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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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Well, I haven't had much to write about lately, nor much time to write it in. Most of my time recently has been taken up with painting, building, finishing, hammering, staining, and what have you to finish up the house. ... Well, at least get it ready to move in. School has started back, and my guitar clubs for the Elementary and Middle Schools have started up as well. Additionally our band, Heather and the Monkey King, has been CRAZY busy lately, making us feel like we've been meeting ourselves coming and going, but...

The real news of late is that we've finally spent the first night in our new house. This may not seem like news where you live, but down here, believe me, IT'S A REALLY BIG DEAL. After having lived in a trailer for a year to the day, living in a house takes a bit of getting used to. If the reality TV cameras were rolling in the house, you might have seen such moments as:

Heather laughing at me whilst I spin in circles "Sound of Music" style, saying "LOOK!!!I can't touch any of the walls!!

Both of us spending a sleepless first night as we painfully remember how LOUD two little cats can be in a big empty house with hardwood floors. OK, actually the floors are made of soft wood, but let me hit you in the face with a board of it. I think you'll agree it's hard!) I think our cats were either tap dancing or roller skating.

Me happily looking out the window and not fearing to go outside, lest I encounter any wild pigs.

Both of us trying to remember how to sleep through the night with the Railyard Symphony playing. I am of course referring to our proximity to the railroad tracks. Evidently the engineers on the train Saturday night were fans of Jazz legend John Coltrane, cause they were BLOWIN' man! (Mr. Coltrane was also famous for his annoyingly long solos!) It'll take some getting used to.

Me looking at our 8 foot ceilings saying, "Wow! They look SO HIGH!!!"

Two other incidents might entertain you:

Saturday night I decided I needed a drink of water, so, I got up, walked out of the bedroom, waked down the hall, past the dining room table, into the kitchen, and I thought "Man! I'm not there YET!!??!!" Yes, it's actually a small cottage, but compared to our trailer it seems HUGE....

Monday morning I stood at the bathroom sink, shaving, and I felt lonely. Here I was, in this huge room, all by myself, out of arms reach of my sleeping wife ... not bumping into the bed as I went through the daily ritual deforestation of my face.

It'll take some getting used to.

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Congradulations, great to here good news!

That's GREAT news about you and Heather finally being able to spend your first night in the new house! I'm sure you'll be used to it soon. And I hope you'll have many long, happy and healthy years there.

I'm wondering--what sort of music does Heather and the Monkey King play?

Take care and good luck.

We've been in our sort of new house for 3 months now. At 1100 sq ft, it's exactly half of the house that we were in "before". I laughed so hard reading your post. My husband flushing the toilet over and over just to watch it and me being thrilled to wash clothes in our own house (not at the laundro-trailer or the laundro-tent or at a relatives home) at the same time as cooking dinner was our version. Like yours, ours isn't finished, but even with all 6 of us at home, it still feels enormous!

Congratulations, Steve, on finally moving in to your new home!! May you and Heather spend many happy years there and occasionally invite us over for drinks. Although we never had to live in a trailer, the first night we slept in our own home, a mere four weeks after the storm, was deeply meaningful. And we didn't care that we didn't have A/C or hot water; we were *home*. I can only imagine how y'all felt about it after more than a year. We love you man!

You touch ny heart, Steve. Thanks for writing.

Our family will always remember the wonderful times our parents gave us and our kids while living in Waveland--the many walks and swims to the beach where Mom would be in charge of the kids AND SHE COULDN'T EVEN SWIM, floundering and catching nothing at night on the beach, the snowballs, Neyrds (spelling?), the American Legion Daddy joined when he was young back in the early 70s-- the plain-old-good-times. Our hope is that Hillcrest will one day return to the glory of its pre-Katrina and pre-Camille days, both of which we were affected by. After Camille, Dad and Mom were able to start over and enjoy the next 38 years in heaven on earth-just as retirment is suppossed to be. Dad and Mom, Numa and Billie Snider, were the ones with the gorgeous camellias and azeleas, etc./315 Hillcrest. Dad (Numa) is now 93 and the storm has brought him to Covington to live near some of family. Mom, Billie, passed away in September--a loss to us all. THEY BOTH WANTED TO GO BACK HOME -- TO WAVELAND WITH EVERY BREADTH THEY TOOK. They were never the same after Katrina as were many of our senior citizens.

Our prayers will be that others will soon rebuild the same wonderful Waveland we knew and get to share it with their kids and grandkids. We have close friends who bought on the beach and can't wait to get a house built. Wish we could be there to help you all out!


Congratulations! I can hardly wait to see your new house! But, you need to come see mine too!
We miss you guys!

Hey Guys,
Congrats on getting in the new house!

Take Care,


Aw Steve... I can feel your pain of adjustment from here! Sounds like good things to adjust to this time, though! I'm sure the cats don't know what to do with all that space - they just have to be in all of it all at once. They can't believe you got them such a nice place to live!

Steve, good to hear how great an experience it is. Moli and I and the kids are moving in three doors down this Saturday. Hope it's every bit as sweet as your reunion with many feet cubed more space. We've been trailer inmates a year and two weeks with two children to spice up the mix. I plan to dance in "wide open spaces" as well without breaking a finger on the fridge or cabinets. Congrats...

I get totally excited each time that I see someone has moved into a new house. We are still building ours. It burned not long before the hurricane and we were three months into rebuild when it was badly damaged and flooded. We finally were able to start over again and the brick is almost finished going on, dry wall will be finished this week. The two dogs and two cats are ready to get back to their old neighborhood. We were living in a rental house because of fire and our friends that own this house were nice enough to let us stay until all comes back together again.

Just a reminder to everyone not from this area -- you can keep up with what's going on by viewing sunherald.com and wlox.com.

Steve, Wow! Your diary entry is so great! There's nothing so strange as life a little more like it used to be. I'm copying it and sending it to a few people who will appreciate the sweetness of this step, right along with you! Bless you all (including the wildcats), and you too Geoff and Molly!

Man, you have blown the "wild pigs" outta proportion. Kill one, dig a hole, build a fire, gut it and wrap it in foil well, when the fire sortta dies drop it in da hole, cover with dirt and wait 16 to 18 hours.........dig it up.......BBQ!!!!! Between Boy Scouts and Hippies...I've seen a lot of things...........LOL!!!! Good luck Man!

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