Not much to report. We are still safely driveway camped at our aunt’s house in rural Alabama. We are spending this time working on some things around here and our house that we have been putting off while we traveled.
We are praying for you all – that you stay safe and healthy. In these difficult days, always remember Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.”
The past three days we have been busy working on things we put off when we were busy finishing up in the Keys and getting ready for board meeting. There has been lots of mail to handle, laundry, visiting with friends (while walking the track with adequate separation), gathering the information for tax returns for the ladies, and even our first ever tele-medicine visit with our doctor. One of the reasons we needed to turn the project over to Rodney and Tammy was our scheduled doctor visits. We had postponed our annual checkups because we left for the Keys about 3 weeks before they were due. We go to the office where Anne practiced. Anne decided she did not want to go to the office with the flu very prevalent in our area and COVID 19 on top of that, so she canceled our appointments and instead we did the tele-medicine thing. It’s very new to our internal medicine office but it went well and now we are good until after annual meeting when we will have to go in to the office for lab work etc. Surely, the COVID 19 and flu viruses will be settled down by then.
Since we last posted, the NOMADS board of directors decided to cancel all NOMADS work for the next 6 weeks. That meant closing down the Florida Keys project as well. Rodney and Tammy did a great job leading the project for what turned out to be the last week, and along with Barb and Bill accomplished a lot. We are all sad that Dennis’s house was not quite complete but no one could have expected what has been happening. We have the pictures from the final day at this house. They also did the Bible presentation before they left. Thanks for all the hard work!
Now we have six weeks we were planning to be on projects. Seems a little strange, but we will find lots to do. For now we are following the recommendations as much as possible and keeping our distance.
We left Midway Campground Monday morning after a much needed restful Sunday. As we were leaving we thought, with the recommendations that people work from home as much as possible and limit travel and social interactions because of COVID-19, traffic might be lighter. What we forgot to consider was the annual northward snowbird migration. There were many RVs with tags from northern states northbound on I-75. And every rest area was crowded with them. Things improved when we changed to I-10 west.
For the most part the drive was uneventful. We hunted a couple of rest area geocaches and enjoyed the scenery. At the I-10 rest area just west of I-75 we saw the largest solar farm we have ever seen. It is the Florida Power & Light Sunshine Gateway Solar Energy Center. It has around 330,000 panels on 953 acres. Read more about it here.
We drove longer Monday than we usually do. But we wanted a shorter day today. We spent the night in the parking lot of the Marianna, Florida WalMart with a few other RVs and 18-wheelers.
We arrived back on Pine Mountain shortly after noon and are now set up here for a few days before our next NOMADS project. It surprised us a little to see how far behind spring is here compared to even south Alabama. It was really a joy to see Donna and Barry again and walk the track a couple of times this evening.
On Friday we said our “see-you-down-the-road” to Anita and Reid as they pulled out before sunrise to head back north. Later we met with Rodney and Tammy to transfer leadership and paperwork of the project and then Anne was in an online NOMADS Board meeting from 11:00 am till 4:30 pm. Max took that time to reorganize and repack for travel. That didn’t take nearly as long. We ended the day with another pizza at No-Name Pub. The pizza was again very good. However, this time we almost shared it with the owner’s dog. He had a Great Dane that was huge. He walked up and put his head on our table and we barely blocked him in time to save our pizza. Cute dog.
Saturday we waited for the parking lot to clear and left about 10:30 am to travel to Midway Campground where we stayed a couple of nights on the way to the Keys back in December. It was an uneventful trip except for about a half hour delay for a traffic standstill (never did find out what caused it) around Islamorada.
Today we are comfortably social distanced in the campground watching Lester Memorial’s live streamed worship service. And relaxing.
Editorial from Max: As many of you know, my last career was in emergency management. I can remember developing plans for several “new” infectious diseases during those 20+ years. During many of those events I was amazed by the unreasonable and irrational responses by the American populace. With that in mind you would think nothing would ever surprise me. Until this week I thought that, too. Apparently, as evidenced by the empty shelves and reported fights in stores, there is no limit to the ability of the media and social media to create panic. I’m not minimizing the severity of the disease and agree with most of the measures being taken to extend the spread of the infection over a longer period of time to keep the number of those needing treatment within our capability to care for them. There is just a difference between reasonable response and panic.
I remember some studies the National Weather Service conducted to try to understand why so many people ignored tornado warnings. One theory was that there were so many tornado warnings that did not directly impact the individual that they assumed the next one would not either. Apparently, that does not apply to these type situations.
The emergency plan for media and social media: “When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.”
Our last work day here was a beautiful one and a busy one. Anne, Anita and Tammy worked at the Atlantis house (now known as Atlantis 1 since we also worked at the house next door – now known as Atlantis 2). There they worked the final few punch list items of installing some baseboard and some touchup painting. We really wanted to finish at least one more house before we left and do a Bible presentation. We had thought a couple of times we were finished with this house but more items kept being added to the list. Today the team actually got all the items off the list. For now.
Barb, Bill and Reid worked at Atlantis 2 installing more insulation and hanging more drywall. The four Pennsylvania college students worked with them till noon when they were rewarded with a trip to Key West. The ceiling drywall was finished in one room.
Rodney and Max installed one of the new hurricane rated exterior doors at Dennis’s. While there the long-awaited kitchen countertop was delivered and the installers started installing it when Dennis noticed the one of the three pieces was a lighter color. After conferring with the owner of the company the installers loaded the countertops back in the truck. Dennis, while disappointed, took it in stride like he does everything. The whole team was very disappointed too because we have been waiting for the counter tops for a long time.
The team went to Kiki’s Sandbar for dinner after work. The food was good and we had a great time visiting with each other. After dinner we went back to Atlantis 1 to present the Bible signed by all the team members to the homeowner. She was very grateful for all the NOMADS who had worked on her house and hopes to move in in a few weeks.
The highlight of our day was a delicious key lime cake that the volunteer coordinator and case manager brought to the team today. It arrived just before lunch so we invited the team to join us just before going back to work to share it. It’s the only key lime cake we have ever had and WOW was it delicious. We really hope to have it again. And we really hope to see Robin and Jeremy somewhere down the road.
On the work side, part of the team was again joined by the four college students from Pennsylvania at Atlantis 2 where they helped the team carry drywall upstairs, installed insulation and begin the hanging of drywall there. Barb worked with them all day and Bill and Reid worked there except when they were next door finishing the bridge cabinet install and re-installing a piece of door trim the countertop installers took down. According to Jim, that finishes that house.
Rodney and Max were at Atlantis 2 for a while in the morning helping everyone get started. The rest of the day they were at Art’s getting the cabinets ready for countertops and working other punch list items. Tammy and Anita worked at Art’s painting and working on other punch list items.
Barb led us in devotion today, based on Joshua 1:9, “Be Strong and Courageous.” She reminded us to face our fears, even our fear of failure. Sometimes failure can be positive. It teaches us what doesn’t work and that is an important lesson. Fear of failure can be crippling. We have to be brave enough to try. Thanks, Barb for that important reminder.
Today was a Gumby day. Barb, Reid and Bill went to the Atlantis house to install the bridge cabinet over the refrigerator by the new wall we built. It was much more than a simple installation because of the spacing of the refrigerator and attachment to a pantry cabinet. Barb also worked on reinstalling some trim removed by the counter top guys. The installation is almost complete but we had to get some different screws for them to complete the job. Max and Rodney started the day at Atlantis then went to Art’s house to join Anne, Tammy, and Anita. Since there was no counter top or window installation for Dennis today we worked at Art’s. There was more painting walls, caulking, painting doors, and repairing of drywall, as well as preparation of the cabinets for counter tops. There was also a lot of cleanup and organization done at Art’s. We had to do that to get the new materials, Jim brought to us, in the house. Thanks, Anita and Tammy for working on that project. It will be interesting to see what tomorrow brings. We sure hope Dennis gets his counter tops and windows before we leave.