Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Painting the Awesome Pre-Civil War Pink-and-White-But-Somehow-Not-Barbie House

Day 2 of service. We found ourselves a block and a half from the church with 4 other volunteers from Pass AmeriCorps (from Madison, which resulted in a short, though heated, football dilemma that I completely tuned out of because I play rugby) and Twiggy, our service manager. (yes, that's his preferred name; apparently, everyone in his family is huge and six feet tall while he is little and lean in comparison. He can still carry a hundred-pound ladder by himself and has survived two knife fights, so I'm under the assumption that he is a superhero via Scottish genetics. Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? I'm not crazy!)

Anyway, we were at Ms. Jeanette's house, and I am absolutely going to geek out about the house now because I am a history major and this house was built no later than 1835 but possibly as early as 1800. It was the whole package, with the servants' quarters in the back that could (at that time) only be accessed by these tiny, narrow staircases that should be the scene for a horror movie like a Civil War-era Grudge sequel. It was huge and beautiful, even with the paint crumbling off the walls (not necessarily hurricane damage; Ms. Jeanette almost lost a wall to the tornado that came immediately after). Even with the damage, we could still see that it was pink with white pillars. Pink and white! Normally this is the part where I'd say it looked like an oversized Barbie house and I wanted to vomit, but Barbie never crossed my mind. That's how awesome this house is.

Oh, a note on the homeowner: she is an awesome, awesome woman. She was doing community gardens 20 years before they were a thing, and now she's been doing work in the Lower 9th Ward. There are so many empty lots there, many of which are city-owned, that Ms. Jeanette is trying to convert into either homes or gardens. She's awesome, and her house is awesome, and I wanted her to kidnap me so we could stay in this awesome house and absorb all of its awesomeness.

Alas, there were things to do. Everyone was outside painting walls, balconies, and ceilings. Many of us were on ladders, which was a difficulty for some. I, personally, don't fear heights, except the first few times when I climbed up and down the ladder. Apparently, if the ladder's tall enough, when you're in the middle of it it gets very wobbly, like it's made of rubber. That was...um, not fun. But it's a quick fix, and many of you will think I'm utterly insane for saying it, because, yes, it sounds insane. When the ladder feels like rubber and starts to wobble, the solution is to climb higher!

No, I'm dead serious, you climb higher. I don't know the exact physics, but the readjustment of your weight makes the ladder much more steady. After a couple times up and down, it was a breeze, and we all got in the zone. Twiggy had to yell at me to come down when it got dangerously windy, that's how much I was into it.

If that's how great my work was, how fun do you think my night was?

Well, after tacos for dinner (which are admittedly sitting uncomfortably in all of our stomachs. So. Many. Tacos...), not much. Went to Walgreens. Spent 30 minutes scrubbing paint off my skin. Got into PJ's at 7pm. Been reading a lot of Sherlock fan fiction of which you will not judge me because it is awesome like Ms. Jeanette's house.

So that's it! I am now going to go back to my fan fiction, and then will call it an early night and conk out before everyone gets back from their time exploring the city. Overall, this is a very good day. :)



  1. This was awesome! Especially your frequent use of the word awesome! (No, seriously, great writing and I giggled all the way through it.)

  2. Thanks for the wobbly-ladder advice! It sounds like you had an awesome time.