All you had to do was look at the weather forecast for Florida vs the rest of the country, and it was obvious why our fellow Pocahontas SP host, Joe, would want to delay his return to Virginia until he absolutely had to be there. Still, the phone call one morning was a pleasant surprise. Could he come for a few days to stay and help out some in return? You don’t have to ask twice.
Arriving later on Monday, Dave talked to Joe about a number of possible tasks. He settled on some work in the rooms at the back of Peeler. Called the “Mission Room” for their planned use for mission team leaders, the work on them had to be cut out of the January project when some team members canceled. While waiting for some supplies to be picked up, Joe was approached for a project that wasn’t even on our radar.
It turns out the school that is renting the gym has a pretty good basketball team this season. They were winning in post-season and wanted to livestream their basketball game tomorrow. The problem was the church’s internet signal was not sufficient in the gym. While the school had someone who was contracted to solve the problem, they needed Dave’s help to understand the network. And, given the short timeline, were interested in having some help getting the ethernet cable run. Joe was up for the challenge, and had it done the next morning, allowing the school’s contractors to finish the job. Sure enough, the livestream was up and running for the game that night. And by the way, they won. (And made it to the final game of their state conference.)
Rainy. Cold (for Florida that is). A day to stay in doors. That’s what we’d been doing all morning, when Dave finally ventured out to see if Barry was around. The next thing Cathy saw was a picture on her phone of a truck unloading pallets of food outside of Wesley Hall, with the text, “Sandy brought us some food.” What?
Now, although we have a bigger RV, it didn’t come with a walk-in refrigerator. And although Sandy frequently brought some leftovers from her volunteer work at Lutheran Social Services, it was usually limited to some tomatoes or carrots, not 80+ boxes of perishable food. However, we weren’t the only ones that the rain had kept inside. The attendance was down and LSS had no capacity to store the food. The good news was that the grey, cold day was keeping it from spoiling. The bad news was that it needed to be distributed today or it would go bad. While many of us would deplore the waste or wring our hands that something should be done, Sandy picked up her phone and called Pastor Barry. “Could the church handle a few boxes of food?” Sure.
However, the volume of boxes were at first a little overwhelming. Should we salvage what we could in our fridge? It didn’t make sense. Each box was packed with nearly identical contents intended for a family – a gallon of milk, a container of yogurt, a bag of oranges, potatoes, etc. So Barry began working the phones. And through his contacts, the connections were being made to get the food to those who could use it. Volunteers started showing up and the boxes started disappearing. We did our small part, delivering a half-dozen boxes to Pastor Jacob for him to distribute. By day’s end, amazingly it was all gone.
And it all started with a rainy day, an open mind, and several someones willing to say “yes”.
Big tasks and small, we never quite know what will be next.
One morning Dave was asked to meet a plumber at the Mission House to solve a slow drain problem.
A little background on this problem is required, though. First, “slow” drains at Faith are usually a code word for “lots of trouble”. They have frequently been the pre-cursor to a lot of frustrating work, such as bypassing collapsed cast iron pipe, buried in concrete. This particular slow drain was first encountered during January’s work at the Mission House. The toilet in the new bathroom was not flushing easily. Andy and Dave spent a morning flushing the pipe that the toilet fed, which ran under the house to link in with the pipe leading to the sewer. While progress was made, the pipe was too long to be sure it was clear all the way through.
So, when Beyond90 raised the problem again, we deferred to the professionals. And this one had some serious tools. Using a much longer and more powerful snake, he was able to clear the hardened “material” that was blocking the pipe. Afterward, no more slow drain. And the plumber earned every penny of his fee.
When the basketball team had won the game that would take them to their “Final Four”, we got a message, “could you take a ladder over to the gym?” Why? So they could cut the nets off the basketball hoops in victory. It’s a thing, apparently. Cathy delivered the ladder as the final buzzer sounded.
And Sandy has been powerwashing sidewalks – a never-ending task at Faith.
At times, it is helpful to ensure all load is removed from the battery, especially when they are being removed or cannot be charged. To enable this, Dave installed a battery switch on the compartment wall next to the battery box.
The first use of this switch came when we wanted to install a small inverter. The RV is advertised as “inverter-ready”, meaning the wires have been run to 3 outlets (1 each in the living room, galley and bedroom) off an inverter when the RV is not plugged in. Having a healthy respect for managing the draw on the batteries, we don’t place a lot of demand on these outlets, so the inverter did not need to be too large. Dave decided on a 500W pure sine wave inverter with a remote.
Over a couple of days, we installed the circuit breaker, buss and outlet box. Deciding to mount the inverter on the compartment ceiling directly beneath the shower, we took care to select screws that wouldn’t penetrate the floor above. With the inverter feed wired in, we plugged in a work light and, voila, it lit. Of course, we still need to cut the main AC feed to enable the inverter output to flow. But, since the AC and heat would have to be off for that one, we decided to wait a bit to finish on the right weather day.
Hemingway is a fixture on campus. Abandoned here a few years ago, she is loving and pampered. A faithful congregant at Sunday morning services. (Her picture even closed out our last blog entry, guarding the Lenten supplies.)
That is until one Sunday near the end of February, when she just wasn’t anywhere. Ever one to sleep in hidden places, Barry searched all of the many rooms at Faith – to no avail. Sometimes she had wandered into the neighborhood for a few days, but she always returned. But not this time.
So, at Barry’s request, Cathy changed the church sign to entreat others to help us find her. As of this writing, she still has not been found. We can only hope that she is safe somewhere, but we hope she will return to us soon.