Monday, November 20, 2006

Dealing with Katrina's Leavings

I’m spending the day bleaching ironstone and china. In other parts of the world, people bleach clothes and gut fish. Here in post-Katrina New Orleans, we gut houses and bleach just about anything we hope we can salvage.

It started on the weekend. Determined to have Thanksgiving dinner in my own house, I realized I needed to first make the dining room habitable. That meant screwing the chair seats back on the restored dining room chairs, getting the tools off the buffet (also restored), washing and ironing and putting away tablecloths, unpacking and washing and putting away plastic bins full of the silver, china, and crystal that was all, thankfully, above Katrina’s waterline.

That’s when I found them: two boxes stacked in the corner and labeled: “Steve’s Ironstone and Grandma’s china teacups, washed post-Katrina but not sterilized.” Oh, dear.

These are the items, too precious to throw away, that I salvaged from the bottom of my Australian kitchen dresser and the bottom of the kitchen cupboards. At the time, I washed them in cold water (we had no hot water heater), wrapped them in paper, and put them away to deal with later. This is later.

Someday, I know, it will all be over. Someday.