Friday, August 20, 2010

Wrapping Bmore up... already

Well, it's been 5 weeks as of tonight. A crazy 5 weeks at that.

The round has definitely been a tiring one. We've spent the first half of most days out on the farm starting at 7am, and then doing other landscaping and house rennovation work for the rest of the afternoons. Working outside has taken it's toll on us, and there is also quite a bit of cluster in the communication we receive from our sponsors, so this is quite the opposite of an energy boost. But we've persevered, and we have done a LOT at TSW over the last 5 weeks, and plan on finishing the last week out strong. We've built two patio's harvested um-teen hundred pounds of produce (probably) done a lot of dirt moving, paint stripping, cleaning, lawn mowing and the list goes on. We're ready for one last, relaxing week of it before heading back to Perry Point and then.... ??

The chickens are also making our lives more interesting these days. Lassie, the oldest of the 11, has started laying eggs. She layed her first one on the back porch.. odd location really... but it is not as odd as the place she has layed the last 4... my 2nd floor bedroom closet. The chickens are not even allowe din the house, yet she finds her way in, and upstairs every day to lay her egg in my closet. It's frick'n awesome! They are much richer than store bought eggs too... it's incredible the difference in organic eggs.

Teamwise... we've lost Bob for the round. ACL surgery and recovery. Another CM went back to the Point for personal reasons for two weeks, but is now back. We were down to 6 at one point, and then I left for a weekend to go home. So they had 5.... we've taken on a Survivor theme to the team... "There can only, B1 (left)" These kids are great.

I left for 4 days to go back to WI for a friend's wedding. It was a great weekend. My sig other got to meet my family and everything went great. Got to meet his, too. That was also great. So different... so fun. It finally feels like a real relationship... can't wait for it to be complete in Cali come January!

Things are going really well... I'm working with Summer of Service kids. They are kids that have some kind of court-mandated volunteer service, so they are at the farm 4 days a week. They are coming from a hell of a background, and I love working with them. I feel like we are breaking through the walls they have up to, and they are realy turning their attitudes around with us. They start the week off disobeying everything we say, and end the week with respect, laughter, and handshakes. It just sucks that we only see them for 4 days, then they are gone and we get a new group... no sustained progress. Makes me excited for the Teach for America possibility. I really believe Iw ill enjoy and find success in that program. Today we went to the high ropes course with the kids... the group I was working with was the most put together and caused the least amount of trouble. We had a pretty great time. The group I worked with on the farm this past week may have had an even less eventful day.. those guys were all SO well behaved... it's incredible the difference. These kids are as young as 15... with charges such as armed robbery... and some have been smoking weed since they were 11. They're great people, just coming from an unstable foundation... they're really brilliant, too... bright kids.. I hope the work I've done with them helps them realize and pull from this.

Well... one more week left.. then one more round left... and then myAmericorps NCCC experience is done. Crazy.

My boss has also resigned. He has taken a police officer job in Appleton. Might be applying for his position as well... I think that would be another great position to make positive change.

Things are good....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rush of the big city...

We're on a farm... but it has not felt like it lately.

Oufirst week was crazy, followed by a 2nd crazy week. What does week 3 hold for us?
That first week I told you about how we were quickly introduced into the topic of human trafficking .Well, later that week a gentleman came and spoke to the team. His daughter was kidnapped and put into sex trafficking in 1988. She didn't survive. He told the team his story and the terrible things that happened to his daughter... disgusting.

I actually did not get to meet him. I was back at Perry Point (our base). One of my CM's injured his knee, so I had to bring him back so he can go to Dr.'s appointments. He actually has ACL surgery this Friday... he has no ACL from what I's worn away. He'll be out for close to 2 months... he was supposed to be the Assistant TL this round, so I'm bummed he won't have that opportunity. Hopefully he can get back to live with us by the end of the round, but it's not likely. At the very worst, I hope he's back to us before the beginning of 4th round. At least Baltimore is only 45 minutes away... he should be able to visit every now and again.

The first Thursday we were in Baltimore TSW held a fundraising dinner. They had about 65 people over and ate on the Veranda of the 1890's home. It was GORGEOUS. My team made up the serving staff... it was great. We were each allowed to enjoy the full $65/plate menu.. and all of the leftovers. Smoked Macaroni and Cheese was the favorite of the night... FOR SURE.

This past weekend there was a wedding on the property. We had to build a patio for the dance floor. We spent that last week working 50+ hours, 10+ hour days (I did one day of 14 hours) to get it all done. We burned out a tree stump (our idea, first time, big success), did a little work on the farm, spread lots of mulch, chased lots of chickens (they kept eating the fresh grass seed), cleaned a lot, painted.. you name it. I drive the tractors... that's awesome. The team is warming up to the idea of driving them as well.. some of them are legitimately afraid to drive... fine by me.. hand over the keys!
It was a lot of work, but it paid off. The wedding (was a wedding) and the dance WAS INCREDIBLE. We certainly broke it in.... another BAdger 1 super success (BAdger is not a mispelling... it stands for BadAss Badger). We've been meeting expectations if I must say so. Our sponsor said they heard we were the best... we like to believe so. Just ask anyone on the team... we need to work a bit on being modest... but hey, when you are the best, why not shout it?

We discovered the nearby river last weekend. Not very deep, but it's FRESH WATER! We were chilling in a calm section and hear some shouting...... an investigation ensued... and we found bridge jumpers! So we spent the next 4 hours jumping off the road bridge into the 7 feet of water below us... crazy?? no, just cool. We visited again this past week after work. We had a hell of a rainstorm, so the water was super muddy, and Chrisitian was afraid of diseases that will make her hair fall out, but she got in. Christian also thinks her life is coming to an end because she turns 20 on Tuesday..lmao. Young buck for sure.

The team is doing awesome. We're having a lot of fun, and fighting like always. But we laugh a lot more when we fight these days. Our sponsor tells us we are the least dramatic team they have had yet.

Oh, and at the wedding they had potato salad, coleslaw, grilled chicken and BBQ pork... we have the fridge full of leftovers from that, too. We don't get to keep the booze.. lame.

I went out for my first drink in Bmore last night. Met up with Mona (my former teammate turned TL). She is now with her team, who is also in Bmore. She's doing well, really well, and is now seeing what it's like to be a TL, and why some of the rules and ways I did things were done as they were/are. CM's are unforgiving and relentless... pains in the ass. I've got a good bunch, but they take work, and pruning, and weeding. They're shaping up nicely though.

I go back to Wisconsin for 4 days on Thursday... WHIT'S WEDDING. Very excited. And I have a date. Plan to see all of my family and some great friends. Plan to drink most days/nights. Lots of plans. I have 1 day left of my weekend, 3 days of work, a 4 day weekend and then 3 weeks left in Baltimore... time is flying. After that we only have 1 round left...

I don't really know what the plan is for our work the next couple of weeks. There isn't a rush for anything anymore.. I don't think.

Right now I'm sitting outside a business center, stealing internet at 8:30 on a Sunday night in Bmore. Just me, no one around me. It's quiet besides the cars. Took a bus here and the same to get home. I can get used to this.
Here are some pics of the work we've been doing.

We live in this house.

Pre patio and stump removal

Steve... being a fire god (as we burn out the stump)

Team Dinner.. .Jamie and Mona came to visit that first weekend.
This is the new walkway from the driveway

the patio in full on wedding day....