayed that nice all the time.

Also, on Saturday we saw on our porch a letter-sized FedEx package. Wouldn’t you know, we got our magical "golden ticket." Now, all we have to do is fill it out, mail it back, and wait another few months to hear about closing. Hooray! At least with this stage, I have the phone number and email address of someone in "constituent services" to keep an eye on. Hopefully that may help. It's getting mailed off today, so wish us luck!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hooray for Friday

Short post today as it's really nice outside and FQF is going on. The RHP has promised they're FedExing me our options letter (but didn't say when we'd get it), and they've faxed an "unoffiicial" copy yesterday. The number are the same as they were in December, so what the resolutions team person told me about them being "adjusted" and that same was the cause of the delay was yet another lie. I'm shocked. Looking up prices for Rangiroa now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

What really matters.

As far as the LRA goes, when it comes right down to it, as long as I don't become this guy, I'm doing ok.

Faxed off the stupid forms to the road home people yesterday I expect the money to be deposited by 3pm today. Everyone needs to let us know how much vanilla and how many black pearls they want us to send them back from the Tuamotus.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I sent this email to the Road Home higher-ups, as well as my state senator and representative. I tried to find Aunt Kathy's email, but couldn't get ahold of it.

To whom it might concern:

My name is Adolph Voigt, and my applicant ID is listed above in the subject line. I have had an ongoing nightmare trying to get my Road Home options letter than has led me to this point. This is my last communication to the Road Home Program (RHP) until (or, more to the point, if) I get some form of response. While my story has been detailed to some degree in the Times Picayune, (e.g., I figure it would be worthwhile to give you a relatively brief run down.

I applied for the program in August 2006. My intake interview was around Oct. 12, and my first inspection was 10 business days later. My options letter went to "generated" in the last few days of November, presumably to coincide with the Governor's decree that ICF put out 10,000 letters by the end of the month. A week or so later, I was informed by someone in the Benefits department that the letter was going out "that day." I was also told what my award would be. I am happy with my award, and I only wish to go to closing. Shortly after the call to benefits, I was contacted by a "quality control" inspector who met me at my house two days later to reinspect my house. This all happened by mid-December.

In early January 2007, I emailed the Road Home inquiry email address seeking information. The response I got was solely concerned with finding out who told me my award, not with actually helping me.

After many unsuccessful phone attempts to find out what happened to my letter, I was unwittingly transferred to the resolutions team who theretofore I had been told could only be reached by mail. I was informed by "George" at the end of January that he would send a request to a case manager to resolve the issue. Later in February, that same process was repeated by another resolutions team member. At the end of February I spoke with a floor supervisor named Patricia. She told me that the letter would be mailed out in the next mass mailing, and that if I hadn't received it by 3/15 to call back. I was calling resolutions with such regularity, many
operators now remember me when I call.

The TP ran the Road Home article at the beginning of March. Shortly thereafter two people representing themselves as employees of ICF and First American Mortgage sought to contact me. One left a note on our door with a email address
and another called my grandfather, who shares my name. One would imagine that people with the RHP would be able to retrieve my phone number, so I suspect these people were impostors. However, in the event they weren't, I'll happily concede that perhaps the RHP made a half-hearted attempt to reach me.

In any event, call back I did on 3/17 where I was informed by a resolutions team member that Patricia could have told me no such thing as resolutions did not know when mailings were going out. After several unreturned messages to Patricia, I eventually spoke with her again. At that time she told me that my award had just been recalculated on 3/16, that a letter had been printed on 3/17, and that it would be going out in the next mass mailing. If I did not receive it by 4/2, give her a call back.
Call back I did on 4/9/07 where I was again informed by another floor supervisor that Patricia "couldn't have told me that" because she didn't have access to that information. Again I was made to feel like I was making all of this up. I was told to "stop opening case manager requests" (to my knowledge I have tried, at the suggestion of the operators, to open three), and was told that Patricia would be calling me back. My phone has not yet rung with her call.

Despite the worst the insurance company, thieving contractors, and the city of New Orleans could throw at me, I kept my chin up. I did not want to become a "bitter old crank" at 29. Sadly, it is the Road Home that has sent me off the deep end.

Most galling is not the "Remember, Louisiana wants you to come home," not the unveiled condescension from the resolutions team when I merely repeat what "Patricia" had told me because it is *I* who must be lying, not the fact that I am paying rent and a mortgage because I cannot live in my house, not that I have been repeatedly lied to, not that I know people who started long after I and are now scheduled for closing, and not even the repeated promises of closings and award letters I see nightly on the news. What is worst is that through this entire process I have not been given the respect owed a human being. I am merely another case file to be passed on to someone else. A co-worker found some amount of progress by emailing you. I am not so optimistic. So disgusted by this process am I, I am
doing this to ensure completeness and perhaps help others caught in a RHP no-man's-land. I just want my options letter so I can wait a few more months before I can go to closing.


Adolph "06HHxxxxxx" Voigt
4521 S. Johnson St.
New Orleans, LA 70125

The email was sent at about 4:04 pm. I received a call from "Nia" from "Constituent Services" at 4:42p.m. Turns out we've been held up since OCTOBER because of a missing form. Turns out, if you interviewed before October 25 (we did so on Oct. 12), you also had to fill out a form to determine if you were eligible for the "Affordable Loan Program." Of course, we are overqualified several times over (despite being poorly paid state employees). Apparently nobody could take the less than 30 minutes it clearly did to figure that out and let us know this at any point since then. They knew when we interviewed. They knew we had a problem. Our award was held up for five months because we had to fill out a form we didn't know about. I had to call repeatedly for months, only to then try to email everyone and their grandmother before any amount of attention was paid to correct a minor technical detail.


And remember, Louisiana wants you to come home!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I would like to buy some cheese.

Another pretty dreary day here in Floodville. I think the weather is supposed to improve before this weekend, which is great as it will also be French Quarter Fest. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it as it’s a much cheaper alternative to JazzFest (cheaper in that it’s free), and you won’t get ripped off quite as much for food and drink. Sure, the acts might not be as "big," but you certainly don’t have to watch them from a quarter mile away. If you go, be sure to try out the prime rib sandwich from the Rib Room.

A rather disappointing day with the LRA yesterday. Long story short, the woman ("Patricia") who has allegedly been helping me, has been lying to me this entire time. What’s worse is that when I tell other people with the "resolutions team," what she’s told me, they treat me as if *I* am the one making it all up...because she couldn't tell me that. Uh huh. There is apparently nothing I can do to make someone look at our file and generate our options letter so we can then begin the months-long task of waiting for closing. My solution: I’ll just stop calling. To quote John Cleese, "it was an act of pure optimism to have posed the question in the first place. Tell me, do you have any cheese here at all?"

Oh, but those who are lucky enough to have no problems with their LRA application, the state is now going to give the awards out in a lump sum. Smashing idea!

Monday, April 9, 2007


Another gross day outside. I guess we're getting winter a bit late this year.

Easter was a fun time for all, and we ate ourselves silly on all sorts of delicious treats. And today, of course, is the biggest day of the candy-shopping year. I really need to step up the gym visits if I'm going to eat as much candy as I am planning to.

Typical Monday in store. Call the LRA, have a stroke, call a contractor, eat lunch. Maybe I'll even get some work done today.

Ach, would ye' believe the LRA bastards have made the news in Scotland?

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good (weather) Friday

It's one of those really nice days in New Orleans that almost makes you forget how horrendously hot it's about to get. If only French Quarter Fest would have weather this nice.

The Crescent City Classic is tomorrow, and passes a 1/2 block from our apartment. It should be kinda fun to watch all those thousands of people (still relatively fresh) jogging by. We would have done it this year, but well, time got away from us and figured it would be a better us of our time to do productive stuff. Maybe next year, right?

Kayla is furiously studying away at her physics. Does anyone have a suggestion for a textbook that would help answer those basic questions in detail? Study guides are a little too physics brief and assume too much knowledge.

The Beeb seems to be doing much better. We went on a very long walk yesterday and she was most pleased. She was even something less than crazy last night. There's hope yet!

Thursday, April 5, 2007


In a flurry of posts indicative of a new and enthusiastic blogger (as opposed to the bimonthly updates of one who has gotten bored with it), here are some thoughts on a couple things (as anyone cares).

First, Ol' Cynthia Hedge-Morrell apologized for her life-threatening driving in February. Yeah, easy to do when: 1) Unlike anyone else caught in similar circumstances, she didn't get cited; and 2) the news "breaks" a month-and-a-half late. Where were the apologies before now? Why is it that she's only now sorry? At least respect us enough to try to pretend we're not that stupid.

Second, the state is asking HUD to let it dole out road home grants in a lump sum to homeowners. As someone who has been screwed around with by the LRA, I think I've got some perspective I can contribute to this. This is a horrible idea. Oddly, I'm actually with the lenders on this one. If the lender is "playing ball" and disbursing funds as they're requested (like Louisiana Capitol FCU has sort of been doing), there's no reason not to require invoices and installments. So, not only did insurance companies get a 7.5 BILLION dollar bailout (for claims shortfalls they didn't have to pay), the less-than-civic-minded developers are going to get a windfall from banks foreclosing and taking what they can get on ruined houses owned by people who liked the idea of getting $150,000 cash, no strings. Sorry, run on sentence. In any event, while the banks say:

The lenders also have the option of putting properties into foreclosure or suing in court to declare the borrower bankrupt.

Do you really think the defaulted homeowners now living in Houston will care? No. Of course not. While this really won't impact Broadmoor too much, it will certainly not do much to either rebuild the city or show the rest of the country we're serious about it. There is already the perception that we're all welfare-cheating criminals here, so to enable just that behavior is irresponsible. We shall see how this turns out.

On an unrelated note: We're going to Tahiti the week after we get our road home money.

Maundy Thursday

Isn't always great to start the weekend on Thursday? Thursday is typically my favorite day of the week anyway because it's the day before Friday which is awesome in and of itself. That and The Office and 30 Rock come on (If you haven't watched 30 Rock yet, do yourself a favor and do so. Even if you don't have a DVR or you're not in the US...that's what BitTorrent is for).

Kayla and I are going to T-daux this Sunday to celebrate Easter with her family and mine. It should be a good time and I'm looking forward to seeing Shauntelle, Brent, and ZoZo's new house. It will also be a great opportunity to see the results of free family labor..perhaps we need to hire those guys?

The Beeb is finally allowed to go on walks now. She's gotten over her broken toe enough to be an unholy terror in the house, so hopefully we can wear out some of that energy today. I can't wait to be able to jog with her and take her to the dog park. Speaking of dog parks, there are plans afoot to create one in Broadmoor. I can't wait!

If you've ever wanted to see the state police reprimanding a Orleans Parish public official for being an ass, check out the police reports here. It seems one of our esteemed city councilpersons decided to drive at 100mph with a flashing blue light between Prarieville and New Orleans. The funny thing is that she doesn't really seem sorry for any of it, and can't understand why an untrained civilian driving a large SUV at a high rate of speed in order to not be late to a meeting is a problem. Good stuff. Serban, are you listening?

Important programming note. The Ten Commandments will be on Saturday this year. Be sure to tune in to get your annual fix of "Oh mooooses, moooooses. I. ance-er. to. a hi-yer call-ing,"

And finally, here's a little something via The Consumerist's Great Commercials Series. This is real, y'all. Wow!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Here we go.

Why did I decide to jump on the narcissistic blogging bandwagon? I suppose the articles in the Times-Pic showed me that people actually are interested in keeping up with our misfortunes as it seems to be fairly compelling stuff. There's another article in this Saturday's InsideOut section. (Ever notice how it seems like it would also be a name for a gay weekly?) I mean, really, just when you think it can't get worse....

That's something of an overstatement as Kayla and I still have our (relative) health. This experience has, however, given us a pretty grounded perspective. Take for example the recent brouhaha (is that how you spell that? Well, Google thinks so) concerning trash cans in the French Quarter. I mean, c'mon guys, if your biggest problem is unsightly trashcans for your TWICE A DAY garbage service... But, this is the kind of stuff I myself may have gotten worked up about Pre-K. Well, we're also pretty sure The Beeb has something to do with it. She keeps us so distracted we don't notice the minutiae anymore. Expect frequent postings of pictures our our little furry baby with super sharp teeth.

So, a quick update as to "how we're doing with the house." We've officially fired James Kim and his contractor firm called "CMC Construction, Inc." of Virginia. (How's that for seeding Google?). The unbelievable shoddy work has set us back an extra few tens-of-thousands of dollars. Hopefully they'll settle without litigation, but I'm not optimistic. The Road Home money would help as well, but again...not optimistic. Right now we're soliciting bids from contractors and are debating if we should piece out the work between general contractors and ourselves to save us from money. Kayla says I can get a diesel dually with a camper shell if I do most of the contracting myself. Hellz yeah.

Something else I've learned is how f'in easy alot of this stuff really is. It appears that 90% of construction is knowing how to hide poor work and defects (right James Kim and CMC Construction, Inc. of Virginia?). There seems to be an industry-wide conspiracy to make it seem hard. This is evidenced by the unbelievably condescending attitude you get at home shows and dealing with contractors one-on-one. It's like they're terrified that you'll find out that this stuff is so easy, a high school dropout caveman could do it.

Great Expectations

Back by popular demand, here is our blog. I hope not to abandon this too quickly. Check here for updates on our continuing saga to get into the house we're paying to live in.