Scroll down...new entries at the bottomMONDAY, March 4:
CHRPA Day 1
Our work begins!!! As we breakfast and get our lunches, water, etc. ready, we see various volunteers arrive on bike and car. We meet in the office at 8 and introductions take place. Then Scott, CHRPA coordinator, in his slow, drawl way, makes assignments for the day. Most go out in pairs. Rick and I are split up (you can't pair two rookies up and expect them to KNOW anything!). I will be spending the day with Dan Regeer (sp?), one of the paid employees. A tall, very thin man with a ponytail, he was amazing to watch with the clients. So very patient and calm as he explained what was happening or the 'whys' of what we did.
|Tucson Power still at work.|
|Our homeowner wanted to help out!|
|Conduit from new breaker box.|
Late in the afternoon we stopped at another house to check on a misfunctioning furnace. The gas furnace was located on the roof of the house, and with a stiff west wind blowing right into the flame area, we couldn't check out anything! The wind kept blowing out the flame!
Rick was paired for the day with Dustin, a Tucson native who formerly taught and is now a CHRPA employee. (He is also expecting his first child in a couple of weeks!) They spent the day doing plumbing! Trench for a water line in the morning, and then fixing leaky faucets and toilets. Rick did get to eat his lunch, however, from the top of Sentinel Peak on the west side of town! (Right up by the red rocks marking the giant A!) Rick was back to the trailer nearly an hour before me.
Quiet evening! Alison came by to deliver a hug from Luke (she had called him during lunch!) and then Luke called later in the evening! We cooked up the pork chops for dinner, along with cooked apples, and stir-fried yams and asparagus! Pretty tasty dinner!
TUESDAY, March 5
CHRPA Day 2
Click HERE for all of today's pictures
Another beautiful morning!! Last night Luke asked if we enjoyed the bike parade as it arrives each morning. Half of the volunteers arrive by bike!
|Dan begins to investigate our furnace...|
Dan and I were together again to finish our jobs from yesterday. First stop - the furnace on the roof. We brought a hunk of cardboard to shield the breeze. Practically disassembled the whole thing, but we found a few quirks to fix that hopefully took care of the problem. I had a few moments to gaze across the rooftops to the mountains and listen to the birds while I held the cardboard in place. It's not that I know that much about furnaces, although I am much more knowledgeable tonight than I was!
|Cactus garden at Priscilla's|
Third stop was a run-down trailer park and a possible replacement of the gas hot water heater to an electric one. We mostly assessed the job and made out a list of purchases necessary to finish it up. While there, we also were asked to fix another hot water heater for another lady. (She always wears a protective mask according to Dan - who she called Dale the whole time!) Dan will probably be returning to the trailer park tomorrow, but with a more knowledgeable partner than myself!
|I found a prickly pear out back to help out the picture!|
I will wrap up tonight with a little picture tour of the CHRPA/Shalom Mennonite compound:
|View north from trailer. The church building is shown fronting 30th St.|
|From front of trailer, view east to VS house and Walter & Lorene's|
RV parked next to it.
|CHRPA office headquarters, west of our trailer|
|Half of the CHRPA truck fleet, parked behind the shop|
|Each truck/van has it's own name and often a picture! |
Lenny is the truck that Dan always drives.
|The CHRPA man greets everyone from under a mesquite tree. In the background|
you can see the doors of the shop.
CHRPA Day 3
Weather - Beautiful again, in the mid 70s. Rick went today with Dan (my partner from the past two days) to work on the hot water heater in the 5th Wheel trailer. They had to remove the gas heater, rewire the main circuit breaker to a 50Amp from the 30A, and then actually install the 12 gallon water heater that we bought yesterday. The job took all day for Rick and Dan, with two MORE stops at Home Depot in the course of it!
|Home of our window installation|
|Termite damage to the wood |
|Every client has to have income verification. |
We used this to submit for our window client.
|Jon applies caulk to sill.|
|American Dream Place home of second client.|
|Jon prepares to snake out the shower drain.|
Eventually Rick got home, and after he showered we took off for another little Mexican restaurant: El Sur on 22nd St between Craycroft and Sahuara. I had shrimp fajitas and Rick a carne asada quesadilla. Both were excellent, service quick, and prices very reasonable!! I ordered a home-made sangria and it was served in a beer stein! Quick stop at a Neighborhood Wal-mart to pick up necessaries like paper towels and sandwich bags!
So ends another CHRPA day!!!
Oh! We met the current YAV working at CHRPA today. He had been gone visiting Columbia Seminary in Atlanta! Name is Carl. We also found out today that Jacob and Meredith are back living in the YAV house. We are going to try to make contact with them at some point before we leave. Carl had alot of questions for Rick about what Luke is doing and his seminary visits and impressions.
THURSDAY, March 7:
CHRPA Day 4
Click HERE to view today's pictures
|Dan teaching our CHRPA school|
Thursdays at CHRPA are Donuts and Ice Cream Days, as well as CHRPA School! During ‘school’ various employees lead lessons in building or repair, such as installing toilets, plumbing, etc. Today, Dan was continuing a series on Electricity, in preparation for the Swamp Cooler season which will begin in a few weeks. I found it interesting and helpful! He had a board all set up with various circuits. We were practicing using the tester for continuity in the circuit.
And then…time to get to work! Rick and I were both assigned today to work with Mike and Dustin on a roofing job west of town in the city of Marana. Mike and Rick took one truck, while Dustin and I took another with a stop at Home Depot for supplies, and another stop at an Army Navy surplus type place for Dustin to pick up a new hat. We then drove through Saguaro National Park West to our mobile home out in the desert. Foam had been placed over a metal roof and then sealed. Water which had leaked in had soaked the foam and then rusted out the metal below. What a mess. We removed the foam and top coat layer on about a third of the roof. We then laid down two sheets of new reflective metal, cut out the vent holes, etc. and tar adhesive and meshed all the seams and joints. Rick put in plenty of screws, did some major back work, and helped me at the end finish up the tar application. I got to use the reciprocal saw to cut away two metal vents flush with the roof line, drilled in various other patches to cover some holes, and spent all of the afternoon applying the black adhesive and sealant with the yellow mesh. But the end of the afternoon, I had tar all over my jeans (they are now DEFINITELY work pants), a little on my new Habitat shirt, and considerable on my arms. Messy business!
|I cut off this old metal vent while Rick pulls off foam.|
|Rick scraps off old water-soaked foam.|
|I cut off this vent while Rick pulls off old roofing.|
|We did enjoy a SHORT lunch under an ironwood tree.|
|My first tar adhesive and mesh seam!|
We were feeling somewhat pressured as the weather forecast is for rain. As it was, the measurements taken were not accurate, and we were four feet short of the necessary sheet of metal roofing on one side. We completed what we could, sealed a few holes in the under layer of metal on the exposed four foot strip, and will pray for the best! We worked until 5:45 to get the house in such a condition that the client could get through the weekend. The roof still needs to have the white rubbery ‘gunk’ put on top of the metal and over all the tar.
The weather could have been a lot worse for working on the roof all day. It was warm, but a breeze blew all day long which kept us from getting too hot. I will admit to drinking MUCH more water today!
|Sunset - wish I could have included some of the|
thousands of saguaro we saw today!
Enjoyed the sunset behind the Tucson Mts. tonight as we drove back in, arriving at CHRPA resort at 6:45pm. Dustin and Mike both still had 10 mile bike rides in the dark to get home!
Today was Hugh Ward’s 81st birthday. Hugh is a volunteer who first learned of CHRPA when Brandon made a presentation at Southside Presbyterian when Luke was a YAV. He remembers working with Luke often and spoke highly of him. He says he credits Luke with helping him know that CHRPA existed!
Dinner tonight was a Vanilla Icee on the way home, and an ice cream back at the office. I weigh tomorrow. This should be good!I went to the SOOP Bible Study tonight (late – had to shower first!) in the CHRPA lounge. It was interesting to listen, pray and sing with the other SOOPS. Then we worked on the puzzle Walter is trying to finish!
MONDAY, March 11
CHRPA Day 5
A BEAUTIFUL day!! Rick is assigned to return out to Marana with Jon and finish the roof work. They installed the additional piece of metal roofing, anchored everything down, applied tar and mesh to all the new seams, and checked again for good seals. The client was concerned about all the trash, but a dumpster may come out later to help her out. A crew will be returning to install a swamp cooler and apply the white coating. After lunch Rick and Jon went to another house in Marana which they installed bath grab bars, repaired porch supports, fixed some sheetrock seam problems, and also repaired gaps around a shower installation. They were busy there!
I worked today with Alison Woods, one of the YAVs who lived with Luke during his year in Tucson. At that time, Ali worked for Borderlinks. Now she is employed by CHRPA and lives in the Mennonite SOOP house. We had three stops scheduled, but didn't get to the last one (same thing for Rick and Jon actually.)
|Ali works to insert a new toilet flange,.|
But....the toilet flange was rusted through and there was no place to secure the base bolts. We had to eventually cut the tile flooring further out in the front in order to slide a metal flange repair plate UNDER the old rusty one. It took a great deal of pounding, pushing, and wiggling, but eventually we got it in place and secured the toilet bowl. The rest went smoothly!
|Ali finishes up the first grab bar|
|Ginger applies pressure to shower|
head to set the adhesive.
Back to CHRPA HQ where I realized I had forgotten to grab the trailer keys this morning. Locked out. I was proud of myself! A little creative thinking (and fortunately 40 lbs lighter) and I emptied the door side outside bin, crawled in on my stomach, and pushed up on the wood board and the seat cushions. Managed to lift it enough to get my hand out and flip the pads out of the way. I would have felt a fool if I had gotten stuck and had to wait for Rick to come home to get me out! But....it worked! I showered and had dinner all ready when Rick pulled in!
Highlight of the day? Ali drove past a house just down the road from one of our clients. She knew I would appreciate the "Recycled Yard Art". It was amazing. Painted hub caps, bowling pins painted and set into a 'screen', mosaic toilet bowl, and colored glass bottle trees!
|Painted hub caps|
|Colorful glass bottle tree|
|Bowling pins painted and mosaic toilet|
|Clear glass bottles glued to a bowling ball!|
TUESDAY, March 12
CHRPA Day 6
Rick worked with Alison today! They had to rip out a bathroom floor and then install a new subfloor of 3/4" plywood. Now it is ready for the linoleum which I think will be done tomorrow.
Carl is the YAV who is working CHRPA this year so it was fun to spend the day with a "cradle Presbyterian" and discuss church stuff! He is from Wyoming near Torrington, so I need to ask Trish Nichols about that.
|The part of the roof we were fixing is the flat portion to the right of the gable.|
|Carl discusses our fix with Scott. You can see the subtreatment and the tar adhesive tape used on the seams. There were big gaps around the ducts.|
|First we had to scrape off all the old duct sealant, especially on the joints.|
|The duct sealant dries much quicker than the roofing tar. We still used the yellow mesh however.|
|Nearly done....we put mesh and roofing tar around the bottom, trying to seal off all the gaps in the white tape you see in the picture. |
After lunch sitting on the sidewalk against the fence in the shade of a tree, we realized we didn't have the right white roof coat to apply on top of the black tar. The white coat is used primarily to make the black less absorptive of the heat so it won't crack. We figured we would have to come back at a later date.
Our second job was to install a water line between two points in the yard of a mobile home. The trench was to have already been dug. When we got there, the lady had been impatient and had a neighbor install the line for her. The work was all done, except she didn't have any water pressure! We opened up a few spots in the line and tried to snake out some, but without a compressor to push air or water through the line under pressure, we couldn't clear anything out. We visited, amused her two dogs, and eventually left.
Still early, so we went back to Home Depot, returned the water pipe we had purchased and picked up the white coat. Back to the first house to brush it on, and by then....time to head back to CHRPA HQ!
It was warm today! The trailer was up in the 90's range when we got home, but it is cooling off now. Tomorrow a couple of crews are going to Ajo, a drive of about 2 1/2 hours (160 miles west). It is in Pima County and helps satisfy some of the grant requests! Rick and I opted NOT to volunteer for that additional drive.
After dinner we head out to the bed of the truck for a little nightime comet viewing....or attempted viewing. Rick finally spotted the comet PanSTARR with the binocs. It was really hard to see. But the crescent smile of the moon was pretty cool to watch drop down into the sea of orange.
WEDNESDAY, March 13
CHRPA Day 7
Click HERE for more pictures
We heard the Ajo crew leave this morning early. With MVSer Jon still feeling sick, it will be a smaller group in the lounge this morning as we await our assignments!
Rick and Mike are assigned to finish the floor he and Ali started on Tuesday and also to repair the swamp cooler at the same house. They make a good team - Mike goes up to work on the cooler while Rick tackles the application of linoleum in the 'one man only' size bathroom. Rick says they basically worked through normal lunch break, finished and took a late lunch at the same Reid Park where we went with Luke two years ago. They had one more stop to make to fix a water leak.
I was teamed with SOOP Titus today to head out to Three Points on the Ajo Highway for two jobs. But first....we did some clean up work on the truck SPARKY. Sparky was a MESS - trash everywhere, bags of trash from jobs thrown in the back, rocks and dirt, etc. etc. It just appeared that Sparky wasn't really claimed by any of the workers to be responsible to maintain it. Plus organization is what Titus seems to like to do.
Our first stop was to unclog a sink for an older Spanish couple out the Ajo Highway. Good thing their son Ricardo was there to interpret because the parents didn't speak any English! Unfortunately, the clog was beyond the reach of the snake we had with us and there was little we could do besides tighten all the connections under the sink. If the outside plug was open at the washing machine, the sink would drain.
(Blogger is doing something weird right now and I can't put any captions on pictures. Above: Titus talks with Scott about the sink clog.
Right: Alex at second stop; award letter; pond stop for lunch; and a clean Sparky truck!)
Our second stop was clear out the Ajo Highway to the community of Three Points and a home of 6 where we were to install new plexiglass windows in two openings. An autistic son had broken them out. We were greeted at the door by a smiling three year old who wanted to watch everything and was a big helper. A 7 month baby boy, plus a grandmother with limited mobility, mom and dad, and a 6 year at school completed the household. This was another lesson in non-judgment for me. The house was a mess, and dirty as well. They had a vaccum because dad brought it out to clean up the broken glass from the window well. But it didn't appear to have been used in months. However, there was a 55" big screen TV in the living room, toys everywhere. The windows needed to get installed before Child Protective Services paid a visit later in the day. The mom was super friendly and pleasant. Grandma and I visited a little while I worked on the window in her bedroom. Dad is a truck driver, but off work currently due to medical issues. I spent alot of time playing with the baby and talking to Alex, the 3 year old. Part of many visits is the task of requesting Income Verification. For those on Social Security it means taking a picture of their 'award letter' for the current year. The mom finally located it and I took that picture.
Titus and I also measured the front steps of the home in case the family requests a ramp to be built for the Grandmother to have better access. The house is so far 'out' that this will save a return trip just to get measurements.
It was lunch time! We parked in the shade of a mesquite tree near access to a secluded little pond we found midst the mesquite 'jungle'. We ate in the truck and then walked into the pond area. Spooked a couple of ducks.
We took the time and the shade to further clean up the truck a little. Titus repaired the broken gas pedal while I picked up some of the trash in the area. Another stop for Titus to investigate a bird nest we saw driving in. A final stop at Food City, a cheap grocery store on the west side (in the largely Hispanic area) where Wednesdays are produce cheap days! I was glad to have $6 in my pocket. And it was a good lesson for me in fiscal responsibility in food purchasing. I couldn't get all I wanted. I had to make choices, like most of the other shoppers in the store!
Finally back to CHRPA HQ to vacuum Sparky and complete the overhaul of the truck!
I entered the trailer as soon as we returned. The temperature was 102 degrees inside. I immediately turned on the AC, shut the end curtains, and left to vacuum the truck. Within a half hour, the temp had dropped 20 degrees to a much more tolerable level! LOVE the AC on our trailer!
Rick and I decided to try out another Mexican cafe tonight - Taco Giro. Giro seems to mean turn or a bank transfer. I can't figure what it means in relationship to a taco! But....it was very good! I ordered the 6.99 dinner special of chicken fajitas and received TWO plates of food - the sizzling hot grill of fajita blend, plus a tortilla tray, plus a plate with rice and beans and guacamole! I took home the whole second plate, Rick ate the tortillas, and I finished off all the fajita stuff. Rick had a crab enchilada. We finished the evening with a walk around the Park Place mall. Not to buy anything, just to walk!
Tomorrow will be my last day to work for CHRPA. Rick is going to work again on Monday, while I told Lorene I would spend the day with her at the Adaptation Station. Will be good to see what some of the other SOOP work possibilities are.
THURSDAY, March 14
CHRPA Day 8
Rick and Dustin went out to Three Corners today and beyond to the 'home' of a man living in a converted bus out in the desert. Dustin had been out to this trailer previously and suggested the man could use an AC unit - the bus was sweltering at that point. They completed the job and were back around 3:15 - time enough for Rick to take my bike in for a tune-up to a bike shop that Dustin recommended!
I worked today with Roger Duvall. Roger, his wife Sharon, and sister-in-law Kathleen, arrived the same weekend we did. They will be leaving tomorrow. Roger worked with CHRPA, while Sharon and Kathleen worked at Adaptation Station. He is a Mennonite, originally from northern Mexico! We had wondered where he was from as his English has a slight accent to it. Nice guy.
We had two jobs today. The first was to check out a water leak in the sink that Rick and Mike had to install back in the bathroom after Rick put in the floor. Somehow the drain didn't get lodged right back in the sink (It is a pedestal sink). We applied a little more plumber putty, but I don't feel real good about it. We advised the lady that the drain might have to be replaced with more 'modern equipment' if the fix didn't work.
Our second job was out on the west side of town in a very nice subdivision right at the base of the Tucson Mts. We had two jobs at the home: install two low-flow toilets with a new valve on one which was not shutting off, and removed a broken window, take it to the glass company for repairs, and then reinstall the fixed window. We arrived at the home and met Norma, a beautiful Hispanic woman. The home was well tended, and Norma was babysitting her three young grandsons. (They were currently Batman and Robin for the day!) This was Norma's first contact with CHRPA and she kept saying how grateful she was, yet humbled to have to ask for help. She was extremely helpful!
Roger and I got the window into the truck and told Norma we would be back in a little over an hour, having delivered the window to be fixed and then taking 45 minutes for lunch in one of the nearby parks. We got back to the house at 1pm and began work on the toilets! As usual, the job wasn't easy. Norma had tiled the entire house flooring - beautifully - but it also meant grout that overlapped the bottom of the toilet. We had to chip it out and then had a few problems getting the toilet to sit high enough to have the wax seal work. Long story short....we figured it out and got the toilet in!! Norma said she would go back with a little tile and grout the places where the new toilet exposes holes in the floor. When I went in to start on the second toilet, Roger went back down to pick up our window, which was done. At least on the second toilet I didn't break any tile (just the toilet itself, but we were throwing it away!) We put the new supply line and valve on the second toilet, hoping it would fix the constant running of water.
We were completely finished by 4:30 - a little late, but done! In the meantime, Norma's son Vicente had come home and helped load the toilets in the truck, boxes, etc. Norma was so taken with the concept of CHRPA...she wanted to know if she could make a donation later when she has more funds. She wanted to know Bryce Miller's name of the church to write him. Overall....it was a GREAT WAY to end my first CHRPA experience!!
Back at the office, I downloaded my pictures of the income verification, and Scott told me I got to sign the wall! I chose to sign right under Luke's signature by one of the little windows!
Tonight, Rick and I attended a concert by the Hesston College Chorale. Hesston is a two-year Mennonite school in Kansas. A good concert, and the smells from some BBQ floating around afterward were marvelous! Laundry done and we are ready to play for the next two days!!
Roger took a picture of me in the mirror of the bathroom as I finished screwing in the tank of the toilet.
Norma and I together just after she signed all the paperwork.
Each client must write a brief description of how the work makes their life better. Norma was writing concerning the new window on this one, not the toilets! But she did include a little bit more than just window comments!
MONDAY, March 18
Our LAST Day of Work in Tucson!
Click HERE to view today's pictures Today was our final day working in Tucson. Rick is assigned, along with Doug and Jon, to begin the construction of a wheel-chair ramp clear out in Marana area. (Rick has driven out to Marana 4 times during the past two weeks, in addition to the long drive out to Three Points for the AC in the bus!) They have to stop and pick up the materials enroute (lots of lumber!) and barely got the job started before lunch time and the shifting of the sun to the side of the house they were working on! He said the afternoon was HOT!!!
I opted to skip CHRPA work today and explore the mission of the Adaptation Station, a group that manufactures modified steps, ramps, lights, keyboards, etc. for disabled children and adults. Many of the requests come from therapists working in the schools, as well as private referrals. It was fascinating to see the ways that common items are modified, or new tools built to accomodate various tasks necessary for handicapped individuals. Weighted vests and blankets helps the autistic. Lorene and Joy were sewing on those. I spent a few minutes breaking up the bins of coarse sand used to fill the blankets. They purchase sterile sandbox sand, but it has to be dried before use.
Bruce works in the woodshop and Marj applies the final two coats of a gloss varathane on everything. Items are left natural wood for the most part. I was given the job of sanding and finishing a large chair unit (Marj said a bean bag seat of some sort will be put in it). Rough sand, paint, fine sand, paint again. I finished the final coat after lunch. I had enough time left to rough sand and apply the first coat to a smaller step stool construction.
Ronda is the director and a lovely lady about my age. She has been manager of the Adaptation Station for over 25 years! She is the only paid employee, all others are volunteers (including frequent 'community service' volunteers who come with their parole officers!) The Mennonite SOOPS have been involved with the station for a number of years. I asked Ronda for the measurements for the weighted blankets, figuring I can piece together a few quilt tops from my scraps that can be used to make them. The work was a little less physical or taxing than CHRPA, and I couldn't complain about the shorter day (6 hours) or the air conditioned facility!! :)
Rick returns from Marana and we get the bikes and truck loaded up in preparation for an early departure in the morning! Walter comes over after dinner to visit for awhile.
Still having problems with downloading pictures to this particular blog, so I will show them all at the end. ....I hope.
Adaptation Station is located in a complex of state agencies - a round building!
This is a series of miniatures of some of the wood accomodations that are made. It helps the client see what the possibilities are.
I am sanding the large chair that I worked on today.
When Ronda heard I was a former art teacher, she asked me to repaint the N on this puzzle - and to make it match the other letters are much as possible!
We ate lunch out on the patio. Ronda provides a tablecloth even! This is Marj and Bruce.
I only got this project part way finished before Lorene and I left for the day.
Rick and Walter chat in the trailer Monday evening.
I can't put the following picture into its rightful place, but here is the BUS that Rick visited last Thursday out near Three Points: