Monday, February 4, 2008

If the Mountain defeats you, where then will you go?

Top:Frank near the kitchen we put in
2nd from top: the longest wheelchair ramp ever built (by CAP)
Bottom 2: Scenes from the mountains of North Carolina

This past weekend, Ross (the kid), Jesse, and I joined our East side comrades in a ski trip to North Carolina's Sugar Mountain. And boy did we raise up, take off our shirts and twist them around our heads like a helicopter! ... ... Now, you may be asking, "hey, you're supposed to be poor volunteers, how do you pull a stunt like this you vagabond?" Well, volunteer trips, like volunteer life, are based around a few things: simple living, cheap food, and free lodging. The wonderful Jennie Marie asked her very gracious grandparents for permission to use their mountain house. The house itself was gorgeous, complete with bead and breakfast like rooms, a porch, sweet tea, plenty of blankets, fresh air, mountain views, a small stream, and a warm sun. Plus, at night, you could see every star in the sky (which reminded me of the quote in the previous post). Quite honestly, I enjoyed some of the most peaceful, untroubled sleep there. Something about the combination of fresh air, exercise, and laughter knocks me out. As for the food, we feasted on expired chips, old bread and all of the expired peanut butter twix we could eat. We also visited a local burger place called "Bob's Dairyland" which reminded me of a southern version of Perros Bros. (for all my southside readers). All it needed was a man who cannot speak English taking orders and me getting stabbed to make it just like Perros Bros. But, never-the-less, we enjoyed burgers, shakes, and a cup of grease for like 4 bucks. So, we get by, with a little help from our friends.

The skiing was quite hilarious. I have only been skiing once in my life, and many of us had never been. One such person was your friend and mine, Jesse T. Jesse gets the golden star for valor under fire this weekend. When I first saw Jesse on the slopes, he was going backwards on his skis, headed toward the ski lodge at an alarming speed. Later on, I saw Jesse ascending the ski lift toward a blue slope (medium difficulty). Quite distressed I yelled out, "Jesse, you're heading for a blue slope, what are you doing man?!" To which he replied, "I know (thumbs up and fist pump)". "...Ok, good luck." I replied. Needless to say, when I saw him a couple hours later I was relieved that he had not fallen off the mountain and gotten rescued by a st. bernard. Ross later recounted a story to me where he saw Jesse skiing, and yelled out, "Yeah Jesse!". Jesse looked skyward to Ross on the ski lift and gave him a fist pump. Then accelerating at a dangerous rate, Jesse was headed right for a tree. Ross yelled out, "GO down man, get down!" So Jesse fell back spun around and came to a screeching halt in an explosion of snow and ice. A few seconds later, he popped right back up and was at it again. What a trooper. Ross and I felt we should probably reward such valor, as such is rare this day in age. So, we gave him the most kingly gift we could think of: Pabst Blue Ribbon, PBR.

In terms of work, yes, we still do plenty of that let me assure you. We have recently gotten off a tour of duty with Kevin Black, our interim crew leader and master of the Black Blackness. While working with Kevin, we built a 77 foot wheelchair ramp, put on a roof, did an interior of a house (framing, drywall, insulation) and did 4 doors and 5 windows as well as siding prep on another job. In total we did 2 and half jobs in only 2 and a half weeks. Having a crew leader who is knowledgeable is a wonderful gift. But, to have a crew leader who is knowledgeable AND patient is a rarity and makes all the difference in the world, let me assure you. Volunteer life is full of ups and downs, dear friends. You're up on community living, then your down. You're motivated, then you're not. You love the job, then you dread going. Working with Kevin was an up. The trip was an up. The rainy weather predicted for this week is a down. So, you take the good with the bad an roll with the punches. (Ups and downs ... like skiing ... come on!)



Anonymous said...

Glad to know you all made it back OK.

I once had a job as an elevator operator in Chicago, but I left because it just had too many ups and downs.

PBR: I think I saw a Super Bowl commercial advertising it and it had three guys skiing with their shirts off somewhere in the Appalachians!

Christopher J said...

Maybe Mol should come to K-tuck. Sounds like you guys--particularly Jesse, by the sounds of things--are in desperate need of a hardy rescue dog. I know it would tear him apart, but I think my Dad would be willing to make such a kingly gift!