God Is Great, Beer Is Good, and People Are Crazy

Kudos to Billy Currington to singing that little nugget of truth (although as I sit here nursing one hell of a hangover, I am just a little bit tempted to question my stance on beer…). I’ve come to Portland to paint houses, and instead I find myself the lone female in a field shoveling gravel with a group of Mexican immigrants. But I’ll come back to that story in a minute.

Paddy and I rushed to Portland under the impression that we would start painting houses with College Pro Painters immediately. This has turned out to be far from the truth. I drove into Portland, met up with Paddy, and watched my future manager drop Paddy off and go without even attempting to meet me, which I thought was a little bit strange (Paddy actually knows the guy who we were going to work for, he’s a friend from uni). He tells Paddy that we will start in a week, and while I’m only going to be here for a month I agree to wait it out. However, the week had come to an end and we were still broke with no income, so I sent a clarification text that we would in fact be starting on Monday. Turns out production doesn’t start for a week or two. I can’t afford to wait that long, and neither can Paddy. I know this guy is Paddy’s friend and all, but I am not a fan. We came here with the promise of immediate start and now we have to wait 3 weeks?!  Upon telling Erin this news, she responded with “…your going to start stripping aren’t you?” She’s so confident in my ability to find work. I can’t actually do that (25% because I’m not that desperate yet, 20% because I have morals, mostly 55% because sex appeal and I have never met and I’ve eaten one too many cookies to show off this bod), and at this point it is find a job now or go home.

Our quest for a legitimate under the table job took us to the small coastal town of Garibaldi in the hopes of finding work on an off-shore boat. While we failed in that respect, we did manage to walk away with about 3 1/2 pounds of fresh rock cod and other baked treats. After finding out way to the harbor, we started asking around and were directed to SIGGI-G Ocean Charters, where we met Laura and Tom. They didn’t have any work available but we got to chatting with them for a while and as we started to leave we heard Tom yell, “Wait! Do you like fish?” Of course we said yes and to our surprise, he opened the fridge and asked how many people were in the house we were staying at. After telling him that there are 5 of us, he proceeded to pull out fresh filets of rock cod that we later weighed in as enough to feed a group of 12 and bagged it for us. As we said our goodbyes Tom also gave us some slices of frosted lemon bread. A part of me wondered just how disheveled and/or pathetic we looked for someone to give us that much free food, but on the whole I was just overwhelmed at the generosity of these people we had just met. At least our trip to Garibaldi wasn’t a waste, we came back with dinner!

The Sheelars treated us to thai food that night so we saved the fish for another day. At some point, unbeknownst to me, Paddy had talked with the boys and signed us up to work on the farm. I roll out  of bed only to be greeted with, “let’s get to work! It’s gravel time!” What? Initially I stayed at the house cleaning the porch and washing the windows. There were a lot of spider webs. And spiders…I think one almost fell into my hair at one point. I also had a lot of fun dancing to music on my ipod until I dropped in the bucket of water and windex. As soon I finished with that I headed out to the field where the boys were working. And that is how I found myself in a field  shoveling gravel with a group of Mexican immigrants. I managed to run myself into a wire grill so rusty it was orange within the first 30 seconds I was there, not only prompting tetanus concerns but also proving myself to be somewhat incompetent in this field of work. Within two hours I was demoted to beer wench.

Upon finishing work and returning to the farm, we cooked up our fish and had ourselves a delicious feast before heading out to a barn party with Jamie’s cousins Rachel and Brendan. It ended up being smaller than we had expected (there were only 7 people there) but we still had a lot of fun, and if one of guys had brought his tattoo gun with him I might have walked out of there with Chiquita the party pineapple tattooed on my derriere. I’m sure it would have clashed nicely with my fern.

Today my back is sore as all get out and had to go into urgent care and receive a tetanus shot; turns out my last one was about 13 years ago. Through this whole Portland venture, I have deemed this much to be true: God is great to have given me a job (even if it isn’t what I had thought it would be), now that this hangover is subsiding beer will go back to being good, and people are definitely crazy (in the best way. Usually).

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