We all returned to George’s house on Marathon to keep pushing towards completion of our work there. The team worked hard all day and got the shower drain plumbed and the pan installed, all three air conditioners installed and operating (yea!), and started painting the walls. Around lunch time the volunteer coordinator came by and borrowed a couple of team members to help him move some furniture for one of the agency’s clients.
This evening Wanda, our unofficial social director, arranged another game night. Fun and fellowship even for us tired old folks.
Sara brought us a wonderful devotion this morning based from 1 Peter 2 based on “Stones”. She collects stones and polishes them into “prayer stones.” Today she brought several with her and allowed us to pick one to keep. She told us she keeps one in her pocket and whenever she reaches into her pocket for something she feels the stone and it reminds her to pray. Sara finished by reading the poem “Prayer Rock.”
The whole team worked at George’s house in Marathon. That is about 20 miles from where we are staying. Jim, the construction coordinator, wants us to put a full push on getting that house ready to turn back over to the homeowner next week. It will be a challenge.
After Greg and Max worked there last Wednesday, the mission group from Marshall University worked there on Thursday and Friday. They did a remarkable job moving the house toward completion. They put up the rest of the ceiling panels and then installed laths over all the seams and nails and installed some of the insulation and paneling. One of the students was in a wheelchair. She told Jim she knew how to install the flooring. With some help getting around she installed all but a few pieces.
Today we installed the last few pieces of flooring in the living room/kitchen, paneled more walls, started rebuilding the bathroom, framed openings for air conditioners and caulked the lath strips on the ceilings. The home owner came by for a few minutes and was very pleased with the progress. We enjoyed meeting him.
Saturday and Sunday have been nice days. A little windy and occasional showers – enough that we didn’t want to be out on the water – but still nice. We were sad to follow all the horrible weather in other parts of the country, including the storm deaths in Alabama. Saturday we had some work to do but also relaxed. We went to the flea market – again didn’t purchase anything but it’s fun to look and people watch. Unlike any other flea market we have been to, we also got to key deer watch. Just as we were arriving a little buck walked in to the market. He looked around a hardware booth then walked down to one of the plant booths and we heard someone yell, “don’t let him eat the roses.” Shortly we saw someone escorting him out. The deer are so protected that you really have to be careful how you protect your property. Of course too many have been fed by people so they will come right up to you. They also don’t mind ambling down the highway and stopping traffic. You aren’t suppose to interfere with them.
Today of course we worshiped at Big Pine UMC and then enjoyed a very nice brunch and fellowship with the members. We got to know a couple from Wisconsin who live here six to seven months of the year (depending on the Wisconsin weather) and return home for the rest of the year. Originally they traveled in a motor home to the Keys but bought a home here about 10 years ago. After visiting Wisconsin and following their weather since we left in September, we can certainly understand their desire to be here. However, today may have been a little too warm for the snow birds because the Keys set a new record high temperature today, 84.
Early afternoon, our new team members, Dan and Virgie, arrived. They will be taking over as leaders next week so this is a transition week. We will take them around and show them the houses we have in progress and introduce them to Jim and the homeowners. Very thankful for their safe arrival. We had team meeting tonight to discuss this week’s plans and are now ready to start our last week as leaders. Hope you all had a great weekend.
We slept in today and then went out to breakfast at a little local restaurant CoCo’s Kitchen which is in the same shopping center as Winn Dixie. Locals have told us it’s the best place to eat on Big Pine with reasonable prices too. It’s a Cuban restaurant but has other foods as well. Today we had just a regular breakfast of eggs, gravy biscuit, sausage and hash browns. It was good and reasonably priced. Their lunch and dinner menu look good too so we will go back and give it a try. Wanda has already been there for supper two nights and said she would go back.
After breakfast we walked down to the National Key Deer Refuge Visitor and Nature Center. The center was destroyed by Hurricane Irma and this new facility just recently opened. It has displays of the various birds and wildlife in the Keys with special focus on the Key Deer. We really didn’t learn anything new there since we had already done research on line. They also had a nice little gift shop. We actually went they to ask about guided bike tours of the area but the very nice attendant told us they no longer have those.
Since there were no guided tours, this afternoon Greg and Karen road down to Blue Hole with us and Wanda joined us in her truck. (Sara had to go back to Florida City to get her car today.) The two gators were there again but posing differently today. It was a nice ride and a cloudy, gray day. We had some rain over night and sprinkles throughout the day. The rest of the day was spent on laundry and book work. It was another good day.
After devotion the entire team returned to Dennis’s house. Max and Greg began the day back at work on the attic access repair they began on Tuesday. They stopped at Home Depot yesterday on the way home from Marathon to purchase some of the plastic j-channel trim used to cover bare drywall edges for the project. It took longer than expected but they finished the project today. Sara was able to put another coat of paint on it and we think it now looks really good. Sara also completed painting the bedroom closets. Good job, Sara! Dennis purchased some maple interior doors from a neighbor that we wanted to use in his house. Wanda with some assistance from Dennis got the doors outside and washed. Karen started the day inspecting the walls and touching up any areas that needed more paint and later in the day began painting the interior doors. Later in the day Max, Anne and Wanda work on the flooring a little. Late this afternoon Jim told us he needs us all back up to Marathon Monday, so we stopped work a little early to have time to get everything back in the tool trailer, and cleaned up the house. We will see what Monday brings.
Tonight the team went to dinner at Paradise, a restaurant on the north end of the island. The food was good and we had a great time visiting with everyone. It was another beautiful day and the end of another great week. We have a great team.
Today’s devotion was brought by Sara using a reading from Our Daily Bread from a few years ago. 1 Samuel 16 where God chooses someone that looks to be an unlikely choice was the basis. She talked to us about our first impressions. We can’t help but make them when we see or meet someone but often they are so inaccurate. She gave us some good examples and left us with some things to think about. She also shared some of these, “If we were honest, song titles.” Thanks, Sara for sharing with us.
We then headed off to work but a little differently today. Karen, Wanda, Sara and Anne headed back to Dennis’s house. There they painted the bedroom and hall walls and started painting the closets but ran out of paint. That job will be finished tomorrow. Then the floors had to be scraped, and mopped and the flooring installation continued. The living room is now complete and work began on the hallway where it gets a little more complicated. The house is looking good.
Max and Greg headed back north to Marathon Key to work on George’s house. It’s a park model. When Max looked at it last week, the subfloor needed to be replaced. A Mission team from Marshall University replaced that yesterday and installed insulation in the ceiling trusses. Today’s job was to work with Jim and his wife Ann, Robin, one of the case managers and Jeremy, the volunteer coordinator, on installing white paneling on the ceilings and building and framing up a wall. The house is now ready for the college students to work on tomorrow.
Everyone was tired again today but some were still eager for another game night. We needed to stay home and work and didn’t participate. Maybe next time. It was another good day working in the Keys.
Wanda brought our devotion this morning from Philippians 4:4-8, reminding us to give thanks to God for what we know he can do even when we don’t know how He can do it. She also brought her guitar to accompany our singing. We always love it when our team members share their musical talents.
For the most part it was a painting and flooring day for us with the whole team at Dennis’s house again. Sara and Karen painted the ceilings that we textured yesterday while the rest of the team worked on flooring, except when Greg, Max and Dennis were busy putting a new plywood cover on the attic pulldown steps. After painting Sara helped with the flooring. At the end of the day the flooring was finished in the kitchen and almost finished in the living room. Another productive day.
We opened the fellowship hall for team game night last night and tonight. Last night they played some strange variation of Mexican train and tonight a card game called Hand and Foot. We enjoyed watching the game play (and especially the fellowship) both nights for a little bit, but unfortunately had NOMADS and personal business to take care of.