We met at the museum—Kevin took Sam, Dean, Annie, and me in his van, and we picked up Coop at Boro Hall and unloaded at Miller’s. I had the pleasure of giving Terry and Teresa our new Robbins Reef t-shirts—they loved them. Tony took us out on the Nicholas; and we slid into the cove as was the tide was coming in—six rungs on the lower ladder.
We had gone over things while waiting at Miller’s, and everyone knew what to do. Generator out, saw horses up to the third floor, and “where’s the poly?” I told Sam and Dean to choose from the watch gallery and the fourth floor (too dark); they chose the gallery, and started scraping and sanding after putting down more floor paper. Paint chips rained down and filled two contractor’s bags. I can imagine how beautiful it will be up there when the lovely surrounds on the ceiling windows and the center medallion are repaired and freshly painted.
Annie hit her cabinet surrounds, experimenting with different chemicals and techniques and finished stripping them. Coop set out sanding. I hollered and screamed all the way through a clumsy, messy application of Peel Away to two doors. Covered one door, plastic on top, set it up against the wall. Door 2—more hollering—that stuff—I’d forgotten how nasty it is. Coop got an entry door and one half cabinet door sanded and started on the other half-door. It was so gutted that it took awhile to get it done. Then he dabbled in Peel Away for while, if only to shut me up, and I finished the sanding. What a team!
With one or two raindrops plunking down on the promenade, we broke for lunch on the Bayonne-facing side of the plinth and watched a storm over Jersey City. Kev saw a single bolt of lightning cut the sky, but it all died down. We’ve yet to get a thunderstorm while out at the Reef.
During most of last spring’s window week we worked through heavy rain and gathered down in the kitchen for lunch, companionship, and warmth. Once when Coop and I were out the wind was whistling in a strange way we’d never heard before—a hollow whistle from the upper galleries we could hear down in the kitchen. But we have never been out in a thunderstorm, and most of us would love to be.
After two hours we took off the Peel Away off, and scraped and washed the doors. I whipped up some Citrisize (don’t criticize, Citrisize), sprayed it on, let it sit for 30 minutes while getting the sharp end of scrapers into the grooves on the panel doors. Washed off the Citrisize, washed the doors andleft one flat on the saw horses and the other leaning against the wall. They look good.
Everyone cleaned up with shop vac and brooms—Sam and Dean on the fourth floor and watch gallery, Annie down below, Coop and I in the workroom where it was sandy and had globs of dried Peel Away on the floor. Stretched out on the sitting room floor, with gleaming doors surrounding him, Kev managed to finish the second coat on all the doors. They look great but he said they’ll need two more coats; the wood is eating up the poly greedily. We’ll be back.
Lighthouse Log Book is a series of stream of consciousness writings by Executive Director Erin Urban after each Crew date at Robbins Reef. It’s informal and meant to impart a sense of the energy of the volunteers and the work they accomplish in regular seven-hour workdays to Robbins Reef Lighthouse.