Sunday, June 29, 2008

The rain, the house and my last Winnipeg Free Press project

.Quite some time ago, perhaps April, I was assigned the task of leading a team of Winnipeg Free Press employees to assist in brushing up Winnipeg.

What this meant was that we were to paint a house where the owner lacked the means to do it themselves.

It was to be a big media event.  June 7 at precisely 8 a.m. a cast of approximately 25 Free Press employees were to arrive at our house, which was to be among 14 houses being painted that day, we were to paint until the house was completed.

We couldn't paint on June 7 because it rained, we couldn't paint on June 14 because it rained, and we couldn't paint on June 21 because of another event we had committed to.   Each time the event was postponed we lost people  We picked up a person or two but it became difficult to figure out who was painting and who was not. 

I decided June 28 would be the day we would paint, unless it was -30C, which was an impossibility.

I woke up at 2 a.m. to the sounds of pouring rain.  I couldn't sleep.  I got up  I knew if the rain continued we wouldn't be able to work.  If by some miracle the rain stopped we would be able to scrape the old paint off, because I knew a great deal of scraping would be necessary.

I arrived at our house at 7:15.  Supplies were to be delivered at 7:30.  At 7:30 I got a call from George, who was arranging the delivery.  He was very surprised to discover I still wanted the delivery.

Marnie called.  I said I was in a holding pattern, but if the rain let up I'd begin scraping and that I'd keep her in the loop.

At 8 a.m. Margaret and her husband arrived, prepared to work.  It was raining so I sent them away.

At 8:30 Mike arrived, he said since it was only a drizzle he would begin scraping.  I said if he was going to scrape so was I.  We got to work.  Martin arrived.  Murray arrived.  I telephoned Marnie, she arrived.  By noon we had a crew of about fifteen people working on the house.  We scraped, we primed, we painted, we were a team.

By 6:30 the last of us packed it in.  The job was unfinished but we had worked like busy beavers and could rest well knowing we had done the best we could.

Dianna, who I  had wisely made my assistant,  planned to finish the next day, "Come hell or high water," she said.  A very appropriate saying to use considering all the high water we have experienced this month.

I went to sleep at 7 p.m. and awoke at around 2 or 3 a.m. needing to go to the bathroom.  I was awake  but I couldn't move my right arm.  I was so tired it took every bit of mental strength I had to will myself up to go to the bathroom.

A great team building exercise.  But I'm leaving the team.

Adios amigos.  Mexico aqui yo vengo.

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