This month started with us at the November SOWERS (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) project at Way of the Cross (WOTC) in Harlingen, Texas.
We were the only SOWERS on site for most of the official duration of the project - October 29 through November 15. The official hours and work time for SOWERS is Monday through Thursday six hours a day for men and three hours a day for women. Being the only ones here we ignored the normal schedule and both of us worked the more demanding hours of the WOTC staff. We also worked most days except Sunday until November 19 when the clean-up after the Celebrate Jesus Festival was substantially complete.
There is more on Celebrate Jesus and other activities below.
A new feature on the web site starting this month is Tales of Buddy. Check it out.
Celebrate Jesus Festival
164 booths and three stages under cover in an area greater than two football fields.
Tons of groceries stored under cover in a building called the "Action Spot" and given away for free, thirty pounds per family.
Free prizes, free books, free clothes, free food, free beverages at the booths.
It took some organizing and work to prepare.
Thousands of people showed up.
It took some work to run it for most of the Saturday.
Throughout the day, every hour, the shofars would blow, the bands and the games would stop and the gospel would be presented from each of the booths using evangecubes.
At the end of the day free draws were held for dozens of bicycles and for a white limousine.
Juanita and I had a small part in the efforts. She stuffed gift bags and sorted things for over a month. I helped a bit with cleaning up the limo as a door prize and doing other prep work. Others did more, but everybody pitched in before and during to make the day a success.
On the day of the event Juanita helped man a booth with blood pressure tests, blood sugar tests and referral to additional resources. I handed out tracts at first and then emptied garbage drums once they filled up. They filled quickly and usually had a couple of gallons of juice from leftover ice and pop.
I had dressed for handing out tracts so was very fastidious in how I handled the giant plastic bags and managed to do it only contaminating my hands and arms and not my clothes. It would have been amusing for anybody to watch my contortions to avoid soiling my clothes (except my shoes which weren't allowed back in the rig at the end of the day), but I don't think anybody noticed. That's the nature of crowds and self absorbtion. As a sign in a Gaping Void cartoon said "Welcome to Nobody Cares. Population 7 billion".
Monday we cleaned up the CJF grounds and helped load stuff going back to the warehouse.
South Padre Island
We arranged for completion of our kayak lessons but somehow never managed to connect with UB Captain. The renos are complete but the store remains locked and voice mails unreturned. Promises made when the phone accidently gets answered fall short of fulfillment. Never pay all the money for part of the course is probably good advice. Pretty amateur behavior from me. One would expect more from a cynical old MBA like me.
Speaking of which, as an MBA, and somebody who grew up in a bookkeeping office I still haven't figured out the business model that has kept this shop around longer than its competition. I will be amazed if it is still there in two years. Not that I wish the guy ill - he is very personable. I just don't understand how it can be run that way and make money and stay in business. Maybe this is the off season and I am not seeing the profitable, busy times and my perspective is distorted by experiencing ourselves and others parking in the parking lot, trying the locked door only to go back to the car and drive away looking unhappy.
Oh well, we had a nice day on the beach at SP Island while playing telephone tag and ran some errands on the way to and from the island.
Maybe someday we'll connect and complete the lessons and get some alone time on the water with the rest of the kayak time we paid for. If not I still have to figure out how to get my $30 SEV tee-shirt back that I left in their changing room at the first lesson.
We joined the Way of the Cross staff for Thanksgiving Dinner. Juanita took part more than I did. Some sort of bug had kept me up most of the night so I wandered over, took small portions and, skipping dessert, headed back to a comfy chair and a good book where I dozed the afternoon away. Still, much to be grateful for.
Bounder Motorhome - part of SOWER December Project
It looks worse in real life than in the pictures. It needs help. A lot of help.
First step will be to remove everything from the roof and all the old roofing. Second step will be to install new roofing and re-install the stuff taken off - vents, skylight, antenna and air conditioners with the old ones if they survived the removal.
Should keep the SOWERS busy for a few days next month. Fortunately we are not the only SOWER couple here in December.
On the last Wednesday of the month we got up and drove the two hours and a bit to Corpus Christi to get the valve body changed in the transmission. We arrived shortly after they opened at 7 a.m. and walked down the road to breakfast and a day of walking, cab and bus rides and generally killing time (ugly phrase!). We went to the movie, Life of Pi in 3D. Enjoyably strange.
At quitting time they handed our truck back and we drove back in the darkness to Harlingen. About half way back we stopped for fuel. Coming back to the truck from the service station store I noticed a large puddle of fluid under the truck. It appears that somebody else had spilled much of a quart of oil, but the panic inspection I gave the underside of the truck did discover a few leaks and some other work that had not been done correctly. Back to Corpus. Stop at motel. Open truck door. Horn starts blaring. Another problem. With transmission linkage. The truck doesn't consistently know when it's in Park. Add to list for transmission shop in the early morning.
When we checked into the Days Inn we were told there should be no problem with a late checkout of an hour or two. Different story with the Days Inn day guy. At eleven we check out, walk to transmission shop and wait for a while and get out of there and back on the road. transmission works better than it did on Tuesday, but not as well as last night. Park problem not resolved. More work and research to do. It's only time and money.
Friday, Nov 30th was a non-SOWER-work day so I fiddled with the linkages and we still got the erratic "P" indicator. December 1st I read the installation manual ((if all else fails...)) and solved that problem in a ten minutes under truck / under dash adjustment. The following week after talking to the transmission specialist at B-D Engineering and reviewing pressures, etc. discovered the kickdown lever was hanging up on the shift lever at the transmission. Bending kickdown lever soved that problem. Transmission works better than it ever did.