Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Salad Days

Yesterday I spent rebuilding some stairs for a friend, who runs Oakland Firefighters Random Acts of Kindness. It's a small non-profit started by an Oakland firefighter who wanted to do some good in the communities in which he serves, instead of always seeing the bad -- fires, wrecks, etc. Enough years of that got to him.

My friend Cindy runs the non-profit from her house, and I do occasional tech support for them and maintain the website. Last winter I was going to help Cindy with some home improvement / repair tasks (we'd met years ago volunteering at East Bay Habitat for Humanity), and before we got going her back flared up again. So I ended up doing most of the work myself. Yesterday wasn't the last work that needs to be done, but at least the upstairs tenants have proper stairs and a railing now.

Today was a light work day. This morning I did some disassembly of the part of the deck that sits where the addition will be. This afternoon, I went to the Red Cross for apheresis. It's kind of like donating whole blood, but it's just the platelets, which get used for cancer and leukemia patients, as well as those receiving organ transplants and undergoing heart surgery. It takes longer than whole blood, so fewer people tend to do it. But the need is always great, because platelets don't keep aslong as whole blood. I do it because I've got the time, and it's an easy way to help save a life or three. And I get to watch a movie.

But the upshot of it is that afterwards, I can't do any heavy lifting. Fewer platelets, and my blood doesn't clot as readily. Katarina isn't very good with medical stuff (in the same sense that the Titantic "wasn't very good with" icebergs), so I think she imagines me bleeding in some sort of Monty Python-esque spoof of a Sam Peckinpah film. I don't think it would be quite that spectacular, but it still means I won't do any heavy lifting for the rest of the day. I cleaned up the detritus from this morning's activities, and disassembled the downspout, but besides that the heaviest lifting is bound to be 12 (fluid) oz. I get everything but the platelets back (and those replace themselves completely within 3 days), so I'm not as much a lightweight afterwards as with whole blood donation.

Tomorrow I hire a laborer or two, and get cracking on getting the stumps out. I'm going to have to rent a jackhammer to get the brick wall and bits of concrete out of the way, but first things first.

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