The 2008 Hurricane Season officially came to an end on Sunday, yet we at Slampo’s Place won’t be letting down our guard. We know that as soon as we do one of these bitches is gonna come together overnight in the Gulf, storm ashore under the wire and try to steal us, as the young folks say.*
We heard on the radio that Atlantic storms were responsible for an estimated $54 billion in damages during the just-past season. The magnitude of that figure can best be grasped in Bailout Nation by noting that it’s just about $10 billion more---give or take a hundred million or so---than the current accumulated taxpayer investment in Citigroup. Still, the dollar-measured damage fell far short of that for 2005, the record-setting year of Katrina and Rita.
For us, though, this was a record-setting season, with our Ike-related expenses stretching toward or into quadruple digits (we’ve refused to do an actually tally, as we’re afraid the result might send us into a black rage that we could only resolve by screaming at our kids, or the dog). We sought no reimbursement from our insurer, being either too stupid or too honest to finagle it.
And our own personal recovery is not yet complete: The hole where our majestic oak** was once rooted is now covered by a viscous mound of a topsoil-and-sand mix. Having ordered a half-yard or so too much, we have filled about every low spot in the neighborhood (if you’d like some, e-mail us), but the small hill persists and by next spring may be covered with St. Augustine and crowned by a small flag. The “long fence” on the north side of our backyard, which put up a stiff fight but was eventually flattened by Ike, has been re-erected for many weeks with attractive, fresh-smelling cedar pickets and posts. That was thanks to our strapping 20-something newlywed neighbor, who had the assistance of similarly aged friends with beer, a cement mixer and a nail gun (the only labor required of us came in the writing of two checks to cover half the costs of materials---a bargain, we’d say). To the west, however, we and our Social Security-eligible next-door-neighbor have thus far managed to raise only a frame. The pickets, which we salvaged from the toppled structure (it did not fight the good fight but gave it up like Roberto Duran to Sugar Ray Leonard), sit in stacks, awaiting our attention. This inaction is not due to laziness (or so we tell our self), but to an inability to coordinate our schedule with our next-door-neighbor’s---that is, to find a time when we are available and he is sober.
We’re actually in no hurry and may hold off another few weeks, or months, to make sure the threat has indeed passed and we won’t have to be putting the SOB up again, at least until next September.
*Pardon the crudity of our language, but we’ve been brushing up on “street” lingo in preparation for our lucrative new gig as consultant on a makeover of the Houston Chronicle’s ailing YO! page.
**"Majestic," in retrospect.