Monday, June 30, 2008

Why I Do Plunge

What a fantastic week. I went on Urban Plunge as an adult for the first time last week. The last time I went I was a kid...11 years ago! Since then a lot had changed in my life, but I had an extra week of vacation and thought "Why not?" (If you're unsure of what Urban Plunge is, click here.)

First let me say that if you freak out because there are no "good kids" left and all the crappy teens out there that are going to destroy our world: Have no fear. There is hope. And that hope is within the 32 kids that I got the honor of meeting last week. Sure we were on a church trip and spiritual levels were up there, but these are GOOD KIDS.

Second, being an adult vs. being a kid on Plunge is different, but not much. You still get to play around and have a great time, but now you get to drive, stay up later, wake up earlier, and be in charge. :) A big difference is as a kid, you change jobs from day to day, so you get to do more: carpentry, painting, cleaning, yard work, whatever's needed. As an adult, you stay on the job until its completed and you get handed the next one.

For me, the job i was given was to paint a 2 1/2 story wood home. A job that we thought would take 3, maybe 4 days max. No sir. I was there from 9:15-4:15 every day, and on Friday we stayed until the job was completed: 5:45. (Dinner is at 6 and no one eats until everyone is there, paint supplies are cleaned and all people are showered.)

The main reason we stayed so late was because on Thursday, our client, Ms. Alvarez, asked if we were going to paint her upstairs porch. I explained to her that I am planning on it, but we may run out of time. She looked heart broken and said "That's what they said last time." When I went upstairs to look at it I completely understood. Her porch was caked in about 20+ years of dust and dirt. To paint, not only would we have to move the various items into her already tiny hallway, but clean all the dust off the almost rotten wood to paint it. The ceiling had never been painted, unless the spare wood planks used to repair it had previously had paint on it. The porch was dreary and dark. Her window coverings were being held up by nails and were mismatched.
By Thursday afternoon all we had left to paint was the infamous porch and some trim. About 3:00 another crew shows up at the house and says "We're here to help!" I started to get excited. We can do this, i thought. I sent 2 of them upstairs to start cleaning the porch and the others started with the trim.

*on a side note, the paint colors were a bright beige w/ 'creme brulee' trim. Ms. Alvarez picked them out.

On Friday morning I was determined to get the house done by lunch. Little did i know HOW dirty the porch was. And how poor a shape the roof of the porch was. The wood just soaked up the paint, or was still dirty after being brushed off countless times. Lunch time came and we were almost done with the trim and 2 of those awesome kids, Luis and Kyle, were able to start painting. As they took off the blinds they asked if we could get her new ones. After all, they were old, mismatched, and quite dirty. I was able to make a phone call and got the OK. After lunch, i said "lets get this done in an hour!" Negative. That dern porch roof was so tedious. But the kids didn't complain. When i asked if they were OK with staying late, they were determined to get it done just as much as i was. So 4:15 came and went. 4:45. 5:00. Finally at about 5:30 i heard Woots and Cheers from the upstairs porch. They were done! I went up to look. It wasn't perfect, but it was the best it could be for the condition the wood was in. And it was 1000 times better than the dark room it was before. It was bright and even had a place she could sit and enjoy the breeze. We called Ms. Alvarez in and she was just so excited. She kept saying the Lord answers prayers. She hugged us each one by one, even though we were dirty, sweaty, and full of paint. She had tears in her eyes, and so did I. As we were cleaning up, the 5 of us that finished shared a group hug, got the last of the supplies in the van, and headed 'home'.
When we arrived, there were still people that had not showered other than us. Apparently we weren't the only crew determined to finish. We all worked together, got the brushes and rollers cleaned, and was able to shower and get to the dinner table only an hour behind.

Ms. Alvarez is the reason I do Plunge. At 73, her only transportation is her bicycle, on which she seems to ride with no problem. She has no carpeting in her home, only plywood for floors. The home itself is probably 120 years old, and she probably has lived there since her childhood. Her only relief from the heat is a small rotating fan in her bedroom, which is where she stays most of the time to keep cool. Even though she had so little she offered to cook us hot dogs and drinks, which we politely declined. Our soup kitchen meal was waiting for us.

The 32 kids is the reason I do Plunge. Becoming a part of their life and having the mutual acknowledgement that, for me, there are still good kids out there. And for them, there are still adults who respect them. Watching them go from not wanting to be there to wanting to go back when they got their license in a few weeks, just "Help Ms. Jackson with stuff she needs."

A renewal in faith is the reason I do Plunge. "Faith Without Action Is Dead." I realized that just because I don't have the unwavering faith I did as a child, doesn't mean i don't have any faith. I learned that it's OK to be somewhere in the middle. My path didn't quite end as I thought, it just went on a 'road less traveled'. I'm looking forward to frequent renewals, I just need to keep my eyes and heart open.

I'm ready for next year.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Two-Thirds of My Nephews

I never talk enough about my nephews. I'm so blessed I get to see 2 out of 3 of them every week at our Tuesday night dinners with the family and sometimes on the weekends. Unfortunately I never remember to write about all the cute things they do. A lot of it, honestly, is just little looks or smiles that Braydon does that you can't really duplicate in a blog. Here's a few pictures my sister just sent me. :)

Optimus Prime: TIMES TWO!

Braydon dressed himself this morning: :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Good Habits

I thought I'd respond what my habits were in my own blog. This is a response from Angelle's blog.

The first good habit I thought of is one that I've developed most recently: Taking my vitamins and medicine regularly. We went and bought some expensive multivitamins that have "high potency" so we don't just piss it all down the toilet and since then, about 3 weeks or so, I've been taking them every night, along with my vitamin C, EyePromise, and my metformin. I'm actually seeing a difference in my PCOS! I've had more 'green' days in a row than I've ever had before!
Next week I will be out of my routine, so i hope to be able to keep it up!

Cage or Not a Cage? That is the Question.

So, I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I recently got a "promotion" at work. I put it in quotations because I didn't get any more money, just more responsibility. I am now the Office Manager of my branch. That's right - I'm in charge. Kinda scary eh?

Well anyway, with being in charge comes with a new office. I actually now have my own 4 walls I call my own. Not even cubicle walls - real ones, full of windows. I was so excited when i got to move into it and now, after being so used to not having walls, I kinda feel caged in. Like I'm in trouble or something and i was put in the corner...

Hopefully I'll get used to it. :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"They Say Its Your Birthday!"

"...It's my birthday, too yeah!"

Soooo, last week my boss comes up to me and says "I hear you have a special day next week... why don't you not come to work". I said OK!!

So my day started with me sleeping in (even though it was only until 8, i still woke up on my own volition without aid of an alarm clock), laid in bed for about 30 minutes and got up. I started putzin' around the house, kissed Barry off to work, started some laundry, and decided to start packing for my Urban Plunge trip next week.

I ended up also cleaning the litter box area, vacuuming the stairs (not an simple task, lemme tell ya), and then got in the shower to get ready to meet Barry for lunch. After YUMMY LaNopalera, I went to my mom's, got a great birthday hug from Ashton, and ran errands with my sister. My mom cooked yummy pulled pork sandwiches and hot baked potato salad for dinner, with the tradition of Mom's Ice Cream Cake for dessert. MMMMM....

From there I stopped at my friends Dave and Jen's house to visit with them and their new baby and VOILA! Dave got Rock Band for Father's Day. SWEDEDEDEU! I get to play rock band on my birthday!

All in all it was a good day.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Kudos to Mike

Thanks Mike for un-bor-i-fying my blog. I am now officially "Not Playing With a Full Deck..." :)

Well, i guess i always was, but now its official. :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Who's Got Spirit? Me?,0,4761103.story

I went online yesterday to confirm our reservation to NYC in September, and they did not have our booking number on file. And I have not been able to get in touch with Spirit Air. Every time I try, I get a busy signal. I even got their corporate numbers ...still: busy. I tried the airport directly. Busy Signal. Finally I got so fed up I called my credit card company to just dispute the charge, but they can't do that until the date of travel passed. At the end of yesterday, I was getting sooo frustrated, especially after reading the above links about how poor the airline is. I decided to look at my printout of when I booked the flight ONE MORE TIME. Apparently, your reservation number and your "Record Locator" are 2 different things, and my record locator was on an email that stayed in my inbox. When I got home, lo and behold, there was the email and inside that was a record number.

Alas, we are confirmed for 2 tickets to NYC by way of Ft. Lauderdale. Phew. Now, unfortunately, we have to drive to Ft. Laudie the night before to catch the 6 am flight. I just hope the airline doesn't go under before then...

Got This From Mike, Who Got This From Angelle, Who Got It From Erica

COUNTRY WESTERN SINGER NAME: (mother & father’s middle names)
Esther Joseph

NASCAR NAME: (first name of your mother’s dad, father’s dad)
Chuck George

STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)

DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Plaid Tiger

SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Jo Waukegan

FLY NAME: (first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)

GANGSTA NAME: ( fav ice cream flavor, fav cookie)
Espresso Chip White Chocolate Strawberry (eh?)

ROCK STAR NAME: (current pets name, current street name)
Harley Osprey

STRIPPER NAME: (name of your fav perfume/cologne, fav candy)
Escape Heath

PORN NAME: (1st pet, 1st Car)
Corky Escort

AMERICAN GLADIATOR NAME (model name of your current car)