Sunday, December 9, 2007


I’m thankful for the little things as well as the big things.

Yesterday (12/8) was again filled with examples of the strength of people working together to overcome the devastation wreaked by nature.

I had a great crew of friends from work, Mrs C’s friends from her work, and also neighbors and folks I really don’t know but who just wanted to pitch in. This is the Big thing I am so thankful for.

It was also a clear and mostly sunny day. It was a little cold (it is December after all) but the break from the rain was really appreciated. This is the not so big thing I am thankful for.

The work our friends accomplished was nothing short of phenomenal! About 10 people, fish biologists, IT specialists, Soil conservationists, community planners, budget specialists, and public works funders. Imagine the non stop jokes and banter about fish, soils etc. I’m glad to say we did not need to get out a flip chart and diagram a plan, develop subteams, list out goals and objectives, set bechmarks, outcomes and outputs, a time line. None of that, these people were hungry to get to work.

Last night I was describing this to yet another friend in Portland (who offerred help) and I was able to come to grips a bit with what a very strange new reality this is:

You eneter you beautiful little house to find it thoroughly redecorated with a thick coat of ‘Beige’. By the way, I am an ‘earth tones’ kind of guy, I appreciate the Colnago/peacock approach to color but really, give me something a little more subdued everytime. That aside, I am thinking that beige may drop off our color palette for some time to come.

Anyway, given this new interior design scheme, you then have a house party and invite your friends to go at the walls with claw hammers and utility knives. They start off a little timid but once you snap a chalk line on the wall at 4 feet and tell them it’s ‘guns free’ for everything below, they really get into the ‘swing’ of things: all the way down to the studs.

All the doors, all the door casings all the moldings: out to the street on the heap with the sheet rock and insulation, the discared appliances, funriture, the books, magazines, pictures. All the mementos you and your neighbors are forced to discard.

At one point I took a step back and looked at what our little house had become and I broke down. All I can say is, it isn’t pretty anymore. But you suck it up and put your head down, you roll another wheel barrow load of debris out to the street and, getting back into demolition mode you think, “well, now we’re getting somewhere”.

The day started with the visit from the insurance adjuster. He’s seen this a thousand times so you can assume that he might have developed a pretty thick callous. He was very considerate, even complimentary. He said he could tell right away that we really cared for our home and encouraged us to keep at it. He said insurance companies are very supportive when they see the home owner has chipped in and is in the process of helping solve their own problems.

Later in the day, an old friend from work stops by with a big bucket of spaghetti and rolls, Waldorf and snickers salad ( that was actually a big hit) and cookies for desert. She reminds me that a number of years ago she was in need of some help at her place out towards Shelton and we had come out with a work party of people from the office (actually at that time I worked for USFS but I knew her) and that makes me feel better about all the help I am receiving.

By the end of the day we had most of the sheet rock and the insulation removed from the interior walls up 4 feet. Inside the place looks more like a carcass picked clean by buzzards than our cozy little home. I know it will be great once again, my friends keep telling me that, and they keep working to make it a reality.

God bless ‘em!

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