crane

A Good Excuse

Jet isn't sixteen, so he isn't old enough, really, to be allowed on the work sites. The liability insurance of the Mission that dictated this rule. We knew that, and knew that really they couldn't cover anything if Jet was actually hurt.

Our original plan was to just take Jet to the site and see what we could see, and it turned out that everyone there really knew what kinds of jobs were safe for Jet, and what really wasn't safe for him. Still, as his mother, I admit to having qualms at times. So Jet was a good excuse for me to not kill myself working and take the time to actually enjoy a few things that we've never tried while down here!

Still, Jet was patient with me, and I got to spend the morning on the site, nailing on the tar paper for the roof.


Most of the ladies were up before 7, I managed to stay in bed until 7, though I hadn't slept all that well. I'd done something to my shoulders and neck during the skydive, and while my chiropractor and massage therapist tried their best before I left, I still ached and got headaches at all the wrong times.

Still, I was up early enough to get some breakfast, make my lunch, and help Jet with making his lunch. He was great about putting together what he thought he would eat, and we headed out to the car in good time. After trying things out yesterday afternoon, we thought that Jet could just do small things around the site while we worked. Jet was good about telling me that he wanted to stay for lunch, but then he wanted to go to the beach. So we planned on doing exactly that. John started taking down flashing and trim to allow more air to circulate under the roof, and I started helping him, while the folks on the roof setup the tar paper.

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I really wanted to just nail some tar paper, using the small nails that all have plastic collars around them to keep the water from going down through the holes they make. I like the job, it's pretty mindless once they've setup the tar paper, and with eight inches between nails for the bottom of each sheet, and twelve inches between each nail in the center of each sheet, there were a lot of nails that needed to be put in for four or five sheets on each side of the roof. I was very content with just nailing, using a hammer and pounding things.

It was fun. *laughs* I loved it, actually, just going along and putting them at exactly the right spacing. I am all right with the heights and the slope of the roof. It's always harder walking down the slope than up it, but it was a really gentle slope and I got used to it pretty quick. There were a bunch of people on the roof with me. Ryan is in the picture with me. His dad bought a hat from one of the local Vietnamese stores, and had tied it under his chin to keep it on in the breeze up on the roof. Don Alspaugh was with me, and his son, Russell helped organize things up there with Ryan. Jimmy, one of the group from Florida, worked hard too and got solidly sunburnt.

John was doing things around the outside of the house, preping it for painting tomorrow, and getting done whatever needed getting done. Clay was inside with John Parsons, and the other Floridians and Marian were all working on taking off the caulking they'd put on the day before, because it wasn't exactly sealing what needed to be sealed. Harry was doing whatever needed doing, and we had a full crew going.

Lunch was in the shade of the house, as it was 80+ in the sunshine, except when the wind was blowing. After lunch, they started hauling shingles onto the roof, and Jet and I went to the beach.

Me
I'll admit that I was pretty ambivalent about going to the beach. For all the previous years, I always just worked until I dropped, went back to the dorm, downloaded photos, and wrote my journal. It was odd to actually "slack off" and not work the whole day until I was so tired I couldn't walk. My ankled weren't even swollen, yet. *laughs*

But I promised Jet that I would take him for some fun, something other than just waiting around the site and wondering what he might be able to do. And it was a good thing, too. We always liked the beach, loved the water and the sand.

Even when it was really different this time around. The water was tea-brown. The waves were all made by boats zooming around just beyond the edge of the shelf. There was no tide, no surf, and the water was tremendously shallow. Another family arrived at about the same time we did, and all six of us headed out into the water and marveled when it never got deeper than waist depth. It was just strange in all kinds of ways. The water was salty and seemed cool when we first got in, but after a while, it really was like the bathwater of the summer Atlantic.

The marvelous thing, however, was that there were flying fish out there. Silver fish leaped out of the water, by a good four to six feet into the air! And we could see the silver bodies flying through the air and splashing into the water at the end of their arc. Jet was heading back to shore when one leaped right in front of him. I only saw the white wake of its reentry into the water. Then, on one trip out into the gentle lapping of the waves, one of the fish jumped right in front of me! It was really amazing to see the fish vertical in the air and wiggling as it smacked back into the water on its side. I was amazed.

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Occasionally, we could see silver bodies flashing through the murky water as well. Both Jet and I spent a lot of time building sand castles and then washing the sand off in the warm water. The sand on the shore was white and gritty with stones in it rather than seashells. The sand just a few yards into the water was softer, siltier, and layered with black sand from the various oil spills near here. The deeper water sand build more solid foundations, the white stuff broke apart easily and was mostly rock.

The difference in texture was fascinating. Another thing that bemused me was that there was no seaweed on the beach, only tiny bits of wood. On the way in from on of Jet's sojourns into the sea, he stumbled across a wooden board, a 2x6, with no nails, but soaked in the water and out in the sand. We were both pretty bemused by that, but he hauled it out of the water and we left it in a garbage can at the top of the sand.

I guess there's more house debris than sea debris.

But the water was soothing, and both of us went far far out into the water, just to get it deep enough to paddle about in. Jet loved splashing through and paddling about. It took a little courage for me to get my shoulders down, as they were pretty toasted, and hitting the cold water made me yelp. Once I was all the way in, though, it really helped cool me off.

The whole beach trip worked out really nicely, and we ended up spending two hours out on the beach and in the cooler water. The gulf water really was soothing for my fairly battered right hand, even after just the hammering of the morning, the coolness felt good. It was fun, and I finally reconciled myself to the fact that I was enjoying myself. I didn't have to trash myself to have a meaningful time out here in Biloxi and it was something of a revelation to me that it would work out all right.

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After out time in the surf, we went back to the dorm, showered, got warned of the stingrays in the Gulf, and were very happy we didn't encounter any. Once clean, we headed back to the work site, as John asked us to bring the camera. So we took pictures as people finished up, and then sat in the Van and played with iTouches until it was time to go.

We headed back to the dorm, I started all our laundry, as we were pretty much out of clothes, and I unloaded pictures and wrote this while lots of people made an utterly marvelous BBQ chicken and pork rib dinner. There were baked beans and macaroni and cheese to go with them, and everyone sat down together, said grace, and ate together. Then I got to fold clean, sweet smelling laundry, and I really enjoyed that. There was Blue Bell ice cream after, and John had fun showing everyone all the pictures up to today, and then put Jet to bed when it was nearly 10.

Assessing the shape I'm in now, I'm really glad I went with Jet to the beach. I worked pretty hard when I worked, but didn't go overboard. So I think I'll be all right for working tomorrow, too, and do half a day and then go off and look for White Lily flour or do a few other things we wanted to do while we were here, and let Jet see more of the coastline. We came overland on the way here, and stopping by Waveland or seeing the banana boats in the port to the east all could be fun.


  • Current Location: Biloxi, MS
  • Current Mood: tired tired
Flying fish! Awesome!

I'm glad that you (and Jet) are spacing yourselves and enjoying the play as well as the work.
That sounds so amazing, the flying fish and building sand castles. I have to say it makes me happy that you didn't work yourself too hard and instead spent a relaxing half day at the beach with Jet.

Love the pictures in this journal and I hope the rest of the trip goes well:)
It was really nice to have the balance, and I'm glad that the the pictures are working for you!!