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Cadeau: A scavenger hunt out of the comfort zone

Teri Cadeau

I'm not exactly known for my woodworking skills. It's probably been 10 years since I made a birdhouse. But two weeks ago, my father and I dusted off the tools sitting in his garage to work together to make a high-rise for birds.

It was one of many strange things I did between July 28 and Aug. 4, all in the name of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt. GISH is a week-long massive photo and video scavenger hunt created by Misha Collins, an actor best known for his role in the CW show "Supernatural."

The scavenger hunt list is impossible to ever fully complete; this year it reached an astounding 205 items long. Part of the fun is to try to complete as many items as you can with your team of 15 participants.

This year, my team, Team Banana Nut Muffin, completed around 70 items, though I personally only completed seven. But the goal of GISH, to me, isn't just to complete items, but to get out of your comfort zone and have fun with friends and family.

The birdhouse was the first item I decided to tackle. The item called for "more housing options for modern-day, urban birds" and gave the participant the option of making a bird McMansion, bird trailer park or bird high-rise. I was up visiting my parents for the weekend when the list was released online and I knew my Dad was pretty good with power tools.

We spent a good half-hour discussing the best course of action and settled on the high-rise. It took a couple of hours, two trips to Menards for supplies, 36 screws, two coats of paint and just a dab of Gorilla Glue.

"That bugger's darn near hurricane-proof now," Dad said.

Now, that's modern urban bird planning.

The next few items were done with the aid of my friend Reba and her husband. GISH really gets you out of your comfort zone — I never thought I'd text Reba asking her to help me re-enact a bird mating ritual. But that's exactly what I did.

We picked a fairly innocuous ritual done by flamingos. When looking for mates, male flamingos will gather in large groups to move about together by the water's edge, taking tiny steps and shifting their raised heads back and forth. We imitated this dance by dressing completely in pink, finding a quiet spot along the St. Louis River and doing our dance. Reba's husband provided commentary, doing his best impression of David Attenborough, the narrator of the BBC's "Planet Earth."

Afterward, it was time for Reba's husband, Chris, to take center stage in a silent lip sync video. The video had to be filmed in a library and that we couldn't make any sounds. We picked Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" to imitate. Chris took on Rick Astley's part, lip syncing with emotion, while Reba and I took turns filming and dancing in the background. Sadly, the final product could only be 14 seconds long, because we took a lot of extra footage that couldn't fit in.

We got some strange looks from one or two library patrons, but no one seemed disrupted by our shenanigans.

There were a few other items that took on on my own, but it was the items that I worked on with my friends and family that stand out in my mind. By the end of the week, I was pretty tuckered out, but glad I got the chance to scavenge with my favorite people.

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