Mandatory “It’s Spooky Season” Post

I will be the first in my house to take out all of the Halloween and Fall decorations because I simply love this season! The cooler weather, the different colored leaves, and the perfect excuse to wear a long black hooded cape for no particular reason all make me so happy!

This October, I am most looking forward to bonfires in my backyard, as well as baking all the Halloween-themed cookies I can! I’ve signed myself and my fianc√© up for a local ghost tour next weekend. It’s a fact that people rarely explore the area they live in, so I thought I would start getting to know mine.

I’ve also joined a local book club that happens to be spooky-themed. I figured it would be good for me to get out of the house sometimes, and books and fellow book-lovers seemed like a valid reason. The book this month is Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. We shall see how I enjoy it.

I’ve decided to take a break from fostering this month because I am dog-sitting for both friends and family, so I won’t have much extra time to dedicate to taking care of other dogs. I will spend a portion of my free time in October cleaning up my yard and organizing the inside of our house because it’s getting a little chaotic. I will also try to spend a little more time doing outdoor activities since the weather will be more agreeable.

Next post, maybe there will be photos of some fun cookies to share!

Rain, Rain, Rain

It has been raining for one week straight. Bleh.

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This past week was our first week on the job. The team took turns rotating the different jobs (greeter, screener, preparer, and quality reviewer). I screened individuals when they walked in for the first hour or so on day one, and then actually prepared taxes the rest of the time.

We worked at 2 malls, 3 libraries, and then one CM and I worked for 4 hours at the local Deaf Connect ¬†location. Taxes are not as difficult as they are made out to be. It all looks and sounds very intimidating, but once you get used to all the forms and the system you’re using, it’s quite simple.

One frustrating thing that we are running into, however, is that each site screens differently and keeps different things at the end of the preparation process. For example, most all places keep the intake sheet, but there is one place that requires us to give it back to the taxpayer. Two locations require us to keep the W-2 forms (people normally come with 2-4 copies of them anyway) and the other 2 locations said to give them back. So, you see, it’s confusing as we mentally shift to whatever the certain site we happen to be at wants.

United Way as an organization and as our sponsor has been fantastic. They constantly ask for our feedback and how things are going; this hasn’t always been the case in previous projects. Additionally, all but one site treated us like adults, so that was nice. Oftentimes, NCCC teams are seen as high school students [when the reality is that many have already graduated college]. This hinders the amount of work we are allowed to do sometimes and generally makes the work less fun for us.

Anyway, today is groceries and laundry day for me. I say “for me” because I prefer to do it solo. I take this time as “me time” and it’s nice to just get out and only have to worry about me. My team leaves their laundry outside of their rooms and I throw it in the van. While the laundry dries for an hour, I go to Walmart. When I return from my journey, they grab their laundry and help with the groceries. We generally throw the laundry on the big ping pong table and have a sorting/folding party.

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Changes…

Our last day in New Bern, NC is now this upcoming Tuesday. This week has been insane. We ran into a situation a few days ago at a worksite, and then we were bombarded with A-DRT and FEMA representatives. Then, yesterday, we came to a standstill at one of our more consistent projects here, and me and my higher ups came to the conclusion that it would be best for Delta 4 to relocate.

So. The decision was made. On Tuesday, Delta 4 will be moving to Willard, NC (only 1.5 hours from New Bern) and we will stay there until the 26th. My former roommate’s and my sister’s teams are actually there, so that was a nice surprise. We will be staying at the Willard Outreach Community Center with the two other NCCC teams, some Utah Conservation Corps people, and another group that I cannot quite remember the name of. It’s about 50 people.

They have rooms inside of the center and a giant field outside. The rooms inside are taken up by cots and the field is dominated by tents. My sister is in a tent, so I will probably join her wherever she is. I have my own tent- that I actually just sprayed down with some Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield– so I will create the beginning of what will be the Delta 4 Tent City. We have 4 more 4-person tents on the way from campus because we didn’t foresee us needing them when we originally left campus. I wanted adventure and I am getting it.

Currently, there are 23 high schoolers living with us at the church. They are here on a club trip to build sheds for the church. So far, they’ve been relatively quiet, but I’m not shy about telling people to pipe down, so we’ll deal with that when it happens.

My team is at an ISP at the Veteran’s Organic Community Garden again, so I have the place (almost) to myself. I got some paperwork done and I suppose I should begin packing. Luckily, I really downsized on this Round, so packing should be super easy. For Round 3, I can see myself downsizing even more. If there is one thing I hope to get out of this AmeriCorps journey, it is minimizing the amount of “stuff” I think I need whenever I go somewhere. Wish me luck.

 

 

 

Happy Halloween & Happy November 1st!

I cannot believe that it is already November. These past few months have gone by so incredibly fast.

Yesterday was Halloween and Delta 4 celebrated by putting on Tyvek suits and getting $4 bowls at Chipotle!

The past week has consisted of removing insulation from underneath houses because apparently every other volunteer group only wanted to tackle the inside of homes. Personally, I don’t mind the work. It’s kind of fun sliding around on my stomach under people’s homes ripping out cotton candy stuff. Do know that I am in full Tyvek gear while doing this and have not been majorly affected by any fiberglass.

Yesterday also marked 1 week of being in New Bern, NC. It’s been an interesting experience thus far, and there have been several hiccups, but I suppose that it’s all part of the AmeriCorps NCCC adventure.

Today we are back at the Presbyterian church finishing painting. It looks like we’ll be working here a lot more than I initially thought/planned, but I suppose it’s for a good cause. There’s just a part of me that feels weird about painting walls when I know that there are people– who I have met and spoken to– who are currently sitting in moldy living conditions and need our help. I’m not the only person on the team who has this concern/feeling, but I’m trying to focus on the good that this facility will do for the community.

Because this is a split round, we only have about 3 more weeks here. Next week, I will be doing a mid-project evaluation. I think I like having a split round, though; that means I’ll get to explore more new places than I would’ve not having a split round.

Hurricane Florence

Delta 4 is staying at Two Rivers Church. They are a non denominational Christian church that have opened their facilities to volunteer groups so they have a place to stay while helping the community recover. The boys stay in one section and the girls in another. Currently, my 5 females and I are in one of the children’s rooms. It’s a little tight, but the cots are pretty comfy. The church itself does not have showers, so there is a shower trailer outside of the building. The stalls are actually very spacious and clean, so I can’t complain.

Our sponsor is the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders. They stem from the organization Habitat for Humanity. Pete, is our main POC, and he is handing us over permanently to Wescott, a member of Two Rivers Church and someone who has taken an active role in helping his community. He has previous experience with muck and gut, as well as general handy skills, so Delta 4 looks forward to learning a lot from him.

So, my team seems to be the only team with an actual sponsor; everyone else is working under the AmeriCorps- Disaster Response Teams. I just had a call with a planning chief from ADRT and I will be required to submit certain information about the hours and the work Delta 4 has done every day at 7pm. My team is unique in the way that we are currently only working 5 days per week– everyone else is 6 days or more. I’m sure that we will probably be bumped up too.

New Bern, NC is beautiful. The sunrises and sunsets are to die for; now I know why every Nicholas Sparks movie ever was filmed here. There is a beach a little under 2 hours from us that we are probably going to visit soon. Today, there is a farmer’s market downtown, and we made plans to go there around 10:30am.

This is random, but 3 in 1 shower products are a life saver in this program. That is all.

Our first full day was spent mucking a house about an hour away from our housing. The couple, Roy and Judy, had been using Roy’s childhood home as their summer getaway, but this was the third time that a hurricane had really done damage, so my team was probably the last to be in there.

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Yesterday, our second full day, we were at Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church. By early 2019 they hope to have a permanent “volunteer village” disaster housing for future hurricanes. We sealed in the walls with Kilz and next week we’ll help put up drywall and remove some insolation. After that, there are more houses to be mucked and gutted.

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