November 2018: Things seen and things unseen

When I think about all the things the Property Team does routinely and from time-to-time, it brings to mind a portion of 2 Corinthians. Forgive me if I paraphrase and take some liberties. It says, more or less, don't look at what we can see, but at things we cannot see. You can read the source for more insight, and beyond that, there are many more Biblical citations regarding what is seen and unseen. It is a long reach, I know, but the relationship to property matters comes to mind because I think it is easy to overlook things we regularly do even when the results can be readily seen, and even easier to overlook things we do that cannot be readily seen. All that said, I encourage everyone to be sensitive to what gets done and what it takes to get these things done. We can only speculate on the magnitude of cost savings that results from all our volunteer efforts, but it has to be substantial.

There are so many things that the Property Team does on a regular basis to help keep our building clean, organized, and beautiful. We keep the Sanctuary tidy by picking up papers, debris and various personal item left behind. We clean candle wax from the chairs and the floor. We clean the baptismal font. We water and care for plants inside the building and on the grounds. Our palms continue to bring out new shoots and our Christmas cactus in the alcove at the office entrance is setting up many buds.

We clean the glass doors and wash windows, inside and out. We recently cleaned all the sanctuary windows from the inside and are continuing with inside windows in the rest of the building. Weather permitting, we will do outside window washing after the outside fall property cleanup has been completed.

Periodically we clean refrigerators, kitchen cabinets, drawers, and closets as well.

We typically assist with putting up and taking down Christmas and Easter decorations.

We manage the "Lost and Found" by collecting misplaced items and periodically putting them on display to help get them back to their owners or find them another home.

Apparently, I was one of the last to know that a skylight window in the Sanctuary has been leaking and dropping water on the congregation. Someone pointed out the problem to me on a recent Sunday, and I observed a few drops of clean water drops falling from one of the overhead windows. The quantity was small, a drop or two every 6-10 seconds, but an irritation none-the-less. Since learning of this problem, I am told these overhead windows have leaked before, and sometimes the water drops are discolored and can stain clothing, carpet, or furniture. In the most recent case, I cycled the affected window open and closed a few times and the leak stopped after a few hours. A few days later, no leakage was seen after several hours of heavy rain. We will be keeping an eye on the windows for any additional leakage. If necessary, we will bring in a contractor to inspect, clean, and service the window seal material.

As we get deeper into the fall season, we have been putting away summer things, removing and storing air conditioners, dealing with leaves and other outdoor cleanup. Winter is near and we are getting prepared. We have signed a contract with our snow removal and salting contractor; test started our snow blower, and are deploying our snow shovels, and other winter maintenance items. We should be ready for what is coming.

You may notice some new track lighting just above the windows on the right side of the Sanctuary. Our choir musicians requested this additional lighting. Many thanks to Richard Topping and Jeff Morrison who helped get this lighting installed and wired. It seems that there is always a lighting issue to be resolved. We do our best to address these issues as they arise.

You may have noticed that our wood trash bins beside the barn have been going through some refurbishment. Time and weather have taken a toll on the covers and doors, so we have been working to resolve these problems.

As I said ... seen and unseen. Dave Mercer, Property Team Leader

October 2018: Another snapshot in time

The Property Team has continued "doing its thing", which is to say we have kept on doing what we've been doing. The specific "things" change with the seasons and the situations, but the big picture seems timeless enough. Some of the same tasks always roll around in an informal, but predictable cycle, and new tasks keep coming up. We do our best to take care of them. Our "to do" list seems to grow and grow.

As of Saturday afternoon, October 6, all of the various lights in the Sanctuary were functional again with the exception of one that we are keeping off by choice. A special "thank you" goes out to Mike Cresta who provided and operated the aerial lift to get me up to the high overhead light fixtures that needed attention, and Tracy Barry and Barry Philbrick who also gave up a portion of their Saturday afternoon to move chairs and lug various things around. Of course, there remains a possibility that another bulb will fail before you read this. That is how cycles work!

We try to use volunteer resources where it is reasonable to do so. Another one of our volunteers, Jeff Morrison, will be coming in to modify a dedicated electrical line to make it compatible with the new office copy machine to be installed this month. Some tasks demand outside assistance. This month we will have a vendor in to replace a power supply that serves several emergency lights in the kitchen area. These lights have been out of service for quite some time.

Situations change, and sometimes our plans change as well. Our plans to change one of the kitchen faucets fell on hard times when I was unable to get the old faucet out. The work space is very tight and one of the nuts securing the faucet to the sink proved uncooperative. Since the existing faucet is still functional, we have decided to keep it in service so long as parts are available and it remains serviceable. While working on the sink, we also discovered a problem with one of the drinking water coolers. We will be ordering and replacing a leaking part and resolving a marginal drain for this cooler.

There is always more to tell about Property Team activities. Here are a few more examples. We have recently been involved in coordinating/advising Brian Clement on his successful Eagle Scout project restoring and reorienting our church sign and related improvements. We have been making plans to resolve issues with our old weathered and damaged trash dumpsters.We removed and replaced furniture and other items to support the new carpet installation. We resolved issues with doors for both the ladies’ and men’s’ rooms. We removed many items stored in back classrooms.

The story could go on, but I will wait for another time. Until then, we will be working off items on our "to do" list. Dave Mercer, for the Property Team

September 2018: Watch your step! Where is the sign? When does the tent season end?

You may have heard or even personally experienced an unanticipated consequence of the new carpet installation. Some folks have advised us that they have tripped or stumbled at two locations near the kitchen where the hallways merge with the Gathering Area. Since construction of these areas of our facility, there has been a minor elevation change at these points. We are not sure why this problem has arisen now, but it may be the consequence of the new carpet in the hallway being identical to the new carpet in the Gathering Area which makes any elevation change or transition more difficult to see or anticipate. We have placed some warning signs near these locations and have put "black and yellow" warning tape on the floor at the transition. We will continue to monitor the situation. Please make yourself of aware of these locations and be cautious as you pass through.

Brian Clement advised us of a delay in the schedule to complete the installation of the refurbished sign in front of our building. He now anticipates the sign will be installed the weekend of September 8th.

This is the time of year we start thinking about taking down and storing our tent for the season. Unless a need to keep it up after Sunday, September 9th is brought to our attention, the Property Team will plan on taking it down on Thursday, September 13th, weather permitting.

Faith Formation Team volunteers have been busy this past month painting the back two classrooms in the Education Wing. These efforts are much appreciated and greatly compliment the newly installed carpet in these rooms. We will be continuing to clear these rooms of materials stored there, but not needed in these rooms.

This summer we encountered a few plumbing issues which we have addressed and will continue to address. A faucet in one of the two kitchen sinks failed and was out of service for a few days until we found and installed a repair part. As it turned out, the internal parts are not particularly robust, and the new part also failed after a short period of usage. A second replacement part appears to be hanging in there. We have purchased a new replacement faucet which we will install when a good opportunity arises (a Thursday morning with rain). We also recently found some water in the cabinet under this same location. It appears that this issue is unrelated to the faucet problem, and is likely due to a failed seal where one of the sinks joins the counter top. We have applied some temporary calking material at this location, but the sink needs to be lifted and the entire seal around the sink replaced. This should not be a major, expensive project, but it takes time. We have also recently found a problem with the toilet in the mens room in the Education Wing. The metal ring holding the toilet to the floor had corroded away rendering the hold down bolts ineffective. This is an unusual and difficult installation because of its attachment at a concrete floor. We have completed a repair and the toilet is properly sealed at the floor. An energetic user may still sense some movement of the unit, but it is still sealed. Be gentle, guys! Given that we have other similar installations of similar age in the building, the Property Team is waiting for the next shoe to drop! Oh, joy!

Dave Mercer, Property Team Leader

July 2018: Inspections, Exterminators, and Permits

Posted by Mark Donahue on Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 2:18 PM

The Property Team has been busy with the normal outside tasks of mowing, trimming, garden care and such, as well as our normal inside routine of cleaning and minor repairs. Since my last report, the contractor for our basement sump pump system and dehumidifier system has been in to inspect and service this equipment. This equipment is working well with no problems noted. Also, I called our exterminator in to apply chemicals for carpenter ant control in selected areas of the Sanctuary after hearing some reports that these potentially problematic visitors had been seen. Please let me or the office know if you see any problems with insects, rodents, etc.

By the time this report is published, work to seal the parking lot and driveways should be in progress. The work has begun on Tuesday and we’re on schedule to complete on time by Friday, concluding with painting of the parking lines. Also, the carpet replacement work in the Gathering Area, Sacristy, first floor hallways, and two first floor classrooms is scheduled to begin on August 7 and be completed in about a week. I have also been working with the Newington Fire Department to obtain a renewal of our permit for the tent. The permit expired on July 1. I anticipate the permit will have been renewed prior to the next planned use for Vacation Bible School. David Mercer, Property Team Leader