Wednesday, June 24, 2009

An old shed bites the dust

For most our crew, Tuesday and Wednesday invovled destruction. And they loved it.

"Demolition seems like the opposite of Back Bay," said Elliot. But as our group learned, it's also an important piece of helping out people here.

In this case, the group was tearing down a large shed that had been used as a house for a while. The owner, JW, had led some relatives live there after Katrina hit in 2005. It eventually became used as a drug house. Once officials got wind of this, they condemned the building and required JW to tear it down.

The thing is, JW has his own Katrina story. He's a man in his late 50s, the kids estimated. His wife is from Scotland. They got married just after Katrina and he was helping fix stuff that had been damaged by the storm. He was going through several small heart attacks that week and finally went to the hospital in Gulfport, where they diagnosed what was going on and eventually did bypass surgery. But he said he had been unconscious for 28 days and diminished circulation led to the amputation of a leg and several fingers. So he was in no condition to tear this structure down himself.

Back Bay came to this assistance and our folks were the assisters. Michael and Beth, the four guys -- Adam, Austin, Elliot and Phillip -- and Janine went out on Tuesday to begin the work. They stripped off the tin roof and began removing pieces of the structure. But the temp was setting new records for Biloxi in June, cracking 108 degrees where they were working on Tuesday. And as flimsy as this structure looked .. well, as Austin said, "Now that we're trying to tear it down, it seems a lot sturdier."

Michael tried to pull the whole thing down with a tractor, but that did not work on Tuesday. Eventually, the crew came in from the heat with a plan for Wednesday.

There was one casualty the first day. Phillip tried to break out what seemed to be fiberglass, but actually was real glass and got some cuts in the process. The second day, he really did get covered with fiberglass and he had the experience of a huge cockroach crawling up his leg and onto his bare stomach. But mostly, the casualties were tee-shirts drenched sweat.

So the gang got up before sunrise on Wednesday and left the trailer at 6:15 a.m. to do their work in the cooler part of the day. By 8:30, the structure was down. But getting it down took a combination of pulling with the tractor and guys lunging toward it like the front line of a football team. "All" that remained was the cleanup. That was done by 12:30 and the crew headed back for lunch, showers and a trip to the beach.

And then there's a footnote. At that point in the day when everyone was feeling pretty dragged out and discouraged, JW came out with something for us to read. It went like this:

TO: You
DATE: Today
SUBJECT: Yourself

This is God. Today I will be handling all of your problems. I do not need your help. So have a nice day. I love you.

P.S. And remember ...

If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do
not attempt to resolve it yourself. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. All situations will be resolved, but in My time.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don't despair. There are people in
this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.

Should you have a bad day at work, think of the man who has been out of work for years.

Should you despair over a relationship gone bad, think of the person who has never known what it's like to love and be loved in return

Should you grieve the passing of another weekend, think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children

Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance;, think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.

Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror, think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.

Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn't live long enough to get the opportunity.

Should you find yourself the victim of other people's bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities, remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Should you decide to send this to a friend, thank you. You may have touched their life in ways you will never know!

Now, have a nice day!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Austin,
    Just reading about your demolition sounds exciting. A sledge hammer, large pry bar and a big dumpster sounds like some possible necessities for just that type of job. Tearing things down is a lot of fun. Putting it back together is more exacting work and with record temperatures I'd rather be swimming in the gulf instead.
    Cayley, Tyler, Liz and Kyle are getting ready to go to Moon Beach Camp, they leave Sunday. I get to sit for Nemo, their bobcat that went to the vet with a urinary tract infection. It eats special food now.
    Mom is taking Laura to see colleges this weekend, so, I'll be picking you up Sunday pm. Call me when you get close to church so I can come and get you. I've been working with Kyle building the railings for his deck so it can be inspected Monday. He's welding aluminum pieces to hold the sections to the posts. Never a dull moment around here.
    The Boy Scouts are going to be loading the trailer for summer camp on Monday evening. They signed up for merit badges and went through the chuck boxes to restock missing items. I'm going for a physical soon, so I can join you for the week if you want me to go?
    My truck sounded like a tank when the muffler fell apart only $710 dollars to get that fixed. The catalytic converter needed to be replaced and that part by itself is $390. I guess I'll be driving the truck this winter to pay for this repair.
    stay cool, drink lots and have fun eating seafood. Working early in the morning is the best way to beat the heat. Find shade in the afternoon. Use sunscreen liberally.
    we all love you very much, be safe and wash your hands before eating.
    with love, dad.