It’s February 27, 2010
Yesterday was the last day of round two
It’s definitely been an adventure

We (Oak 5) stayed with Cedar 5 on campus this round
C5 worked with Weed and Seed, while
We worked with Block By Block-
   An organization in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
   that works to rebuild entire blocks,
   destroyed by the 2008 flood

It was hard to adjust to manual labor after working at Sherman Lake
And it was harder to adjust to such a different atmosphere
I’ve learned a lot through the tough moments during this project
I say tough moments, but they’ve been more like tough weeks
   tough first 75% of the project even… maybe

I’d like to write about my negative experiences during this project,
   but I’m far too exhausted to think about them anymore
   It’s time to just cut them loose
I will say that we lost Nikki though
She quit, the last week of our project
It was unexpected, but expected at the same time
She officially left AmeriCorps yesterday,
   it was strange to hug her goodbye

We have a new TL now
I love having her
She’s organized, prepared, professional, collected, calm, funny…
   There is hope for Oak 5 after all

Back to Block By Block…
I spent the first half of this project hating it
All I could think about was our first spike
I’d cry at random times throughout the day
If someone mentioned anything remotely similar to something at camp
   I’d tear up
During our first day of orientation, our sponsor mentioned
   that if we walk anywhere to please go in 3’s
   …a truddy
   oh great, now I’m crying at orientation
Problems with the team didn’t help my mood either
BUT, I was saved
   by amazing sponsors
   Melissa, Shelby, and Bob/RoBERT(a)
It’s incredibly sad to be leaving them
They’ve become our friends
They make me look forward to work
   I looked forward to laughing with them
   Making them laugh
   I’ll miss riding in their cars all over town to different houses,
      singing horribly with them
   Calling them all the time, asking ridiculously stupid questions
      They’re far too patient
   Going out with them on the weekends to Mickey’s or cosmic bowling
   Seeing Bert wear a fanny pack
   Unloading Thomas the box truck
   Sewing curtains in Marion with Melissa
   Laying in the La-Z-Boys in the Marion office
   Squeezing 13 people into one table for lunch
I’ll also miss the people of Cedar Rapids
I’ll miss walking to the gas station
And talking to the most random people
About the most ridiculous things
   Like the man
   Who’s brother-in-law’s grandmother hid $10,000 in her house
   And when she died the family ripped the house apart
   And still didn’t find it
Or Paulette who worked at Casey’s
   And always seemed to be mopping
   When we’d track our nasty boots through to the bathroom… sorry
Or just the random people who would stop us and thank us for helping
   Thank us for lifting their spirits
Most of all, I’ll miss John Verba
   His house was the first that we’d worked on
   And on our last day he came to see us off
I loved working at John’s house
He was the only home owner we were able to meet,
   Since most everyone had sold their house and moved away
He’d stop by some days to see how things were
He’s a cute old man
   The silly kind
He always wore a baseball helmet
   And told stories about everything
He was born in the house
   His mom didn’t want him,
   She was in her forties and had already had a son before John,
   But the baby had been dropped and died
   John said he always felt like a replacement
      I think that’s so sad
When he talked to you, he’d add things at the end
   Like, “But shhh, don’t tell them that”
   As if he was telling you some secret information,
   When all he really said was something about the flooring
I helped clean out a trailer in the back yard one day
   We were moving all his stuff into the basement
   He told a story about every little thing in there
My favorite was about a bow he picked up
   He said he had gone out and killed 17 frogs when he first got it,
   But when he got back home he felt so bad
   Cause those frogs didn’t deserve it,
   So he never used that bow and arrow to kill anything again
He told me about the time he hit a homerun
   in elementary school one day
   A girl was pitching, he said that’s why he was able to hit it
   It was this girl he was in love with
   He wanted to marry her
He told us this other girl he liked, once told him he had cute legs
John’s never been married, I wonder how he feels about that
He’s very smart
   He tried to tell me about some sort of waves one day
   Like waves from the furnace in the basement
   And how they try to level them out when it’s cooling down
   So something doesn’t happen
   He did a great job of explaining it, but I was still confused
He said he used to love making model planes
   And his mom would let him keep them out on the window seat
   To show them off, but he’s never been in a plane-
   Too scared of heights-
   He said, probably because when he was younger his sister
   threatened to throw him in the river
   or maybe because when he was three, two neighborhood girls
   forced him to climb a tall ladder to the top of the barn

It’s nice to think of the homes we work on
   as homes people have actually lived in
It’s hard to see that when they’re falling apart
I found a time capsule while we were gutting a house one day
It has an old photo in it, from the early 1900s most likely
It’s a young boy, middle school aged
I wonder who he was…
   I wonder who he imagined would find his time capsule

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