Saturday, September 29, 2007

"That's what she said"

Today I finally got to work with a group of fairly attractive young (ish) volunteers who - if I had to guess - were all in their mid to late 20s. At least I hope so. Not that it really matters, of course. I wasn't running game.

But...I did have to let slide a ridiculously good 'that's what she said' moment in light of my new situation. If I had been around anyone other than volunteers I would have let loose with that ill verbage like it was my job, because the moment was oh so key.

One of the girls was staining porch railings next to me and at one point a large daddy longlegs crawled out onto the railings and she screamed. This was no ordinary scream; it sounded exactly like a yelping dog. I don't know where she came from with that scream, but it was super obnoxious. I was afraid she had died for a second. But no, it was just a spider that is actually incapable of hurting anyone. What a sloot. She probably loves to party.

But after this exclamation one of her friends came out to see what the problem was (it seriously sounded like a dog had just died when she screamed) and saw the spider. She sort of yelled and said: "Oh my GOD! I have never seen one SO big!! That's HUUGE!" I had such a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I was LOL'ing so hard on the inside. Although I guess in that case it wouldn't be lol'ing, it'd be something like "loloti," if that works. Probably doesn't but who cares.

So yea, I held back. I'm maturing.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Me + 34 years

So today I met the 56 yr old black version of myself. It was pretty scary to be perfectly honest. We were doing siding together and I was saying how you needed to make sure the pieces fit in tight together and he caught me off guard with "Haha mannn I liiike it tight." I was completely thrown off my builder game and realized that it was exactly what I would have said if I had been in certain types of company. I gave a nervous laugh and just kept plugging along, pretending that it didn't happen. What could I have possibly said that didn't worsen the situation?

Option A:
"Oh yea man me too. I feel ya on that one."

This had potential, but the simple fact that I would have been uttering it to a 56 year old man made me feel just plain dirty. I mean, I'm not a champion of virtue, dignity, and non-perversion or anything of the sort (duh) but the situation was just wrong. If I had been the filter between his brain and mouth I would likely have voted to not say that I liked it tight.

Option B:
"Dude no way! I like that reaaal loose."

Ok. News Flash. I actually don't have a giant penis. No 9" of glory for me. I don't need a hugely loose ham wallet. Loose vajayjay is really something that is usually reserved for porn starts and post-childbirth mothers (and total sluts, of course). It also would have been wrong on a different level. Siding actually does need to be super tight and locked in place. So I would have, in effect, been encouraging an incorrect method of building by suggesting that I liked it real loose, regardless of the implications. No can do partner. Shit needs to be on lock down for siding. No loose joints.

Option C:

"Sir, I object to your implications. Spare me the immaturity."

While this may very well be the safest option in terms of not getting yourself into trouble, it goes completely against any dogmas I may have established in past instances. Obviously the most Habitat friendly response, it likely would have been laughed at and ridiculed, which is something that my fragile psyche just can't handle at the moment. Yea that's horseshit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fantastic 4 2

Honestly, I really didn't have high hopes for the second installment of the Fantastic 4 movie series but jeez. It was bad. That's coming from me too. I was only barely entertained for the 80 minute bad-acting extravaganza. Barely. Jessica Alba is just going to start having to take her clothes off to get movie roles because she can't act for crap. I'm ok with this. Jessica Alba has a flaming hot body. Too bad Jeter gave her herpes because that kind of ruins the whole I want to have sex with her thing. As much as I love Jeter, I don't want his herpes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Construction is seriously underrated. I have never, ever given enough credit to those guys that slog around a house and put shit together and take shit apart. It's hard to describe how tiring it is to work (what will be) 6 days in a row doing serious manual labor for 8-9 hours a day. I get at least 8 hours of sleep a night but still manage to be exhausted all the time. It's the sort of tiredness that sleep just can't cure. I drank maybe 4 beers last Saturday night and I was very tipsy. I won't say drunk because I just can't admit that to myself yet; that I actually may have been drunk after 4 beers.

But seriously, the ability to do construction for decades (my supervisor Charles has been at it for at least 2 of them and is, btw, a Yankees fan w00t) means you have a man-strength that few can ever possess. Sam and I talked about this once a while ago. He told me that after my year here in Charlotte I'd get that 'man strength;' I had no idea what he was talking about. But after he described it in detail I realized Sam wasn't as stupid as he looks. Even if they don't work out, it always seems that men (not young men like us) are just naturally very strong because they've been around for longer. That is, they've acquired the sort of strength that weights just can't give you: man-strength. Construction workers have this by the bucketfuls. Even the ladays get down and dirty with the man-strength. Carrie, who is one of the other supervisors (late 20s) is ridiculously skinny but exceedingly strong. It's crazy. So, like Sam said, I suppose all of this good work is going to make me buff and manly, something that has eluded me my entire life. Especially the latter.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Building on Faith Blitz

So tomorrow begins the first bit of hardcore work here for the new AmeriCorps at HfH; when I say hardcore...I really mean it. Habitat Charlotte's description of this ridiculousness:

"Founded on a Christian mission, Habitat Charlotte pays annual service to our spiritual roots through our Building on Faith Week. This project is our signature Blitz Build Project, celebrating our special connection to Charlotte’s faith community. Each fall since 1995, faith groups of different denominations partner with us by spending 1 week constructing between 10 and 20 homes for local, low-income families.

Placing a specific emphasis on action and reflection, every day for that Blitz Build week, volunteers work alongside future homeowners to bring their houses to life. Throughout the week, time's taken to appreciate these accomplishments with celebratory habitation services, where all participants rejoice in the work completed and become energized for the work ahead. Volunteers are rewarded with the special gift of seeing the tangible impact their service can have in the course of just one week."

Today (Friday) we - my partner and our supervisor - prepped the 2 houses assigned to us for the next week and a half. This basically entailed prepping some trusses (the big triangles that form the assembly for the roof) and laying out the wall components to be ready for framing tomorrow. Framing is just assembling the walls on the ground and then raising them up, bracing them, and attaching them all together to make something resembling exterior and interior walls.

My arms and shoulders are nicely singed because Charlotte is insanely hot right now and working on a bare slab for 7 hours a day has a tendency to really fuck up your day if you're not prepared for it. My right hand is all torn up from all the work it's done these past 2 days (haha, yea laugh it's funny) nailing and carrying all kinds of stuff.

I go to bed by 11pm every night now and it looks like that is going to continue for the foreseeable future; that is sad. It makes me feel old. But if I'm waking up at 5:30-6 every morning I've got to get my beauty rest in or else my day will be absolute shit.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

HfH update

So, an update on this whole 'Habitat' thing is in order I suppose. Early Tuesday morning we left as a group to go to national orientation for all AmeriCorps HfH peeps in Eatonton, GA. As I made sure to keep my expectations low, I was not disappointed by the trip at all; it actually exceeded some expectations. Every evening there would be ultimate frisbee and breakfast was good. Most other things were either boring, unnecessary, or just plain thilly. I'm pretty sure that everything we did there could have been accomplished much more efficiently, cheaply, and easily at each individual affiliate across the country (HfH International flew most people in to Atlanta to be bussed to Eatonton) as opposed to sending everyone to a central location. Apparently though HfH is very much about nationalizing/standardizing their program as a whole so that's why they brought everyone to nowhere-ville, GA. Although the place where we stayed was owned by UGA; normally it was used as a 4h camp (Rock Eagle). So, in a small way, Jeremy and Kat paid for my orientation.

We got back to Charlotte at 12:30 or 1:00am on Friday morning because we all wanted to sleep in our own beds as opposed to staying another night in the cabins at Rock Eagle, which was a very good decision. Friday was therefore mostly an off day, but we spent the early afternoon buying tools with one of the Construction supervisors (there are 6 'site' supervisors who lead crews of 2 AmeriCorps each). We were given $100 to buy tools on a list. That was fun as I've never bought tools for myself and I got to spend someone else's money, which is always a plus.

Saturday was our first day of real work, as we began our construction training by building the sub-floor of a house. That basically amounts to a shit ton of nailing. The house is - sort of - divided into two halves by sets of parallel beams that in a sense form the backbone of the house. Joists are run down each half (each joist is about 13.5' long and 12" wide) every foot or so on average. In each joist go (on average) about 10-15 nails. There were (wildly guessing here) probably 30-50 joists all told on the house. That's a ton of nails. That's not even counting other random boards that must also get nailed to complete the sub-floor of a house. These aren't even big houses - maybe 1200-1500 square feet, so imagine having to build some 3500 sq ft house... Although they would, of course, be using nail guns, which we have not graduated to yet. The supervisors all wanted to see how we worked around a construction site; how we were with tools, terms, each other, physical labor, etc so they could figure out which AmeriCorps would work best with each other. I'm a pretty good nailer, not gonna lie. The blisters from the day are painful though, as my soft hands are not used to such manly labor. I gotta build up that man strength before I can really consider myself experienced.

We also found out our partners and supervisors on Saturday, so it's nice to know who we'll be spending a lot of time with over the next 11 months or so. It should be fun.