Week 9 | A Storm’s A-Brewin’ | July 8-12

Hello, readers!

Thanks for checking on my year with ACSTL. This week wasn’t particularly eventful, but hopefully there are a few laughs hidden in there for you. Enjoy!


Monday, July 8 | Nothing says, “Welcome back from the long holiday weekend!” like an office whose A/C still isn’t working. Sadly, the system is so old that some repairmen/women can’t do anything for it. Plus, it seems that approval for a new one won’t come down from the top until it is completely unserviceable. (We can only hope that day doesn’t come during high summer.) Now, a new A/C unit has to sit on a list of other big purchases, like another service truck, a freezer for the Friday Summer Outreach lunch team, and a real donor database and tracking system.

This morning’s meeting was a small group with just 17 of the 40 ERT Members still in Missouri. They headed out to their sites for the week and I got myself situated in the break room to continue working on the alumni archive spreadsheet, June newsletter, and a bike rack cost table. I wonder how the pesky squirrels survived the steamy weekend in the ceiling. Thankfully, the A/C unit for the main office got up and running again this afternoon and we all returned to our respective offices.


Tuesday, July 9 | What a refreshing change to salute the morning with the return of cold air! I heard the study linking cold office temperatures to lower productivity for women—as someone who is usually cold, it was very validating—but I was nevertheless very happy to return to comfortable working conditions. I continued to attempt to piece together an organizational timeline for the website, which led me to a large deployment history document in need of some serious reformatting—my specialty. At today’s VISTA meeting, I contributed to accomplishments and took on more tasks including designing some print-on-demand AmeriCorps St. Louis and ERT merch, which I am very excited to start on.


Wednesday, July 10 | I started my day out with the creative tasks of setting up our Zazzle shop and designing some Ameri-swag to sell. Button, magnets, hats, sweatshirts, bandanas, mugs, totes, pins, and all that good stuff. I hope it brings in some money on the side for us, so we can, I don’t know . . . buy a reliable air conditioner? 😁

When the fun was done, I went back to the summaries of service for our partners and then linked FEMA web pages to each of the Major Disaster Declarations and Emergency Declarations that ERT has responded to, according to the history of disaster experience document. ERT has responded to quite a few of them, so it took a good chunk of the afternoon If you’re interested in the most recent disasters, you can look here!


Thursday, July 11 | The other VISTAs were out today, so I played my music out loud to keep my reign over our office nook funky and fresh as I chipped away at the numerous summaries of service that we’ll send out to our partners and the long history of disaster experience.


Friday, July 12 | Tropical Storm Barry is mixing up the morning headlines, and thank goodness. Over the past few weeks, I feel like I’ve heard the same handful of stories (not ones that’ll start your day with a smile, either) told a hundred different ways. Though I love to follow storm updates, it didn’t take long before that creole-flavored, rainbow-colored, pothole-ridden, Crescent City-shaped piece of my heart to begin to ache. Living in New Orleans during my graduate program at Tulane University no doubt made an impression on me, and I feel a closeness to the city. Seeing Canal Street covered in water like the canal it was intended to be is alarming. I hope, as all New Orleaneans do, that the pumps work and the levees hold. 🙏

After several stress-inducing emails and avoided phone calls, I got the news that my IBR renewal was approved. My AmeriCorps paycheck is little enough that my payments went back down to $0 a month!

The Best Tax Day Freebies for 2015: Massages, Dinner ...

ERT was in good spirits when they returned. Late on Friday afternoons, I sometimes find myself wondering why VISTAs are required to stick around for the debrief. It’s mostly the end of the week restlessness talking. At the end of every meeting, I’m glad I got to hear how the week went for the teams, what they accomplished, what they learned, and funny things that happened. Today, we talked about where we want to stop on the way out to Montana. Options include the Badlands, Yellowstone, and Tetons, oh my!

Just one more week of service in Missouri before we ship out west!


Thanks for reading!

Ellen


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