Trip to Norman

Friday, February 17, 2017

This is the first Saturday of the NOMADS week so we slept in a little, had breakfast and then drove north about an hour to Norman, OK. Gwen and Gary went with us. Our target was the University of Oklahoma (OU) campus, but before we went there we stopped at Jason’s Deli for lunch. We all enjoyed our food, especially the free ice cream.  After lunch it was on to OU for our 1:00 tour of the National Weather Center. The tours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but they do not allow walk-ins. You must preregister online. The National Weather Center is a 250,000 sqft, 5 story building housing the OU meteorology school, as well as the center for climatology, the National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center, the NWS Norman Forecast Office and other university and government offices. There was a short video before the tour began and then an OU student lead our tour. We had a large group which included several high school seniors who were considering attending OU. The first stop on the tour was the observation deck on the top floor. view-from-deckThere is an outside deck as well as an inside/glass walled area ideal for watching storms approach. From the observation area you can see a long way. With no hills/mountains to block your view it would be a great place for watching storms and tornadoes move in. There is all sorts of equipment on the roof gathering information to assist in forecasting and research. From there we moved to the 5th floor which houses the OU School of Meteorology. There are all the necessary offices, research areas and labs to support the school.

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Storm Prediction Center

On to the 2nd floor, and we visited the Storm Prediction Center and the local weather office. All severe thunder storm watches and tornado watches for the lower 48 states are issued by the Storm Prediction Center as large polygons.

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Norman WFO

Once the polygons are drawn, the local forecast offices determine which counties in their forecast areas are included in the watch. There are at least 4 people on duty in the SPC at all times to follow the weather systems moving across the US. Doesn’t really seem like enough people to cover the entire country.

The tour ended at the Flying Cow Cafe – a reference to the cows in the movie “Twister”. flying-cowIn the lobby just outside the cafe is a display of three weather sensor pods – two fake ones that were used as props in the movie “Twister” and a real one usesensors by the NWS to try to capture readings inside a tornado. Dorothy (left) and D. O. T. (center) are the props. Toto (right) is real.

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Large globe in lobby that has weather and earthquake information projected onto it

The tour was interesting, but somewhat disappointing. We had hoped for more time spent touring the NWS offices, but most of the tour seemed to be a recruiting effort for the OU meteorology school.

After leaving the weather center, we made a stop at Sprouts Grocery store. They had some really good looking fruits and veggies at nice prices today. We loaded up on fruits and veggies since our grocery stores are limited in Elmore City and Maysville. We will have some good food in our lunches next week..

Hope everyone has a great weekend because we are!

It’s FRIDAY!! – For NOMADS

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today was another beautiful sunny day. So we have finished our first week on the 2017 Oklahoma Disaster Rebuild Project. It’s been a great week. Today we completed our first assignment. It was a one bedroom, one bath home in the middle of the area that flooded in Maysville. The rebuild began several months ago – “before Halloween” per the home owner. The application process began even before that. The home owner said he had decided that his home was a total loss and he would just get it bulldozed and sell the lot since he didn’t have any insurance and not enough money to do anything else. Someone from United Methodist Disaster Response-Oklahoma came by to see him. He told them they could take a look but…. When he was told they could help him he wanted to know what was the catch. “From my experience ain’t nothing free so what’s the catch.” First a VIM team came in and mucked the house out. A team from Colorado came in and started the rebuild working on the interior and exterior. Several more VIM teams from Oklahoma and  Louisiana worked on the house. Finally this week, we had the joy of completing the final work. Today we finished the painting, installed shelves in the closets, installed bathroom fixtures and generally cleaned up the construction mess.

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Finished tub and shower
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Finished bathroom shelves
closet-finished
Finished closet
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One of many patched walls

It is the tradition of NOMADS that everyone who works on a rebuild writes a note to the homeowner including one of our favorite scriptures, in a Bible that we then present to the homeowner. bible-redactedThis afternoon we presented the Bible to the homeowners of “house #1.” It was so great. The homeowners were so happy and yes tears were shed. A few months ago they were hopeless. Today, with the help of people who love God, they are back in a home that is better than before the flood. What was the catch? Only that he and his wife have been surrounded by the love of God for the past several months. They were truly amazed.

Today some of us also visited the next home we will begin working on Monday. This one has been mucked out but the rebuild has not begun. We have LOTS to do and it will NOT be completed in a week.

next-work-site

next-work-site-inside

After work we drove over to the Elmore City Recreation Area. It is a nice area with baseball and softball fields plus a nice lake with about 4 piers for fishing and a boat ramp. Scout would have loved this place. You can walk all around the lake and there is a nice picnic area. There is also what appeared to us as a fill site for water trucks/fire trucks. Didn’t see any trucks come in but…that’s what it looked like to us.

ec-lake

We had a question about our devotions from one of our readers and asked that we consider sharing a little more about that time. We will try to do that as we go forward. As general information, everyone on the team picks the day they want to bring the devotion. We usually start out by singing “This is the Day” and maybe a prayer. Then there is whatever the person of the day wants to bring – a devotion from their favorite devotion book or some sort of meditation. We have a little discussion as appropriate. We keep a prayer list that we review/add to each day, and have prayer. We sometimes sing another song. The primary thought for today was that we are all called to be seekers. To be a true follower of Jesus means we must become an all-out seeker of Him. Yes, we know him, but there is so much more of Him to know. Proverbs 2:1-6, Jeremiah 2:13. The devotion was taken partially from Seedbed Daily Text.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the National Weather Center and Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. We have a tour scheduled for 1:00. Should be a fun day.

Sorry, No Snow Pictures

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Well, we have no snow pictures for you today. However, much to our surprise the truck was coated in ice when we got up this morning. ice-on-windshieldIt was cold, but the sun came out and it was a bright and sunny day. After devotions we headed back to Maysville. It was a much prettier drive today. After a few cloudy days we really enjoyed the sun today. pretty-drive

We started working where we left off yesterday pushing to try to finish up by tomorrow afternoon. We grouted the tile which completed that project. We all did a lot of caulking. The remaining trim was installed. We got all the holes where sheetrock had been cut for pipes, etc covered and textured. The bathroom ceiling was painted as well as more doors and baseboard. We all worked really hard and we were tired when we got home this afternoon. We are all staying in tonight so we will be ready to push to finish tomorrow. If you don’t remember, NOMADS work Monday-Thursday each week so tomorrow is our “Friday.”

caulking-trim

painting-trim

gary-painting

caulking-finished-tile

We learned something new about our home for two more weeks. You may remember the picture we used earlier that said “Elmore City, Home of Footloose.” We didn’t know then that the movie “Footloose” and subsequent musical were “loosely based on events that took place in the small, rural, and religious community of Elmore City”. They have a Footloose Festival each year – this year will be April 22. Interesting little town. We will have to ask some of the locals more about this. We would like to hear more about what really happened here versus what was portrayed in the movie. Maybe we can ask some of the older members of the church when we have covered dish dinner Sunday. We will let you know what we find out.

We are responsible for devotional again in the morning so must go work on that. We have what we think are some good plans for Friday so check back.

Happy Valentines Day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day everyone!!! Hope you had a wonderful day and most importantly that you remember every day to tell those you love how much they mean to you.

It rained all night last night. That made for some really good sleeping weather with the rain on the roof of Fred. It was raining when we got up and it rained all day. On the way home it rained but also included some frozen stuff too.frozen-precipThey actually changed the forecast and now we have a possibility of ½ inch of snow over night. We don’t think it will amount to much because the ground is just a little too warm. Guess we will find out in the morning.

We of course started the day with devotions. Since it’s only two couples this week we are just meeting in Fred for devotional time rather than going to the meeting room at the church. Next week we may start meeting at the church since we will have another couple. Since we have to drive to Maysville, we are meeting at 7:40 for devotion rather than 8:00. It’s really fun to meet, pray and study with friends first thing in the morning.

After arriving at our job site we continued the projects from yesterday. We finished up the cutting and laying of the tile and will probably try to grout it tomorrow. We painted the shelves for the bathroom closet that we built out yesterday. We also spent a good deal of time filling holes/patching sheetrock, and re-texturing walls. Interior doors were painted and a good deal of time was spent repairing one of the exterior doors. We are making progress but it will take at least 2 more days to finish up this house. It would be nice to finish by Thursday afternoon but ….

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Cutting tile
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Spreading adhesive
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Tile in place
wall-patching
Patching hole in drywall
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Painting shelves
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Painting door

 

Since it was Valentines Day and there are very limited choices in restaurants in our area, for lunch we decided to go to Papa’s, the little place attached to the gas station a block from where we were working. Papa’s is known for their char burgers and char fries so that is what we had. The food was good and the company was great and we enjoyed a little bit of the local flavor. We all four said we wouldn’t have gone out to dinner tonight if we have been home, so not having a nice restaurant conveniently located really wasn’t a problem. Remember you can leave comments or send us e-mail and check back in tomorrow to see if there are any snow pictures.

 

 

And the work begins!!

Monday, February 13, 217

Today is day one of the NOMADS Disaster Rebuild project in Maysville, OK. Our rigs are in Elmore City, but the flooding on June 12, 2016 was in Maysville about 14 miles north of Elmore City. Maysville is a little town of 1,232 people with slightly more than 21% living below the poverty line. Beef Creek runs thru the middle of the town and with very heavy rain within a matter of a few hours homes in the lower area of town were inundated with more than 2 feet of water. There are some videos of the area showing cars almost under water. There was one news report of cars floating down the streets.

on-siteThe home owner at the home we were working on today said that his dog woke him up about 4:30am and when he got out of bed to let her out there was water up to his ankles. By the time he and his wife left the house it was up to his knees in the bathroom. The flooding quickly receded but left homes ruined and possessions lost. Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response became involved and there have been Volunteers in Mission (VIM), teams working in the homes mucking them out and in the home we worked in today, the VIM teams had started the rebuild. We hope to complete this home in the next day or two and it won’t be any too soon for the home owners. They had been staying with family but over the weekend couldn’t wait any longer and moved back into the yet unfinished house sleeping on an air mattress on the floor. They have no other furniture or appliances. After today, all the plumbing is working. YEA!!  Today, in addition to completing the last few pieces of the plumbing,  we started installing the last section of tile in the bath room, installed shelves in the bathroom closet, and worked on some drywall patching and touch up, painting and caulking.

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Gwen and Anne caulking and painting trim

 

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Gary working on plumbing

tub-before
Tub base before tile

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Tile installation started

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New shelves in bathroom

We will continue more of the same tomorrow working to turn the home back to the owners as soon as possible. It was a good and a fun day working with Gwen and Gary. We have more team members arriving over the next few weeks so then we will be able to do even more. We are tired tonight but it’s a really good kind of tired. We feel so blessed to be able to be here.

 

Windy City and we aren’t in Chicago

Sunday, February 12, 2017

This morning it was 53 and WINDY. We brought the big slide in on FRED because it was so windy we were afraid of damage to the topper. According to the weather people we had gusts to 50mph. We had planned to walk to church. It’s only about 2 blocks from where we are parked, but with winds steady at 25-26 and much stronger gusts one of us was afraid she might go airborne and we elected to drive the two blocks. The little Methodist church we visited was very warm and inviting. Sweet, sweet people and a very good message. It is a very small congregation, but hopefully they will grow. church2.jpgThey invited the team to a covered dish dinner next Sunday after worship, so of course we accepted. After church we rode down to Paul’s Valley with Gwen and Gary for lunch. There is really just one restaurant we have found in Elmore City and it is closed on Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the day was spent organizing tools in the truck and getting ready to go to work tomorrow as well as working on some accounting and tax stuff. We will all meet in FRED for devotion at 7:40 in the morning so we can be about 13 miles down the road by 8:30 to meet with the coordinator for the relief efforts and then go to work. Praying for a safe and productive week.

elmore-city-view

By the way, this is the view out our windshield now (splattered bugs and all) – in case you want to compare it to our view at Maumelle Park a few days ago.

Moving Day – On to Elmore City

Saturday February 11, 2017

First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mama Ruby!! Celebrating 93 years today with our wishes for many more. We miss being there with you today but want you to know we have been thinking of you and hope it was a great day.

Sorry – no sunrise pictures today. Don’t blame us – it was very cloudy and we never saw the sun until we were many miles down the road from Maumelle. We hated to leave Maumelle, but really look forward to the disaster rebuild project in Elmore City. We left the park at 7:25, and stopped at a rest area down the road and had breakfast. Interesting rest area.

old-treegraves.jpgCan’t say we have ever seen a cemetery on the front lawn of a rest area before. We continued to follow I-40 west, crossing into Oklahoma and stopped at the Oklahoma Welcome Center. There we found our first geocache in the state of Oklahoma.

ok-geocacheBefore reaching Oklahoma City we turned south, taking state roads to Elmore City – population 697. We look forward to exploring the area and getting to know the people here.

lustersOur team leaders Gary and Gwen greeted us when we arrived a little after 3:00 and assisted us in getting settled in the “RV park.” We are at Luster’s RV park which is in the parking lot of Luster’s Grocery Store in downtown Elmore City. The view out our windshield is a little different than back in Maumelle. Gwen and Gary invited us over for dinner and tonight we shared a wonderful evening with them having a delicious dinner and time of getting to know each other. Gary and Gwen are such a fun, sweet couple. This is going to be a great 3 weeks!  Can’t wait to get started.

When we signed up for this project in Oklahoma in February a number of people thought we were a little crazy. Certainly it would be quite different from wintering in Florida. We were cautioned about how cold it gets here in February. We came prepared for cold. Warmest sweaters, long johns, coats and RV antifreeze. clockWell, God once again just showed us his sense of humor. It was a bright sunny, hot, 87 degrees at 5:00 tonight.  I think that was about 20 degrees warmer than home. Don’t you just love it. It is predicted to be a little more seasonable tomorrow but we will remember the sense of humor.

Thank you all who are reading, following and commenting on our blog. It’s makes doing this fun, knowing you are actually reading it. Tomorrow we plan to go to church and then explore the area a little.

footloose