December 31, 2006

liveblogging Room at the Inn

Our church is part of Room in the Inn, a program to help the working homeless find a new start. Each Sunday night from Thanksgiving to Easter, our church hosts 25-30 men for the evening so that they can get a shower, a good dinner, a good night's sleep, a good breakfast and lunch the next day while they work and save to establish a new life.

Normally, the Sunday School departments take turns serving as greeters, servers, clothes washers, and overnight hosts. This year, our nights included Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, so it was tough for us to "field a team" with everyone traveling and having prior plans. Our coordinator called me last week and I agreed to work tonight (with Lydia's blessing, of course.)

This may go down as the most boring liveblog in history, but hey, it's my first try. :D

5:00 arrived - Leadfoot (Lydia) somehow beat me here even though I left home first.

5:10 - Lydia helps Miss Sherry, Betsy Kay and Becky set up the dinner and stash the snack bags.

5:25 - the guests start arriving. We have 28 tonight.

5:30 - I lead prayer and dinner begins. I'm given the duty of spooning out the barbecued chicken. Five women from The Next Door have volunteered to serve the dinners. Somehow in the hurriedness of the serving, we miscommunicate and prepare 27 plates.

5:35 - I meet Juan*, who was shirked the dinner. It turns out that I habla about as much as he speaks English.

5:40 - Since I was the one who mis-apportioned the chicken, I drive to Wendy's to pick up dinner for me and Juan.

6:00 - Dinner's done except for me and Juan. We dine together and I explain in very broken Spanish that I don't really speak Spanish... I've just worked with little kids. He's very appreciative for the dinner anyway.

6:15 - Dinner's all cleaned up. The coffee is made, and the dinner helpers are headed out. Lydia gives me a new year's kiss. I tell her if she's still up for the ball drop to give me a call. Come to think of it, this is the first new year's eve we've been apart since we got married.

7:00 - The Next Door women head out to their New Year's party. That leaves me, Pete and Michael to hold the fort to tomorrow morning.

8:12 - The big attraction is the Green Bay football game. The pool games have wrapped up and it's getting quieter.

8:27 - Michael and I dismiss Pete. Michael told him to tell his wife that we said he snored too loud and told him he had to go home. He's coming back at 5:00.

8:33 - At a quick count, we have 17 who have already chosen to sack out. I'm on the web in the rec office and have a great view of the folks in the game room and the gym. Michael's in here reading.

8:47 - Lydia's online. All's quiet here on the front.

8:58 - Our last smoker has come in. I can tell he's supposed to be here because a) he has a name tag and b) he's in scrubs. When the men come in, they can check out scrubs to sleep in, and we wash the clothes that they bring. Tonight, the Next Door women are doing the laundry, making it an easy night for us overnight hosts. They're fantastic.

9:32 - The game is still on, but Chicago isn't really playing. The decaf is still piping hot. I'm in for my second cup.

9:37 - No more viewers for the game. We've got three pool players and 22 sacked out.

9:58 - Two at the pool table, two at the TV (seems to be a bit of renewed interest in the game.) Michael's in the kitchen, but I can't quite tell what he's trying to do... maybe just size things up for tomorrow morning.

10:09 - Brian* comes to the window. "Hey man, I hurt my leg."

He's reinjured a wound on his lower leg and says that "blood is spurting out." Another guest comes to his aid with a towel and makes a pretty loose tourniquet around it. Brian says this has happened before, and he had to go to the hospital, so we call 911. The operator is great.

10:12 - A fire truck pulls up outside, and Michael goes out to help.

10:18 - Brian's still talking to the firemen. Michael says they're going to take him. Chances are we won't see him back... not because we don't want to, but because the ER on New Year's Eve will be a bit busy.

10:25 - curfew warning. Three guys in the gameroom. Brian's still outside with the firemen. I wish we had some sort of intermediate "quick medical" service between an ambulence and "get yourself in here." I guess that's a fire truck.

10:28 - The fire truck leaves.

10:32 - The TV is off, and our last two guests are in the gym for the night.

11:01 - just watched the ball drop on CNN. I'm headed upstairs for a sleep. My phone is set to wake me up at 5:00 a.m... hopefully there won't be any more posts before then.

*The names of the guests were changed to protect their privacy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is probably the most meaninful thing your church does. It certainly represents the heart of the gospel.