If you came here looking for a way to help out the Linden Family,
you are now a member of Annabelle's Circle.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Day 7

As a contractor I've often had my phone ring while standing in line at the Home Depot. "Where are you?!" the customer demands to know. You have to politely explain that just because you're not at their house doesn't mean you're not working on it. It is an interminable experience, construction purchasing. The products can get pretty technical so you can't just send anyone, and oftentimes you have to have an employee pull it for you with a fork lift or otherwise. It takes forever. Driving to Lowes to track down and buy a 3/4" drip line hose pinch takes about an hour and a half longer than it does to install it, which takes all of 3 seconds.

So when the two Seans returned, there was an energetic push to get done what we had set out to accomplish that morning, and we pushed on till midnight. There were a few of us still hustling after the sun went down. Everyone seems to belong to a project, which they've taken ownership over (or it, them.) And when that happens you'll stop at nothing to beat the clock, lest it try and beat you. Can you paint a house or work on your front yard in the dark? Evidently you can. I went out back to get a tool and noticed my two-year old daughter sitting on a cardboard box watching one of those handy little dvd-screens. She seemed happy as can be, though I wonder what she makes of all this. Probably nothing at all. "It's just wherever my parents drag me," would be the look on her face if you attempted too ask.

We are all somewhat frustrated by this or that not being finished, and we have no good reason for it, as we have worked as hard and fast as skills and available tools have allowed. It will all get done eventually, and certainly before August, so I'm not worried. These commitments of friendship are set in stone, and any wasted sacrifice is too painful a thing to bear, so it's obvious that it will all be seen through to its rightful conclusion. Taking a look around the property, I noticed how much work it is to just repair things. Little was actually replaced on the house, and the work was almost all just plain old dumb repair. Tallying up all the loads to the dump, we spent over $400 and dropped off over 8 tons of debris (so far). Our thanks to the kind neighbor who had a hydraulic dump trailer handy. "I'll just leave it in front of the house. You kids fill it up and I'll haul it off for you and send you the receipt," he said. A godsend.

And then all the money that has just come in, seemingly out of nowhere. Just when you think you don't have $100 for those screws and post brackets, an email pops up with some distant friend or relative letting you know they just put another hundred in Annabelle's account. It's just amazing. When you watch the Extreme Home Makeover TV show, you see the teams of hundreds of people and the back hoes and heavy equipment. And then there's the "gifts" of appliances and such -which is just a corporate product placement, a tax ride-off. And then there's those hosts, who take ownership over it all like they give so much of their personal time (most of it spent in makeup and wardrobe.)

But this is real life with real people doing the real thing. There aren't any cameras and there aren't any corporate sponsors. It's friends taking care of business, giving what they can to help someone out, because help is needed. These folks give their own money and their own time and they do it eagerly and enthusiastically and ask nothing in return. They do it out of love and they do it with a smile on, and, amazingly, they're all happy to be there.

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