vs. Basement: Final Round

Update: pictures added!

My blog decided, all by itself, to italicize everything on the page – what? I need to figure out how to fix this. Meanwhile, I need to finish transcribing my notes from spring break, so prepare for the uber-exciting conclusion.

In previous episodes: Galveston, the House of Doom, and preparing for the basement. I will be adding pictures very soon.

Wednesday, 04 March 2009

I’m done packing up my gym bag and am ready to leave after dinner. A quick recap of the past two days:

Tuesday we started off the morning by ripping up the carpet in a bedroom. The room was in a house over a shop in the historic part of Galveston: Morgan Studios. The owner, Danny Morgan, used to be a top costume designer in Broadway/New York (I think), but fell on hard times and set up a costume shop in Galveston. He’s now seventy-five-ish and has emphysema, which involves coughing up blood – lots of it – so the bedroom carpet had huge splotches of black, dried blood. We ripped it up in strips, bagged everything, and took them down the (steep) stairs to the street. The rest of the house/shop was pretty amazing – costumes, fabric, and multicolored feathers everywhere; rooms full of costumes, hats, shoes, and manikins, and just a general feel of the 1920s (and a little Victorian, too) in the decoration and architecture of the house.

That took us about an hour – after which we went back to the House of Doom. To clean out the basement.

I feel that deserved a paragraph break to emphasize the point. We were not enthusiastic about clearing out the basement. (I mean – a basement? On Galveston? What? Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman.) We were especially not enthusiastic about clearing out the basement after we opened the basement door and faced chair legs sticking up at us from the stairwell. Oh, and the chairs were stacked on top of mattresses. Below the mattresses, it was anybody’s guess … mold monsters and Bowser, probably.

The basement - after we took out the stuff in the stairwell

The basement - after we took out the stuff in the stairwell

They also wanted us to tear out the thing wood-sheet facing on the stairwell, but I worked mainly in the basement. The stairwell was pretty daunting as well, but Anne and Kristi and Morgan had it under control.

After taking the basement door off, we wrestled the mattresses up and out – all pretty much queen size – and thank God we had a bunch of guys on the team, unlike some of the others. As we handed all sorts of thing up the steps, we worked our way deeper and deeper toward the old, honest-to-goodness boiler sitting in the center of the basement.

That was when we found the possums. The were old, dusty, and extremely dead. One had died with its mouth pulled open in rigor mortis, and had all its fangs exposed. Within seconds the entire team was down there, screaming with laughter at our nightmare come true.

Dead possum. No further explanation needed.

Dead possum. No further explanation needed.

We had the basement cleared of lawnmowers, chairs, dishes, Halloween decorations, and who knows what else by about four in the afternoon, as well as swept and sprayed with bleach. We were all set to get out of the house, which we had worked in for three entire days, when the brother-in-law made one last request to have us take out a 10 x 2 -foot section of sheet rock. We had visions of ice cream and thank-you notes (some non-manual labor!) dancing in our heads so we had that sucker done, swept and sprayed down within fifteen minutes.

Thus ends the saga of the House of Doom. We never did find exactly what the brother-in-law was so nervous about, but Mr. Jackson really appreciated our work and the things were were able to accomplish for him, I think.

The rest of the evening was pretty chill. We did thank-you notes, and I read lines for Morgan, and we had dinner and group time and hung out with people for awhile after our devotional. We realized we didn’t have a T-shirt to leave, like other universities, so we signed the jeans Walter had wrecked.

Walter wearing his lovely jeans, design by ASB Rice

Walter wearing his lovely jeans, design by ASB Rice

Today we went to Galveston State Park and picked up the remains of – somebody’s house? Some building that was in the middle of a bunch of marsh grass and reeds, and had a lot of railings and posts and walls. All of our groups (four) ended up there by midmorning. It was a lot of hiking in and out, carrying pieces that were either gargantuan or had a lot of nails sticking out, or both. My face got pretty toasted, but it was nice to be outdoors, and the three rangers who staffed the park really couldn’t have moved everything by themselves.

Then back and showers, dinner and a final group photo. I really must say something about our small grouup’s dynamic. It was awesome. After the initial awkward van ride down, we started meshing really well over the medical containers and first small group time. I think it was in the house that we really clicked – common enemy, I suppose. We had great lunch breaks on the seawall, sang – a lot – and laughed even more. I have not laughed so much, or as genuinely, for months.

Some running jokes/references throughout the week: “I’m on a boat!”, Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” (and the men’s shower), osmotic cranberries, dolphins & friends (goldfish, kind of), force multipliers, and bowling for seagulls.

Best spring break ever.

The team

The team

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