Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amidst the bills and junk mail . . .

Being away for a week means a pile of mail (and even huger piles of e-mail) to sort through upon return. We got tax bills, which didn't look out of whack to me--but I'm still staggered by the amount we will owe. I'm lucky to own a house and to have a government which will provide services--that will be my mantra as I move money around (from my bank account to government coffers). The scarier news is that my windstorm insurance will not be automatically renewed.

For those of you who don't live in hurricane country, you may not realize that here at the coast of Florida, we pay for regular homeowner's insurance, which covers normal disasters, like fire, and we pay windstorm, which will pay us something should a hurricane wipe out our house. I say something, because it's a complicated formula--and because most of us are insured by the state of Florida. I can do basic math, and I know that if a big storm hits a big population area, like the one in which I live, there won't be enough money for us all. But we pay our money--lots of money--and take our chances.

When I lived in South Carolina, I paid $300 a year for a policy that would pay what it cost to rebuild my home, no matter what the cost of the building materials and the labor to put my house together. I had replacement costs.

Down here, I will get a lump sum, once I pay a huge deductible. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll get a portion of the sum. Maybe the state of Florida will declare bankruptcy and give me an IOU.

I've worried about continuing to live here for many reasons, most of them apocalyptic, having to do with global warming and sea level rise. But realistically, the cost of living is likely to motivate me to move long before the ice shelf melts into the sea.

Happily, my mail was not all bad news. I've been getting some delightful poetry postcards--some people are even creating their own post cards! How cool is that? Original art and an original poem!

And I got a poem accepted. Chiron Review had a call for submissions for its upcoming punk issue. I was surprised at how many poems I had that fit the theme, so I sent them a packet. And they accepted one. When it's published, I'll print it here. Let me just give you a foretaste of the feast to come: it's one of my Jesus in modern life poems. I'm beginning to think those poems aren't so bizarre after all. I'm beginning to see a book coming together.

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