Jul 15, 2008

It's Me, Live in Iowa!

I interrupt my regularly scheduled posts with a live update from Iowa.
First, notice: I know where I am: Iowa. For awhile, I just knew it was one of the I states. It took so long to drive through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa and it was so confusing as to which one I was in. Why do all the I states have to be lumped together? Who's idea was that? If Illinois, for example, was by California and Indiana, say, was near Maine, it'd be easier to remember which one you were in at any given time.

We stayed at Northside Baptist Church in Indianapolis on the way up. I slept in the Ladies II Class, all by myself, a little spooky. They had showers, which was a very nice plus.
We finally arrived in Cedar Rapids late Sunday afternoon. Immanuel Baptist is hosting us, they also hosted the Red Cross while they were here. We have teams here from Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Omaha, and Oklahoma. The mud-out work is probably the hardest work I've ever done. We have to get all the water/mud out, then strip the house down to just studs/framing. Then water pressure and then sanitize to kill mold. The river is 10 blocks away from our house and the flood was 7 feet deep at the house!
Day One I stripped sheetrock all day long from a house nearly one hundred years old. I was very sore and tired afterwards and ate a ton. I have to wear a super power respirator mask, hair net, hard hat and gloves and rubber boots. It is very hot and sweaty work. Day Two we had to pull up the flooring, a little too tough for me, so I mostly hauled debris to the curb. Oh, and I used the power saw. That was an accident. See, with the masks on, it's hard to understand each other so when my boss said, "Wanna cut?" I thought he said, "Are you OK?" which he had been asking me several times a day for two days, so I gave him the thumbs up and said "yeah!" He handed me the saw and off I went. It went pretty good. But they took it away from me soon. Go figure.
I haven't been able to speak with the homeowners much. The Disaster Relief has instituted a new policy of sending a chaplain on every team. So our chaplain is cruising the hood while we work and he is meeting and greeting, not me. I am sawing and chipping, peeling and pulling. They've reported the people are hardworkers and doing a lot of work on their own. Basically, we are helping the elderly or handicapped or some that have no insurance. There are lots of little things along the way that are blessings and some things that are so sad. I've been here two days and have seen a grown man cry both days.
I have to run - it's time for our debriefing. But I've come up with a new motto for the state of Iowa: Where we never grow mold.

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