After nearly a month at PNOLA (since my transplant from another rebuilding organization), it’s finally here: the day of my first ever PNOLA blog post. I arrived at the office this morning expecting to work with volunteers. I hoped to fill my first-ever blog post with photos of smiling volunteers, an anecdote or two, and a few slightly sentimental musings about volunteerism. Plans change, though, and my volunteers went elsewhere while I climbed a ladder with no company but a caulk gun and a wet rag. Although I got a solid amount of work done and I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to work outside, it wasn’t exactly the source of blogging inspiration I had hoped for. The caulk gun and wet rag aren’t very photogenic. The ladder seemed pretty willing to pose for a photo, but I couldn’t for the life of me get it to smile:

I don’t have anything great in the way of anecdotes either. I hit myself with a hammer trying to secure a piece of siding that was, in retrospect, just a little out of my reach; I used a defective tube of caulk that caused caulk to explode out the back of the gun. I confirmed that I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy by telling myself caulk jokes and giggling to myself as I worked.  

One of the nice things about slow days like today, though, is that they provide AMPLE time for musing about volunteerism. Days like today make you appreciate volunteers, and not just because six volunteers could get the caulking done six times faster than I can alone. Volunteers bring energy and enthusiasm and keep the work day from turning into “just another day at work.” Each day is full of meaning and each task, however mundane, makes a real difference in someone’s life. Sometimes we can get lost in the details of the work and forget the true significance of what we do. Today, in missing volunteers, I remembered that I love them because each group arrives with fresh fervor for the true task at hand.  

That, and it’s always nice to have someone to laugh at all those inevitable caulk jokes with…

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