It’s been a rough couple of weeks. But the sun is peaking out from behind the clouds, and it’s feeling like spring might be right around the corner.

It was a workday at the collective today, something that didn’t turn out to be horrible, but was basically my personal hell.

For the work weekend, we were displaced from our room, and then put everything back in our room, and then moved everything out of our room again. Currently there is someone installing a door jam on our closet door, and all of our furniture in the room is pushed to the center of the room so that the parameters of the room could be measured for cutting trim.

I really dislike it. I asked Carp this morning, why do you think I keep finding myself in these situations where hard manual labor is a given?

He says it probably had something to do with living in low income housing, but I think it’s also got a lot to do with low pay jobs such as AmeriCorps NCCC.

Doing AmeriCorps NCCC really brought up the issue of workers’ rights in my mind, and health and safety issues in the workplace. I got pretty OCD over it, but then again, quite a lot of people get worried about dealing with such things as lead paint, asbestos, and breathing in airborne particles from toxic materials like treated wood. It’s not just me, but it is just my personal hell I think. It doesn’t seem to bother others quite as much as it does me.

My friend was working on the house last weekend and had a lead scare, and I wasn’t looking to run into one of those today. You known, when you’ve had your hand all over a certain product and have been breathing it in all morning, and then someone walks over and is like, you should definitely have gloves and a mask on. And you’re like, FUCCCK. Queue the panic attack.

So that’s why I find myself today at 4:30 at the neighborhood bar, in secret. I originally left to work on writing the grant for the earth ramp that we are also hoping to build in our backyard, but I thought I would write this blog post out first.

My day with the workday was pretty uneventful. I started the morning off helping Carp sand off a part of a door for our bathroom. Soon after, while we looked unsuccessfully for white pant to paint over the bottom of the door, I ranted about “lack of autonomy” and “not being able to paint our own bathrooom door green even if we wanted to.”

It was that kind of day.

I moved on to cleaning out our room, because aparently we need to get trim on lining of our room in time for the yearly inspection. While cleaning, I took notice of all of the little mold colonies growing quite heartily on all six of the windowsills of our room. I got some ACV (apple cider vinegar) and wiped that shit down. Then I measured the perameters of the room with a tape measure, and got the anges of the room with a protractor. I drew out a map of our room with the measurements for where trim was needed, and then I called it a day and started making lunch for the house with Carp.

We made red lentils and rice. Carp added a lot of smoked paprika to the lentils, and soon they smelled just like vegetarian hot dogs. It was strangely appealing and appalling at the same time. But the food tasted great, and we sat around with a few of our housemates and ate while the others pounded hammers on walls and sang along to the radio at the top of their lungs.

After lunch, I was pretty tapped out. I helped Carp carry the bathroom door down the three flights of stairs into the basement. The basement currently has about three inches of standing water in it due to constantly flooding, so we had to put boots on.

I went up to the attic and helped sand “rosettes,” which are apparently something that we use for the corners of trim around doorways. I brought up some cardboard from our recycling bin to sit on so that I wasn’t mopping all the sawdust up with my person. I sat there for a few hours and sanded and sanded rosettes until they were “more perfect” while one of my other roommates stained them.

And then, at some point, I just decided I was done. And I left.

And that’s been the day.

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© Copyright 2018 Annie Windholz

midwestern librarian, writer, activist. subscribe —