New Orleans, Louisiana [2007]

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day 2 [] January 5, 2007 [] New Orleans, Louisiana

Breakfast. Devotion tent. Team time.

After that, we first drove to a new house, one different than yesterday's asbestos debacle. It had been mostly gutted by a prior team, so we split into 2 squads, 1 to stay behind and finish it, 1 to return to the asbestos house, which a lot of us were dying to go back and finish. Something about starting a job makes you want to complete it. We were smitten.

At the asbestos house, we discovered that 2 of our downstairs rooms had been cleared out by a prior group also (most likely the Catholic church we saw wearing the white full-body jumpsuits the day before). So our job was to clear out the back bathroom and gut the walls throughout the house's bottom floor. This house was huge! 4 rooms, a kitchen and an office downstairs—5 rooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs—and an attached building that we didn't go into because the Catholic group was clearing it out (NOTE: it had 6-8 more rooms).

After 6 hours of gutting, we were exhausted, the good kind of accomplished, worthwhile worndown where everyone relaxes at the worksite for 30 minutes before leaving.

From there, we caravanned over the bridge to the lower 9th Ward where the houses were hit the worst. Amazingly, there was traffic, cars streaming in both directions past dozens of closed businesses and some newly opened ones.

After getting turned around, not lost, a couple of times, our 4 vans returned to Celebration Church for BBQ boneless ribs, potatoes, beans, and, eventually, ice cream. Speed Scrabble, Speed Uno, Farkel, and Tombo (a dice game invented by our youngest 4th grade team member) entertained us well into the night. And the ice cream. Can't forget that loveliness.

At lights out, the most unbelievable event happened. I was sitting on my cot, journaling today's action, when my friend Mark asked me to come smell his sleeping bag that he'd just jumped into after taking a shower. No, he did not wet his sleeping bag, but he was convinced that someone had pissed in his sleeping bag. Seriously. Someone else's piss was infesting his bag.

But how? Great question.

Best as we can tell, someone from the prior group pissed their mattress before leaving that morning and, instead of fessing up and cleaning the thing, left it off to the side for some poor soul to slide under their sleeping bag, which would then soak up their piss. Ick! Say it with me...Ick! Exactly. Good night.

I'm back. I forgot to tell you about the backup sleeping bag I fetched for Mark. Well, he slept on it for about 10 minutes before figuring out that he was allergic to something in that bag. Poor guy. It's crazy how good a sport he is.

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