My Alabama Trip

This is being cross-posted to my other “blog”:http://www.sixpackbysummer.com/2006/05/24/my-alabama-trip/

I have a total lack of motivation today. I really want to blame it on staying up until 2am to try and catch up on my rss feeds, but I don’t think I can.
I think this is more of an existential thing. I feel like I’m being slowly given the answer to a question I hadn’t asked yet. A few things are happening here and there that are making me reluctantly examine my environment, both external and internal.

Trouble getting out of bed, not getting to the gym, chicken gone bad… it’s been a rough morning. I am taking another “Taekwondo class”:http://www.akastners.com/ tonight at my sister’s school. I’m really *REALLY* looking forward to it. It’s almost like coming home.

I also have quite a few projects up in the air at once, and I feel like I really want to address them all.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still 100% responsible for the direction and progress in my life. I’m just feeling pulled in directions I hadn’t considered. And those
directions are pretty much opposites from each other.

Now for my trip!
We left NJ around 10pm wednesday night in my “Mom’s new RV”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/65354243@N00/148446886/, after my first taekwondo class in JUST over 10 years (I left for SF on april 13th, 1996, and taught class the night before.) I had an awesome time, but was really really winded! Anyway, we drove straight through, taking shifts. We arrived in Moundville, AL, 20 miles from our destination of Greensboro, AL at 6pm thursday. And by “arrived”, I mean broke down completely on the side of the road. The locals were VERY, VERY nice, and spent about 3 hours looking at our RV, finally coming to the expert conclusion that it was the fuel pump. We called a tow truck and after another two hours of waiting, we were at the church that everyone on the “UBBT”:http://www.ultimateblackbelttest.com/ build was staying at. A 5:30am wake up call by Tom Callos got everyone on their way. While everyone went to start the first day of building, my Mom and I went to the local Ford dealership in Demopolis (about 20 mins away) to have the RV worked on. As soon as we got there, and got our information sorted, the shop foreman, Charles, informed us that we’d be joining him for lunch. Then, an hour later, he told us that his wife and mother were on their way, and we’d all go out to lunch together. We ended up at a local, authentic southern food joint (complete with sordid back story) for some chicken fingers, catfish, banana pudding, beans and other greasy, suprisingly tasty food. Then it was back to the VERY boring waiting area. Demopolis Ford vending machines If not for John’s PSP and my nintendo DS, I think we would have lost our minds.
As far as we knew, everything was going along great. Great that is, until 6pm when one of the guys came in holding a round, mangled piece of metal, informing us that nothing could be done, and we’d have to wait until monday.
So there we are, 20 miles from where we need to be, WITH our living area and most of the tools we brought, being told that not only could we not use our “house”, but we’d have to wait until MONDAY – when we HAD to leave by sunday afternoon in order to get home on time! Ug.
Somehow, they conjured up a miracle and were able to dis-mangle that piece and get it in place. After a few more close calls, the RV was done – at 8pm! When he came in to tell us that the RV was out front, waiting for us, a full 3 hours after they closed, on a friday night, we asked him how much the bill was.
“Have a nice trip”.
WHAT? are you kidding me? So after we MADE him take a tip (everyone we dealt with in the south abhorred the notion of getting a tip), we found a dumping station in Demopolis, and headed back to the church. We missed the first movie they showed that night, “King Gimp”:http://www.hbo.com/kinggimp/king/, produced by UBBT Team 2 and 3 member, “Nancy Walzog”:http://ultimateblackbelttest.com/contact_view.asp?contact_id=132, but did get to see her new version of the Ultimate Black Belt Test Movie she made as part of her test last year. It’s awesome!

Saturday, another early wake up, and it was off to the work site. The first day for my mom and me, the second for the rest of the team.
Saturday on the build It was a LONG day, where my still painful scalp sun-burn started (I was only able to borrow a visor, and my hair is still really short). Lots of work got done, but there were too many people there for most of the day and not enough jobs. When the walls started going up, there was plenty to do for everyone. After working all day, we went back to the church to eat (more catfish, hushpuppies and beans), then watch a demo by some of the UBBT folks. Jim (my brother-in-law) wanted to find some crawfish to eat, so a big group headed out while I went to bed.

Sunday was an awesome build day. It was really rewarding. My sister and I built two sets of stairs, stringers and all. We had to leave early, 3pm, in order to get back in time for me to work tuesday and my sister to teach monday night. So after a group photo we headed out.

I had a really great time. I’m making something related to the trip to share with everyone who participated. But that is one of those projects I was talking about earlier.

The Build Team