My first hard hat

One of those unique, never-thought-you’d-have-the-opportunity events actually presented itself to me this year. Although this isn’t something new I tried today, it was a very new experience and I’m just now “allowed” to discuss it.

In early January, I heard that ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition was coming to North Florida. I immediately found the developers’ website and to volunteer. They had two sections for sign-ups: skilled workers and unskilled. How’s that for an ego crusher, haha. I put my name on the “unskilled” list and hoped they would notify me I had been chosen.

After three weeks, they posted a document with all the names and their shifts. Skim, skim, skim, skim, skim…I wasn’t on it. Boo. But, I “Liked” them on Facebook to keep up with their progress.

A few days into the build, I was on Facebook just before making dinner. It was actually Sunday, Jan. 30, around 6 p.m. Just before I was closing my laptop, it refreshed and North Florida Extreme Makeover page popped up. “We are a bit short-handed. The first 10 people to comment will be able to volunteer the 6:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. shift.”

AH! I looked up at Jeremy and told him what it said. It was a Sunday. I had to work the next day. I would have to be there in a half hour. I hadn’t eaten. He hadn’t eaten. I was supposed to Skype with my Mom. Then he spoke up. “You should go. Nothing else matters, it’ll be fun, your Mom will understand. You know you want to.” He was right; what the heck. I typed in, “My name is Adriane Tish. I’ll be there!” I was #10.

I called my Mom on the drive out. We excitedly chatted my whole drive and then it was time to work. I parked in a dirt lot and walked toward a tent marked “Check-In.” They issued me a blue logo-ed t-shirt and a hard hat. “You have to wear both the whole time,” said the check-in lady said sternly.

Quick pic of myself in 'uniform' waiting for the bus.

I was pretty excited. Once I arrived on the job site, the house was already well underway. All I knew was that it would air on Mother’s Day, and that the “Mom” took in three girls when their parents died. Plus they were in my area. I was so happy to be able to contribute.

Stucco going up, roof being finished.

That pile of wood above, yeah, I moved it there. As I wandered around doing odd jobs and gossiping with people who had been there for multiple shifts (things like Ty wasn’t there because they filmed two episodes that week and the night before, a guy fell off the roof), it started to rain.

As is started to rain, we busted butt to cover materials and machines with tarps and

I lifted a lot of heavy stuff and then took shelter inside a tent. A lady asked me if I’d mind painting. Of course not!

That's when I picked for a sweet gig--painting corbels!

I, along with two other women, painted 30ish Styrofoam decorative accents for the house. By this time, it was approaching 11 p.m. and I was hungry. They had a food tent so I went to check it out. It.was.amazing. The had a huge buffet line of catered food and all kinds of snack foods and drinks. I got there at the shift change so I ate a bunch of the BJ’s chicken parmigiana before it got thrown away  and then chili and cornbread from Sweet Tomatoes as is was brought in. Then I ate one of these delicious cupcakes. Aren’t they cute?


Homemade cupcakes from one of the volunteers.

I headed back out to the site and lobbied for an inside job. They needed us to carry in materials and then sweep the concrete floors to prep for the next step. I swept like I have never swept before. One place in particular was the master bathroom. I scraped the floors to get excess paint off and then swept so the tiles could be properly laid. All that was in there was exposed pipes and a beautiful tub.

I wasn't allowed to take pictures, but it was just a tub on cement when I was in there. This is the official after pic

I met a ton of nice people and tried to work really hard for the cause. I left around 1 a.m. when the new shift started showing up. I was proud of everyone’s work and so, so enjoyed finally watching the episode last Sunday.

Ta-da! Finished product--See my corbels???

I learned so much after the episode aired, too. I knew the girls lost their parents…I didn’t know it was because of meth and a drug overdose, after a life of hardship, no support and loneliness. How traumatic. I’m so happy for this group of ladies and honored that I could play any small part in it. If you want to watch the full episode, click here.

Did you try anything new today? Have you ever been a part of a big project for someone else?


One response to “My first hard hat

  1. You are an awesome person! Lots of volunteering and in all different things. Volunteers are needed and so important, and sometimes they get more than they give. Anyway, a great way to experience many different things. Way to go! Love the hat!

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