Rejuvenate 2013 My time with Habitat

Every year my company sponsors a trip to an area that is in much need and they partner with Habitat for Humanity. This year’s trip was my 7th trip. My first 3 trips were to the devastated area of Mississippi know as Bay-Waveland. That area was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. My next 3 trips I found myself on the outskirts of Charleston on Johns Island. That area is severely depressed by the economic troubles of the residents that the average salary needed for a family of 4 is $93K, but the actually salary is around $22K or less. So even though the area hasn’t had a natural disaster, they do suffer.

This years trip was one of the most unique trips. My company is based outside of the Philadelphia region, so we know first hand how devastating Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy was almost a year ago. We decided to help out our Jersey neighbors and focus 3 trips to the area. My trip is the second one that went there, one more group will follow in 2 weeks.

We stayed in a church for our trip (which was Tuesday-Saturday), and they didn’t have showers on site so we had to walk to the local YMCA to use their facilities. 2 out of the 3 nights we there we had to eat dinner dirty. We had pizza our first night ( I actually ate before I got there since I met up with my friend Connie before hand…she works in Red Bank), the second night we ate dinner with the youth groups, Thursday we went to dinner at the Soul Kitchen (I’ll explain more about that place in a while), and then the final night we went out to Tommy’s Coal Fire Pizza. We had to sleep on cots in 2 of the Sunday school rooms. The cots weren’t the most comfortable but were better after one of our older volunteers suggested putting pillows down on the cots to make more like a mattress. That was such a great idea.

The Job site & Workload:

Last week the area of Union Beach hosted the Jimmy & Roselyn Carter project for 2013. They choose an area every year to spend a week building with Habitat. Our worksite was on of the 13 projects that were started during that week. We worked on site #3 mostly but some went and helped on other sites. There were a total of 13 volunteers on this trip. 8 of us worked on the main site and what a job we had.

The home was flooded during the storm and lost the entire basement, the home owner was just in there 5 minutes before the storm surge hit doing laundry. The project was to restore the basement. When we arrived the Sheetrock was installed on the walls and ceiling, and spackled. We started the week sanding and fixing all the spackle mistakes by sanding down all the rough spots… And there were a lot. The basement had poor ventilation so we had to set up fans to blow all the dust out. We were covered from head to toe in the dust. We wore masks and safety googles. The second day was the same thing… We were very sore after our second bout with spackle but we kept at it. We even started the floating subfloor. On day 3 we continued our work and finished the subfloor. That was a crowning achievement. We actually were making progress. On our final day was on Saturday. We sanded once more for the final time. We finally got to paint!!! We were waiting all week for that moment, we got the first coat finished before we were done. It was a crowning moment in our week. We stood back and looked at our work, we were proud. The Habitat supervisor, Jim, was very impressed with what we accomplished that he asked if we could stay an extra week. That job will be finished in the next few days which will make the home owner very happy.

We had a great time working with Habitat this year.

Soul Kitchen – It’s a program started by the John Bon Jovi Foundation to help out those in the community. It’s a non-profit that feeds those in need. The average meal costs about $10. If you can afford to pay an extra $20 to pay it forward they ask that you do. However if you can’t pay for your meal you can work out ways to volunteer for it either before it after your meal. They serve in a couple if shifts in order to help everyone. They also allow people to volunteer at various local food banks and then they will give you a voucher to feed a family of 5. It’s a very unique program and someday I would love to be able to open a place just like it.

Overall this trip was very successful and enlightening. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Have a great night

~ Rob

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What’s it like to be bullied?

So no one ever comes up to you after high school or in life and asks you “So what was it liked to be bullied?” They will ask you though, “Being gay were you ever bullied? How did that make you feel?”

Being bullied growing up definitely wasn’t fun. I think back on my years and all the things that were said to me and sometimes I didn’t even realize that I was being bullied.

There was this girl named Rochelle, in 3rd grade would come up to me and give me a hug for being clean. I thought she was doing it to be nice but when I reflect back I realize that it was a form of bullying because she saw me as a dirt ball due to my low income family situation. If I ever see her she owes me 8695+ hugs because I have always taken a shower or bath since the third grade.

Then there were the boys in junior high who used to bully me, David, Bill and Brad. They picked on my constantly to a point that I would go home and cry every night. I started to cry even in school and got picked on for that. They somehow figured out that I was gay long before I even know and would make hatred remarks along with the typical negative comments. As I reflect on that I’ve come to realize that one of them had to be in the closet and was just lashing out due to their own insecurities.

The teasing and bullying would continue well into my high school years. I would often say I was dating a girl to get the teasing to stop because it often hurt so bad. I always hid my emotions from my friends and family so they wouldn’t see how bad it bothered me. They probably still don’t know until now.

I left my hometown due to who I was, in a sense I ran away from those who bullied me. If given a chance I would stand up to them today and tell them how wrong they were. My life has turned out great… I didn’t let them break me to a point of no return. I’m success file despite their efforts.

Yeah… I know what it’s like to be bullied and to all of those who are still being bullied today… I give this piece of advice:

It does get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and don’t ever think about giving up.

Have a great day!

~ Rob

What’s on your mind?

So it’s Tuesday night and I want to know what’s on your mind? Are you thinking about the new TV show? The wonderful singers you heard last night?

Today I was thinking about that… I like The Voice, and was happy that my buddy Matt got a chair or actually 3 to turn around. I’m just hoping that this is the break he needs. He’s a good kid and does good work, his talent should be shared with the world.

I have also thinking about the new show Agents of SHEILD. I like it so far.

I need to get back to my story… That’s my other thought… When am I gonna finish this novel, Reality Shift… It needs to come to light. I think it’s a good story but I want to know what others think. It’s been quite a process just writing it and I know there is still a lot to go unless I just rush it. I don’t want to rush this since it’s going to be the thing that launches my writing career. It’s going to be EPIC!

I want to hear from you! Sound off on what your thoughts or dreams are!

Have a great night.

~ Rob

Dream 10/7

Dream 10/7

 

            So the dream started off with me walking down a road as it starting to get dark. A man pulls over to pick me up and asked if I wanted to go fishing. I said sure why not… I do like fishing in the dark. He was a good looking guy, probably in his twenties. He stops at his house and his wife comes out with a baby on her hip and asked who I was. The man said I was his friend from years gone by and said that were going fishing. She complained to the man that she didn’t want him to go because she thought I had more on my mind than just fishing. So we left and went down to a creek to start fishing, then the dream changed.

 

            So next I found myself at an abandoned barn and homestead that was covered in dust and dirt. Some of the windows were broken in the house and there was a note left on the table addressed to me that read “Do you want to find him? Keep looking” Then out of nowhere this teenager came up to me and told me that he knew who my father was and that if I wanted to meet him I had to do what he said. I was anxious about this opportunity so I agreed to his terms. The next thing I know I was engaged in a battle between these two guys, one looked Scottish and the other was Asian. Both of them said that they were my father and that I needed to decided which one was the actual father. The battle ended but I still wasn’t sure, then I got instructions that I had to jump on a plane and go to Denver and that the flight was leaving in 45 minutes, the airport itself was 45 minutes away and if I wanted to know once and for all the truth I needed to board that plane any cost. I rushed to the airport, check my bags and flew through security… I made it to the plane but then I woke up.

 

Have a great day!

~ Rob

3-Day for a Cure

So today I got to experience what it was like to sit along the sidelines of the 3-Day for a Cure event in Philadelphia. My friend Erika participated in the walk back in 2011, so she invited me to be part of the cheering section this year. We were located about 10 miles into the walk, about 2 miles from where they were breaking for lunch. It was amazing to see all these courageous women (and a few men) walk this journey… Most had friends with them, but there were a few that did it alone.

We stood along the route with a sign of encouragement “Give breast cancer the boot”… A lot of them loved the sign and even took pictures of the sign & me. We were part of a bigger group: The Ta-Ta Sisterhood. They had a theme this year which was “Cancer is a Witch”. They dressed in their theme and offered a photo booth opportunity for people to stop and take pictures.

It felt good being out there, encouraging the walkers, cheering them on and showing support for the cause. Cancer sucks no matter what type it is, but it feels great helping yet another group.

I hope everyone else is having an exceptional Saturday.

~ Rob

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Dream: 10/3/13

So I’m sorry I haven’t written some of my thoughts lately, I’ve been a little busy with work, life and Relay… not always in that order. I did however want to take a moment and share my dream last night and if anyone has any insight on what it means other than I think I want to go on a trip, please let me know in the comments.

 

So last night’s dream started off with me at the airport. Not sure which airport I was at, but I was flying via Southwest Airlines. I was at the counter checking my bags and saw some memo pads laying on the counter. The pads were designed with different cartoon characters on them and I thought they were free so I took one. The lady at the counter proceeded to yell at me because they were actual printable boarding passes that they used. I then walked away from the counter and it apparently was Halloween. I started seeing people dressed in costumes, zombies, bad looking clowns and werewolves. I boarded the plane and then woke up.

 

I hope everyone has a great day.

~ Rob