Monday, January 14, 2008
Day Seven: January 2008
Day Seven: Monday, January 14
We got a little extra sleep today, but still found ourselves slowing down a bit after our day of 150% performance on Sunday. Maybe it was the 35 degree temperature to which we awoke; maybe it was the fact that we are just plain tired. Maybe we are tired because one member of our group has started some very high-volume cartoon snoring (like the loudest, log-sawing spoof version of snoring you’ve ever heard). Another group member seems to be responding sympathetically to this snorer by matching his rhythm (but happily, not his volume). In short, things have gotten pretty loud in the bus.
In any case, we had another full day at Rosie’s, where we finished hanging sheetrock on one whole side of the double. Everyone on the inside of the house did every job available, including measuring, marking, scoring, cutting, and hanging the drywall. On the other side, we almost finished the ceilings and we covered some of the walls. There’s still a lot of work to do there, but it is possible that we will be able to finish it tomorrow.
We got more evidence today that Jack Verrips is the most impressive worker we have ever seen. Yesterday one of our teams spent most of the morning struggling with the complexities of a very tight closet that houses the heating unit. Jack, on the other hand, covered the parallel closet in the other unit in about 30 minutes. Sure it was demoralizing on one level, but it was so awesome to see that we didn’t let it get us down. We’re glad Jack is here to show us the standard to which we aspire.
Erik showed some excellence too, as he went through and finished all the insulation in the center wall between the two units. Now no one has to deal with little fiberglass bits all over them for at least a little while. In general, lots of people have developed some pretty advanced skills. Most of us actually look like real pros while working, especially because we all have flat pencils behind our ears and tape measures hanging out of our back pockets. Some real standouts on the drywalling have been Samantha, Briana, Bryan, Aaron, Emily, Serg, and Matt W. Another team that dealt with some of the trickiest spaces was Matt P., Obi, Mark, and Scott; they sounded like a comedy team as they tried to conceptualize why there is a difference between the way a piece of sheetrock looks when it is lying on the floor and the way it looks when it is hanging from the ceiling.
Out in the backyard we conquered the stump once and for all. Serg, Linzy, Brad, Jed, Tommy, Nicole, Justin, and many others hacked at it for hours to reduce it down to near ground level. And then we rented a stump grinder. A stump grinder is like a huge oversized circular saw with enormous teeth that take off layers of the stump by scraping it across the top. We took this huge chunk of tree that had been occupying the center of the yard ever since the tree toppled (and even when it stood) and reduced it to a pile of sawdust in no time at all.
The rest of the yard crew spent the morning digging dozens of bricks out of the dirt so we could till the entire space and make it level. We also dug for buried treasure, which we still expect to find because we know that Rosie and her mother buried it about thirty-five years ago. We spent much of the afternoon running alternative scenarios for how to lay out the landscaping across the three backyards. Rosie was right in the center of it all and we discussed and drew option after option for how to arrange things. One of them even involved a fleur-de-lis-shaped patio. When we realized that whatever we did had to be done with no budget whatsoever, we decided to make use of those muddy old bricks and every other piece of usable debris that we could find. The plan now involves the use of bricks, blocks, extra roof tiles, rusty metal poles, and lots of seeds to bring beauty back to the space. We think it will be an entirely different place when we are done. Rosie is pretty excited and so is Nicole, who has taken on the role of the prime designer of the yard. We hope that our grand plans aren’t thwarted by the expected rains later in the week.
Tomorrow we will split our group. Some of us will return to the Habitat site where we’ve been working and some of us will go to Rosie’s to finish the drywall. It’s better when we are all together, but we will make things work until we all return to Rosie’s at the end of the Habitat day.
Today was a nine and a half hour day. That means we did 280 hours of work, to take our running total to 1735 hours of manual labor so far. Whew!
Chris shows the boys how it’s done as he grinds down the trunk of a 60 year old pecan tree in the middle of Rosie’s backyard. The stump is stubborn but so are we.
The sun shines in on Matt as he carries the drywall and ladder from the front of Rosie’s house to the back room.
Nicole lays down the bricks for the patio in Rosie’s backyard.
Shawny grabs hold of the stump grinder from Chris and shows the boys how it is really done.
Tommy measures the small space in the closet in order to lay down the drywall.
Everyone joined outside to watch the stump grinder do in an hour what we were able to do in a few days.
Shawny taking control of the stump grinder.
This group gets to work putting sheet rock on the ceiling of the second house.
Rosie looks over her soon-to-be new garden.
Putting up sheet rock isn’t easy, but here everyone works hard to get it up.
Day two of the stump and almost gone…
Emily finishes putting the insulation in one of Rosie’s houses
At the end of another looonngg day, what’s better than a hug? Matty and Shawny celebrate as we clean up.
Soulja Serg raising some dry wall up to the ceiling.
The longest yard… Julie and Jed measure out one of the many pieces that will make the ceiling of Rose’s houses.
Our meal of quinoa. It’s a healthy grain that everyone actually happened to enjoy!
Everyone is putting up installation and drywall.
Yummy Lunch at Rosies prepared by the SOULJAS!!
After the other part of the group removed the massive tree stump and continued to landscape the backyard of Rosie’s rental property, the sun begins to set on the pee pee tipi :) .
Posted by SMC New Orleans Relief at 9:04 PM