Interstellar Adventures

August 17, 2005

36 legs, 195 miles…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 1:09 pm

Update: 3:10 pm CST

Believe it or not, we are still at DFW airport. The diagnosing computer wasn’t working correctly, so what the problem it said it was wasn’t really the problem, and the plane still couldn’t get off the ground. Hopefully American can now get us where we’re going. I arrived at the airport at 8:15 am, and I am ready to be breathing in that Rocky Mountain air. I’m not a big fan of flying, and I’m really not feeling so hot about it after the issues we’ve had today. If this plane doesn’t get off the ground, we might not make this race. Too late to drive now and get there in time to make the start. My friends and I are all taking it in stride, and we’re all still laughing through the frustration.

The group waiting to board. The plane that wouldn’t go. The group waiting to run. On our way to the next terminal on the new SkyLink.

Update: 12:58 pm CST

Still at DFW airport. We’re supposed to leave at 2 pm now. They had to fly a part in from Chicago. I had a beer and some Southwest Egg Rolls in the Chili’s Too here at the airport. Tasty! I’m ready to go and run! Cross fingers that this part fixes the issue…otherwise we’re renting vans and driving. Not too many flight options open for a group of 14. 😦

Update: 10:52 am CST

I’m supposed to be in Colorado by now. But I’m still in Dallas. Issue with the plane. I’m glad they decided to try to fix it before we took off. Don’t know when we’ll get there. *Sigh* Anybody know any good airport games?

OK folks. This is it! United is taking me from DFW to Denver, where we’ll then pick up a couple of 15 passenger vans, do a little last-minute shopping, and then head on up to Fort Collins, CO for the start of the Wild West Relay.

The Dallas Hill Wranglers are running in the Flatlanders Division. The course will take us from Fort Collins, up through Roosevelt National Forest, across the Laramie Mountains, into Wymoming (briefly), then back to Colorado, over the Continental Divide and across Medicine Bow Mountains, above the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge, across the Rabbit Ears Range in the Routt National Forest, and on into Steamboat Springs.

I’m running legs 12, 24 & 36. Leg 12 looks to be in the Roosevelt National Forest. Leg 24 is going to be in the middle of the night, somewhere around 2-ish in the morning. I’m excited about this. Even though this one has the most up-and-down as far as hills mountains go. And, 36 is the home-stretch. Yes! I’ve been practicing my victory dance! My teammates will run out to meet me about 100 yards from the finish, and we’ll all run in together.

I’ll try to blog an update or two if I can, but I’m not sure what my internet access level is going to be. If all else fails, I’m going to attempt an audio blog. Please note I hate the sound of my recorded voice. Just for you special people would I do this.

Wish me luck!

Mission Trip, Finale

Filed under: Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 8:13 am

11th Grade Mission Trip: Gulfport, MS

Hurricane damage had ravished a small community outside Gulfport. Our mission this year was to help repair a church. The church was attended by the senior citizens of the community. Not a single young family attended this church. It was two rooms on the inside, with a small fellowship hall around the back. We were to put new siding on the outside of the main building. A group in the week before had completed re-framing, insulating, and wrapping Tyvek around the building. We measured (twice) and cut (once) the siding, popping chalk-lines to make sure they were level, and nailing the boards into place, all the way around the building. We also painted the outside.

And then I noticed the bell steeple. It was sad looking, with its paint chipping off. But, we couldn’t reach it from our ladders, and the pitch of the roof was too steep to climb on without safety ropes, so it was to go unpainted. Then, someone told me they couldn’t even ring their bell because the bell cord had rotted out and fallen off. Well, that was it. We were getting up on that roof. I had recently done a ropes course, and I knew how to tie a Swiss Seat climbing harness from scratch. So, someone found some nylon rope, and I made myself a Swiss Seat. I secured another length of rope to the harness, climbed the ladder, and tossed the rope over the roof, where I was to be ‘belayed’ by one of my friends (also in a Swiss seat tied by me, so if I fell, it was no one’s fault but my own). I climbed up the roof, and straddled the ridge cap. I hauled up another rope, which I tied to their church bell. One of my friends tested it from the inside. *Bong Bong Bong* Their bell could now be rung before Service. Then I hauled up a paint bucket and brush and painted the bell steeple. It was now pretty and white and matched the rest of the building. Yes, there are pictures of this feat, but no, I don’t have them in my possession. Somewhere in the church archives by now. Another five days of great service.

12th Grade Mission Trip: Slidell, LA

More hurricane damage brought us to Slidell, LA. Here, I worked on the home of an older lady, with no family to help her care for her home. Her home was a small trailer, ‘permanently’ placed on the lot where she lived. There was an enclosed patio built around the front of the trailer. The steps up to the patio were rotting out, and she needed wheelchair access. So, we built a ramp for her and replaced the stairs. We also cut out and installed a window for her on the patio. We worked on the porch on the back of the house as well, which had been unusable for some time. And, then her house and patio and porch got a fresh coat of paint. This lady was tickled to death to have young people at her home. She made snacks for us all day long, and made us fried chicken for lunch on our last day there.

This was my last mission trip for some time. I graduated from High School and went on to college. There was no ‘college mission trip’ that I could go on. I also fell away from going to church and questioned my beliefs and the need for religion. But, I still treasured the time I spent on these trips, and felt that need to serve others gnawing at me.

More Work
When I moved back to my hometown during my separation, my mom again tried to involve me in the church. I would take my kids to events, and then I started working with the High School youth. I was able to participate in two years of the Great Days of Service program. By doing this, my work was able to directly benefit people in my own community. The first year I landscaped a yard and painted part of a house. The next year I scraped the paint off a detached garage that had been cited by the city for maintenance. This prepared it for painting by another group of volunteers. I also worked a day the second year with the youth on a special project house set aside for them.

Adult Leader
Between these two years, I also got to go on another Mission Trip in the summer of 2003. This time as an adult leader (in reference to myself, I use the word ‘adult’ loosly). We went to Diamond City, AR.

This small town on the edge of the Ozarks is primarily a retirement community. The residents are often transplants from the North, with few family members to help care for them. The owner of the home that we worked on was a lady with no family and severe arthritis in her knees. One knee had a rod placed in it so she couldn’t even bend her leg. We power-washed and painted her house, and built a wheelchair ramp for her. We also replaced a good part of the soffit in the front of her house. This was rotted out due to a poor roofing job two years prior. With my previous experience with roofing, I was also able to fix the problem that caused this rot, and properly re-shingled the valley that was the source of the water run-off.

What’s Next?
I haven’t been able to go on another Mission Trip yet. But I will. I’ve volunteered on occasion for other things. Most recently I spent a Saturday at a facility that provides counseling to abused children. The company I worked for gave them a computer network and upgraded all their PCs to OSes that software vendors actually support. Windows 95 just wasn’t cutting it for them. And now that I think about it, that was over a year ago. I need to find something else to do.

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