Thursday, January 26, 2006

This is hard work

I can’t believe I tore my brand new Tommy Hilfiger jeans! I hadn’t even washed them yet.

It is Thursday, and today, we roofed our second house. This one was more difficult in that it was bigger and the pitch was steeper. I tore my pants on a nail. Cheap pants. That’s what I get for splurging on pants that just aren’t me. I’m a Levi’s and Old Navy kind of guy.

Today was a more difficult day for us, but we got a lot more done. Part of it is just getting better at what we do. There are six or seven of us working on the roof. The difficulty is just keeping your balance.

We worked on Miss Liz’s house. She is 83 years old and lives with her husband, Bill. At 8 or so in the morning, this lady pulls in driving a nice car. She gets out and chats with me for 5 minutes. She had a store-bought cake for us, with a baby inside! It’s a tradition for King Cakes. I had no idea who she was. When we got to the house, it was hers. The cake was her way of saying thanks for the work. Later in the day, she dropped off a plate of brownies. Bribery.

Miss Liz is the epitome of Southern hospitality. At about 10, she made us a pot of coffee. She brought us coffee in a coffee pot and plugged it in to keep it warm. Twice during the day, she made us coffee and left it on the porch for us.

Her property sits next to the Calcaseu River, which means one thing: skeeters. We sprayed often with bug spray, and still, they ate us up. We joke about it through the day. At night, when we were leaving in the dark, we got in the car and fought off maybe 10 mosquitoes, all fairly large. I’m keeping score of my battles. I have six kills, and I plan to notch my belt at the end of the day. I could not imagine living in a place like this, in which mosquitoes are around year round.

I blew my food assignment. I was supposed to start the stew at lunchtime, but I spent 30 minute so the Internet trying to download a daily devotional I send out to single parents, as well as the blog. The blog made it, the devotional did not. The computer we work off of at the church is a dinosaur. It’s almost Dos. It has 8,000 games on it with maybe 56 K of ram, with dial up.

I hear Mr. Jimmy has high speed at his store, so I’m going over for coffee tomorrow at 6 a.m. We are spoiled with wi-fi and highs-speed Internet connections. After you’ve had speed, you can’t go back. But I don’t have other alternatives. We wanted to post some pictures on the Internet, but the process took well over 30 minutes and our daylight hours are precious.

I store memory from my laptop in a flash drive. It stores something like 126 K of ram, and I keep my writing files on it. Except that this computer doesn’t have an ISB outlet to connect. When I put it in, the computer said, “What ya’all putting in this here computer? Where do you think you are? California?” In the next room is a nice Dell computer, but it isn’t hooked up to the Internet, but it has an ISB outlet. I download from the flash drive and put my stories on a 2K floppy. Then I run back over to the next room and put it up. What takes me maybe 2 minutes at home, takes maybe 20 minutes here. We can only get two photos on the floppy, so we abandoned trying to download them, for now. Eventually, we’ll get to it. For now, we’re storing Susan’s daily photos on my laptop.

Back to the story I started 20 minutes ago. I messed up the stew, so I moved up chili night, but forgot the kidney beans. I had someone else on our team pick them up, but we didn’t stop work until after 6 and it was dark as night. Had I made chili when I got home, we’d just be eating at 8.

Instead, we went to Babe’s the only restaurant in town. It’s a bar and a couple of pool tables up front with restaurant out back with seating for maybe 20 people. Babe’s son got our drinks. Babe’s wife waited on us. We asked her where she got the name, and for the next three minutes, we heard how the name came about. In an abbreviated version, her husband’s nickname is babe, even for the grandkids. When they decided to open a restaurant, it became Babe’s.

I had a shrimp po boy, but without the po boy bread, much to my dismay. Because I’ve never had a po boy, I wouldn’t know what a po boy tastes like, I wouldn’t have missed the special bread. It’s the only thing I craved this week.

We saw Babe later. He’s a babe – in these parts. Nice missing front tooth. Friendly as can be. He apologized profusely for having only sweet tea because a catering job earlier in the day took all of their unsweetened tea. I’m not a sweet tea guy, but I’m also not a soda guy, and alcohol is prohibited on church mission trips.

At the end of the night, we got a treat. A free dinner. Seems an earlier group of ours reroofed the restaurant after it was damaged in the storm. A perfect ending for the day. We are all exhausted.


Post a Comment

<< Home