Thursday (February 20), I drove an hour and a half to meet with our GI Rights counselors, Lenore Yarger and Steve Woolford. They work off site, and I try to sit down with them a few times a year. This meeting went a little longer than the others because, in addition to talking about how work is going (need for more reliable internet and cell phone coverage for them), we discussed some wider Network hopes for better fundraising efforts, tried out an extra powercord they had on my laptop (we have the same laptops)–which worked!, and . . . the most basic introduction to training me on GI Rights counseling.
Quaker House was established in 1969 specifically out of Quaker interactions with a soldier at Ft. Bragg seeking discharge from the Army as a conscientious objector. Therefore, one of the main roles of the executive directors was counseling for service members, and also for youth regarding the Selective Service and draft. Steve and Lenore started doing counseling with Quaker House in 1999 (and the GI Rights Network (GIRN) had formed out of the partnering of various military counseling groups a few years prior to this, in 1994). In 2000, there was a short lull in time between directors at Quaker House when Phil Esmonde left and before Chuck Fager started. Steve and Lenore kept things going and, after that, most of the military counseling was handled by them while the director of Quaker House focused on other aspects of peace work.
Since I have been executive director (September 2017), I have taken a more active role in the GIRN conferences and on that board again, and I have had a growing conviction that the Quaker House director needs to get back to our director roots of military counseling (along with continuing to support the other programs of Quaker House!). Thus, Thursday was that initial step. It will be slow gradual training because I still have a lot on my plate. I am excited and convinced this is a good direction, though. I also could not have better trainers.
Steve and Lenore also served me a delicious lunch of lentil stew, salad with the most beautiful sprouts I have ever seen, and grilled cheese sandwiches. How lucky am I?
Just as I left for the hour and a half drive back to Quaker House, the snow began to fall.
I had double-booked myself for that evening: The initial session of “Dialogues for Civic Leadership,” sponsored by the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relationships and the Wildacres Leadership Initiative, and led by Meredith Doster, and the National Organzation for Women (NOW) Susan B. Anthony dinner honoring the amazing Sylvia Ray (who is also a wonderful neighbor). As soon as I got home, I checked my emails. The Leadership session had been rescheduled because of the snow, but not the NOW dinner. After sitting down for just a second, I changed clothes and was off through the night and snow to the dinner. I am so glad I was able to attend this (and not miss the other)!
When I got back to Quaker House, the inside of the new heat pump was encased in ice and causing the metal fan blades to clang against the edges of ice. One of the people on the property committee had predicted this would be a problem because of its location under the eaves (the only place to put it) because we do not have gutters. We are in the Historic District. No gutters. At least, no gutters can be visible from the road. The plan is to control the runoff from the roof and build a protective rain/sleet/snow sheild for the heat pump (both to be not visible from the road and with the Historic Commission’s knowledge). However, that property committee member just recently had major eye surgery.
So, I dropped the thermostat for the rest of the night. This morning, I knew that by around 2:00 pm, the heat pump would be fully bathed in sunlight, but I did not feel like waiting that long for warmth. So, I spent about an hour with a hair dryer thawing the edges of the obstructing ice ledge-and was grateful for the warm air pouring out of the vents when I raised the thermostat once again.
Of course, next Wednesday, February 26, we should have a gas line running to the gas fireplace stove, and it would not have been such a big deal to wait for the warmth of the sun.