Monday, October 24, 2011

Paul's Visit

Sunday night in the intern house, we are all kind of just chillin' and preparing ourselves for another week of work.  I myself start my work solo again come tomorrow morning, I had my brother-in-law, Paul, working with me all last week, but he headed home today.  I have several things on my mind that I could easily write an entire blog on, but I will have to restrain myself so that I can get across the important things that are happening, and the needs that are most urgent.

Last week on Friday, I flew up to Birmingham with Steve, Ginny, and Sarah to pick up a truck that was being donated to ITEC but really it is for me.  The deal is, it is my truck until I leave ITEC, and since I have no plans to leave ITEC, the truck is mine.  It will be in my name, and under my insurance, so it is mine.  I find it amazing how God makes things like that happen.  My car died before I made my trip to TN at the beginning of the month, I really had no money to buy a new car and fixing it would cost more than the car is worth, being 20 years old.  I looked into a few cars, and really had to just leave it to God. He knows that there is a need and He has yet to let me go without, so I wasn’t unduly worried. I honestly cannot deny that I was at least a little nervous, though not nearly as much as I would have been before I started working with ITEC.  Living off of support from others, though is not easy or desirable, has increased my faith.  I just knew that God was going to do something.

So Steve, Ginny, and Sarah stayed up in Birmingham to stay with Sarah’s family, and I drove the truck back.  It is a white 2008 Chevrolet, Heavy Duty 2500, extended cab.  I was looking for a car originally because they are much more economical, but I honestly needed a truck. I do construction for a start, but really I do so much stuff for ITEC that requires a truck that it was a need.  God met that need for me and I am extremely grateful.  Thank you all for your prayers for me to get a vehicle, they obviously worked. J

I drove straight from Birmingham, AL down to Kissimmee, FL for a fall retreat with my church group. I didn’t get in till 3 am, waking up more than one person as I walked into the room.  The retreat was really great; I had a blast with all of my friends.  The retreat is one of those things that I could write an entire blog on, but I need to continue on.

The day I got back from the retreat, Paul arrived for the week to help me build a Cyclorama Wall.  For those of you who do not know what a Cyclorama wall is, it is a wall that curves from the floor to the wall and is built in just a way that you do not see any difference as long as the floor and wall are painted the same color and provided the workmanship is good.  If that short description is not good enough, you will probably have to look it up.

The actual construction of the wall and curvature framing went incredibly fast, but the mudding and painting took an eternity!  The weather was not exactly on our side so the mud had a hard time drying for us even with a heater and 2 fans blowing on it.  For an entire week it felt like old times, I had my best friend down here working with me.  We were able to be crazy, work late, blare the music, laugh at inside jokes, and trash talk about who was going to catch the biggest fish when the weekend came.  It is so awesome to have someone else I can fellowship with while I work and who knows the trade. It made it possible to just work together. The two of us just think the same way, and speak the same language, and it makes it easy to come up with a plan. 

After a week of crazy hours, missed meals, and coffee overdoses, we drove down to the Skyway pier in Tampa.  We fished till about 2am then got in the truck and went to sleep.  We planned to just sleep in the truck.  It was all great till I went to lean my seat back.  It was broken.  I was shocked.  I tried to sleep sitting up, but it just didn’t work.  After an hour or so of twisting and turning and trying my best to get some sleep that way, I decided to go to the back of the truck and sleep in the bed. Thankfully I brought a sleeping bag.  It was so cold and windy, I left my jacket and shoes on and still was cold.  I didn’t get to sleep till about 3:30 and Paul and I got up to start again at 6:30 quite lovely, eh? But fishing is important, you have to do it or you start going insane.

We had a blast fishing and caught several fish though only a few were keepers.  I do have to tell one story though because it is just plain out epic!  This story is true and accurate, not just a typical fisherman’s lie.  The first keeper of the day was caught by me, an 18-inch Mackerel.  Paul caught the next one but threw it back. Then things suddenly took a nasty turn.  I started pulling in a 3rd one.  It was about 10 feet out from the pier when it got off the line, needless to say, I was so not happy.  Then Paul pulls in a 4th one also about 18 inches long.  But as it got to the edge of the pier and was about to be pulled up out of the water, a huge fish (probably a Barracuda or Shark) about 4 or 5 feet long, swims up and bites Paul’s fish completely in half, and 5 seconds later, it went ahead and took the other half for good measure.  Paul decided that his 18-inch Mackerel was a worthy price for a 5ft something.  He pulled up the pole to set the hook in this monster’s mouth and the thing's teeth just slit the 40-lb test right in half like butter.  We were in such shock that we didn’t talk about anything else for an hour.

So after all our adventures, and craziness, it was time for Paul to head home.  He left Sunday morning before I left for church.  I think that it was the hardest time I have had with anyone leaving here.  Paul and I just roll the same way, our interests are similar, our fellowship is real, our work ethic is the same, and our love for each other is genuine.  It felt weird to see him go.  I myself was surprised to feel ripped in half when he was leaving.  I am such an independent person, and so use to working and operating alone that I usually don’t have much of a problem when I see people move on.  I obviously miss the people that leave from here after a visit or whatever, but this was different somehow, I don’t really know how to describe it. 

Everyone here at ITEC loved Paul, and I know that Paul loved it here too.  And no, I don’t think that it was the ride in the Maverick or the flight with Steve that did it. Well, maybe it was. J Thanks, Paul, for everything, It was great having you here.
As I said earlier, I now have a new truck.  I really need to get it in my name and a plate for it, pronto.  And I really need some help financially. I do not have the means to pay for it right now.  My car cost me $400 when I registered it and got a plate.  I am not sure if the price changes with newer vehicles or not.  Also, I have had to buy some tools and clothes recently, but those are generally few and far between.  The big expenses that are consistent are fuel and food.  ITEC covers my fuel that I use while working for them, but I cover personal use.  It is $100 dollars to fill up the tank, I use about $80 personal use every week.  I generally spend about $60 a week for food.  The other expense that is a drainer is insurance, I am paying about $100 a month but I have not put the truck on insurance yet so it will undoubtedly increase.  I am debating whether or not to spend the time and money to fix my car so that I have something with better gas mileage for times when I am not in need of a truck.  But I also am not keen on having 2 vehicles on my insurance.  I am open to any advice on the matter.

Thank you all for your prayers and support, it means a lot to me and I could do what I do without you.  I love and miss you all.  Have a wonderful week,

Your brother in Christ,