Many Treepers have been providing support to Samaritans Purse; and we can confirm the faith-based recovery workers are all over southwest Florida. We’ve shook hands with many of the Baptist Men from all over the Southern U.S. that have traveled into the state to assist in the region. They are great people who are especially important as they go into some of the areas often forgotten as the media focus is on the immediate coast.
♦ A Poke in The Ribs – yesterday, as we were exiting a convenience store, AJ poked me in the ribs and nodded toward a guy at the gas pump leaning on the edge of his truck bed in a praying position. The truck was towing a trailer with the traditional gear of a pool service, yellow chlorine containers, skimmer poles and vacuum hoses etc.
No words needed between us, we’ve seen that stance a hundred times. “Hey, brother, you ok?” “How ya making out?” In the seconds between the next word, you know… you just know… it’s something about the eyes.
Pool-man Mike lives in an inland area, south Lehigh Acres, and services customers in Bonita Springs. We never thought about pool-man stress til that moment. Family ok, but house is wrecked, no power, and can’t quit working because he can’t lose his accounts. Many of his customers are without power, and he’s trying to keep their pools from turning into fancy concrete ponds. Many are a mess with debris. Strong work ethic.
“No power?” … “You got a generator?”… “etc.”?
Nope, and pool-man Mike has no time to focus on his own needs because he’s got to keep the business afloat. Kids at home, school is cancelled next week too; momma stressed and also working. They need to work, everyone does.
OK, Here’s The Plan: Take our generator and 20 gals of fuel; give us a list of your next days account work (six stops); we’ll take your trailer and do the pool work for a day; that’ll buy you 36 hours to set up generator, get house in order etc. and we’ll drop off trailer at end of day.
Phone number exchange, handshakes turn to hugs on exit. All Good.
OK, so that was the plan.
Early morning we’re pool-men; I mean, how hard could that be? AJ with visions of an actual easy day, no chainsawing today. Scrub pools, vacuum, skim, wash filters… easy peasy, he says. … no worries, he says … we got this, we convince ourselves.
♦Account #1 6:30am. Four car garage. Fancy house. Two+ stories. Walk around back looking like pool-men with pool-men type attitude…. wha, the..
.… There’s a half a damned tree in the pool !
Well, not an actual “half tree”, but a big ol branch looking like half a tree. It might as well have been half a tree.
We stopped, look at each other, looked at our new nemesis, looked at each other again, and then burst out laughing. Oh, God has some humor for us with this one… Easy peasy says we, yesterday. We got this, we thought yesterday. At 6:35am, staring down a pile of floating Paul Bunyan flotsam, that I swear was smiling back at us,… not-so-much.
What a mess. Leaves. Good Lord the leaves. Dirt. Bird nests – probably. Sketchy gook and black death moldy stuff all over. Oh well, dig in.
Truthfully, it wasn’t too bad once we got the big stuff out, and scooped out the black death moldy leaves from the bowels of Hades abyss…. At any non particular point in the process various quotes from Quint, the character in jaws, seemed appropriate:
“Oh, I got me an arborist back home who gonna have a heart attack when he see’s what I bring ’em”, etc.
We thought no-one was home at Casa del Hades pool.
We thought this was a fancy evacuee house.
We were wrong.
About an hour into our two hour exploratory pool man from hell routine; we noted a silver haired chap watching curiously from the well finished marble balcony (while sipping something fancy we later assured ourselves). Oops. AJ yells up: “don’t mind us, we’re Ward Cleaver’s boys”! Yikes, not even a head nod from Hades pool gatekeeper. Pfffftt…
Thankfully, in answer to our profound apologies and transit prayers to the guiding hand that can humble a person righteously, aka God, jobs 2-6 were the easier-peasier ones.
By lunchtime we arrived at Mikes neighborhood, he’d spent last night and this morning in earnest effort getting his family situated with the refinements of the generator, to include a window unit AC (from an in-law), and a working fridge and stove.
Words to describe tear-jerking hugs of appreciation from a grown man cannot appropriately explain how much it means, or explain how we were received. Then, wait for it,… here it comes…. as the pool-gear trailer was being reassigned to it’s rightful owner Mike asks: “Any problems?”
“Nope. Not a one.” …
… “Um, however, if by natural outcome or happenstance, Mr. four car, 10,000 sq ft marble living gatekeeper and custodian of Hades swimming pool cancels your account.. well, um, just let us know, and we’ll cover the losses”.
Note to self, don’t underestimate how hard the pool-man-mike’s of the world are working.