Our Last Work Day in the Keys

Thursday, March 12, 2020

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.


Wow Wednesday

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Delicious key lime cake
Our delicious key lime cake. WOW!

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.



Be Strong and Courageous

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

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.

Start of Our Last Week

Monday, March 9, 2020

Monday morning of our last week
Monday morning of our last week

Today the Ripley’s started our last week in the Keys by leading us in our devotional time. Rodney talked about his memories of his mother making bread with all the right ingredients and how wonderful the bread was. Fresh homemade bread – nothing better. But then he reminded us that what God has for us is so much better. Bread is really great but what God has for us is beyond our wildest dreams. He uses perfect ingredients and perfect timing to shape our future. And sometimes he uses us as those ingredients to shape the future for others. With all the talk of bread and as part of the object lesson Tammy made some wonderful southern pecan muffins. They were buttery and nutty and oh so good. Thanks, Tammy and Rodney!

Delicious devotional example
Delicious devotional example

After devotion we all headed in opposite directions. Max and Rodney headed down to Lower Sugarloaf  Key to meet the countertop people at the Keystone house and re-install the sink after the counter tops were installed. The home owner was so pleased. This was for the lady who has been cooking three meals a day and washing all her dishes in the bathtub for 2 years. We are so happy for her. Bill, Barb and Reid headed back to Art’s house. There they continued to work on the painting and the drywall. They painted all the walls and installed the peninsula cabinets. More items were added to the work order there today so NOMADS will be at Art’s for several more days. At Dennis’s house the window crew that we thought were supposed to arrive today were a no show as was the countertop crew. We think the counter tops will now be delivered Wednesday. No idea on the windows. However, we did have four college students from Pennsylvania arrive and begin painting the exterior of the house. They are doing a very good job! Anita did put a second coat of paint on the window trim that was installed last week as well as the bathroom door. She also worked with Anne and Tammy on cleaning the bathroom floor. After lunch Anita went to Art’s to paint and the other ladies continued to work to removed some of the build up on the tile from the salt water that was in the house for over a week after hurricane Irma. We also did a little flooring repair. Now we will wait on the windows, countertops and doors. It was a great start to our last week in the Keys.

Last Weekend in the Keys

Sunday, March 08, 2020

[Begin (tongue-in-cheek) rant]  Five weekends in a row! Yes, FIVE weekends in a row of either cooler or windier or rainier weather AND small craft advisories. We had hoped to do some snorkeling or kayaking this weekend. Instead we conducted NOMADS business, worked on taxes, did laundry and cleaned house. Whoopie-doo. [End rant]

On Friday we had to say “See you down the road” to Mark and Lisa and Dallas. Hated to see them go, but we really appreciated them staying an extra week to help move the project along. Then on Saturday we welcomed Tammy and Rodney in to Big Pine Key. We will be transitioning leadership of the team to them this week. We are looking forward to a great final week with a great team.

Another Beautiful NOMADS Friday

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Today was a very busy day. We started the day with Lisa and Barb completing the drywall at Atlantis. They then joined Max, Bill, Mark and Reid down at Art’s house on Summerland Key where everyone was painting and Reid was working on a particularly challenging section of drywall. Anne and Anita were back at Dennis’s caulking and painting the trim that was installed yesterday. They also worked on cleanup, and cleanup of the trailer. After lunch Lisa and Mark joined them back at Dennis’s to get the trailer ready for Jim to move Saturday and install the towel bars, towel ring and toilet paper holder in the bathroom. Back at Art’s the team completed the second coat of paint on the ceiling, and installed the cleats in the floor for the installation of the peninsula cabinets. Dennis’s bathroom is complete. We will need to put another coat of paint on the window trim but most things are complete at his house. Great news for Dennis today is that the contractor is supposed to start the installation of his new windows Monday. Once that is done we will need to trim out the new windows. We are still waiting on the counter tops and exterior doors there. We have a hard working team that accomplished a lot this week. Very thankful for them.

Tonight we tried a new to us restaurant on Marathon, Burdine’s. Lisa and Mark went here last week and chose this for their last evening with the team. It was very good and everyone seemed to have a great time. Yes, we had key lime pie again, this time fried in a flour tortilla with cinnamon. Very good!

A God-Thing Today

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

With Jim, the construction coordinator, on vacation this week the task of purchasing and delivering supplies fell on us – the team leaders. We met with Jim before he left and he asked us to go to Home Depot and purchase the cabinets for Art’s house. This is a house we have not worked on before but other volunteer groups have. In fact, a multi-generational group from Minnesota worked on it last week. They put down the vinyl plank flooring and did some painting. Our assignment is to pick up where they left off and finish the house.  We had planned to go get the cabinets earlier in the week but stayed busy at Dennis’s house and the Atlantis house. But we digress. So this morning Bill (and his larger pickup truck) and Max headed out to Key West to get cabinets. We, and Jim, had checked the online inventory and found out one of the cabinets, a 9” base,  was not in stock and had to be special ordered. The kitchen would not go together correctly without that cabinet.

We met with the kitchen design specialist to start gathering all the other cabinets.  She looked at the list and told us the 9” base is not a stock item. Then she went on to tell us that someone else had ordered one and then just a few minutes before had told her they no longer needed it. It was still sitting beside her desk.  God works mysteriously, and sometimes with kitchen cabinets.

We were able to get the cabinets installed today.  Without that one little God-thing cabinet we would have been delayed no telling how long.

Elsewhere – Anne and Anita worked at Dennis’s cleaning the bathroom and painting trim. Lisa and Barb did some drywall touchup at Atlantis then went to Dennis’s to case and trim a window and the bathroom door.  And Reid and Mark redid some of the flooring and installed transitions and baseboard at Art’s.