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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fire in the hole!

The moon was still out when we left the house this morning. "We," as in myself, Siebe and Molly, and "we" must have been crazy. "We" signed up for a Habitat for Humanity home build and "we" didn't know what "we" were getting ourselves into.

The three of us watched the sun come up as we drove north of Nashville to Timberwood, Habitat's current neighborhood development. We arrived, signed in, ate breakfast and waited for instruction. Likely, we would be painting, or caulking, or some other monotonous, yet satisfying task. Boy, were we wrong.

Among the ten houses in the development, there must have been at least 400 people on-site. Read: too many people. The three of us were left standing without an assignment, when a girl walks up and says, "I need seven people at a house up here on the hill." My hand shoots in the air as Siebe and Molly look at me trepidly. "That's us, let's go." I was ready for some action.

The seven of us crest the hill, and realize that we're not being led to a house...we're being led to a concrete pad. I look at Siebe, and she asks, "Mary Anna, what have you gotten us into?" Clearly, we are going to build a house today.

We're led to the concrete and the volunteer contractor (which I shall now refer to as "Bojangles" because he was such a tool) surveys his motley crew. I think he was expecting seven men, not women. He began to jabber about the "plan" and mentioned something about a .22 caliber ramshackle gun and lifting wood and such and I pretty much tuned all of it out--until he pointed at me and said, "how about you Mary Anne?" Uhhhh....

Siebe told me later that when he'd mentioned the word "gun," she automatically said "no way." But about ten minutes later, she and I were suiting up with tool belts, safety glasses, and big plastic ear mufflers. Some guy handed me a small box, and I opened it up and saw half-inch long bullet cartridges. Minutes later, I was given a handful of six-inch nails. And then, the gun. It was heavy.

We stood around waiting, dressed to the nines in our garb. It's too bad we forgot a camera, because we looked ridiculous. Bojangles and his partner with funky teeth walks up to us and shows us how to load our weapon. First, the nail, and then the cartridge. Pop it into place, and you'll hear it click as it's loaded. Then, we were instructed to yell "fire in the hole!" before shooting the gun, so that those around us weren't rendered deaf by the gun's charge.

It was about a half-an-hour later before they needed our services. I told Siebe I was so nervous that I had to poop. But alas, there was no time for that (and not that I would ever use a Porta-Potty anyway). "Ramsetter!" yelled Bojangles. I was up.

I bent over to the base of the wood frame that was held in place by six men. All of them watching me. Talk about performance anxiety. I put the barrel of the gun to the wood and wrapped my other hand over the top of the gun. Weakly I yelled, "fire in the hole!" I cautiously pulled the trigger.

The gun discharged loudly and the nail shot off the frame and hit Bojangles between the eyes. Ok, not really, but that would've made the story better, right? Truth be told, after that first shot, I started having fun. Well, sort of. I guess it's relative, as I can think of a thousand things I'd rather be doing.

Most of the day, Siebe, Molly and I stood around and waited. Waited, because Bojangles clearly had no idea what he was doing. Walls were installed backward. Measurements were off. Pieces of frame were broken. Occasionally, I'd hear "Ramsetter!" and one of us would step up to the plate. I got pretty good at it, and even mastered popping my shell out of the gun into the air like they do on tv. I know someone out there who will really be proud of me for wielding my gun like a pro.

While the three of us waited, we feasted on the scenery around us. Earlier in the day we'd spotted a rather attractive (a.k.a., so hot I had to wipe the drool off my chin) man that was on staff for Habitat. I don't think I can describe the level of hotness. And as the day wore on, and as he got sweatier and sweatier, I got hotter and hotter. It was nice to be around some testosterone today, even if I only got to admire its glow.

The majority of the frame was in place when we broke for lunch and Siebe and I noticed how shaky our hands were behaving. It was a struggle to get the fork to make it to my mouth. We were exhausted already. So, we left. It was time to call it quits for these girls.

I framed a house today and I'm pretty damn proud of it. But, I've retired my tool belt and don't intend to ever put one on again, thank you.


Blogger yours truly said...

i laughed so hard reading this that i woke emily up with my snorting... yep that's right folks... you are one funny gal

12:23 AM


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