Friday, January 11, 2008

Day Four: January 2008

Day Four: Friday, January 11

[Special Note: We are still struggling with our photos. Sorry they are a bit out of place. We're trying hard, but the posting of these things tends to happen at about midnight or so, when we are desperately in need of sleep. We'll keep trying.]

Well, our punctuality plan failed, so tomorrow we have to wake the breakfast crew at 5:45 and the rest at 6:00. Apparently that’s what it takes to make it to work by 7:30. Oh well. No matter what the time, we were thrilled to wake up to clear skies. Even though it was a very cold 45 degrees, the absence of rain automatically made it a great day.

We had GREAT jobs at Habitat today, with lots of sledgehammer-swinging, lots of daring roofwork, beautiful precision siding, and even a few games thrown in on the side. We learned that we are pretty quick learners, even if we are terrible at fractions. (Here’s one team taking measurements: “It’s 4 and a half inches and three lines.” This measurement might also be stated as 4 and 11/16 inches, but what’s the difference if the board comes out the right size?)

We also learned that a lot of the members of our group are entirely fearless. They walked confidently on the edge of the roof installing decking or laying shingles, and some had so much fun up there that they created their own target game on a foundation and floor next door. They placed some targets on the subfloor and gave each other points if they could hit the target with their shingle scraps from the roof. By some miracle, Mark hit the orange that was there three times in a row, making him a legend on that rooftop and throughout our group.

Almost everyone took a turn on one of the rooftops, including Sam, who is at least a little bit intimidated by heights, if not outright scared of them. Emily, Alec, Julie, Mark, and Shane stayed on one roof shingling practically all day long, while Sam, Aaron, Matt W., Bryan, and Amanda diligently laid decking on the roof next door. They claimed that visions of sliding down the slope involuntarily just never entered their heads, but for those who are afraid of heights, that image was all that was on their minds.

One team stayed away from Habitat today and instead went and finished up the last work on the gutting job at Leroy Palmer’s house. Matt P., Nicole, Serg, Scott, and Linzy knocked out that last parts of the bathroom and the linoleum floor, and cleared the final debris from the little house we demolished there yesterday. From there they went to Rosie’s to clean up the house in preparation for the installation of sheetrock. First, they had to unload 100 sheets of 4’x12’ drywall, a job that is especially challenging because the sheets will break if they bend too far.

By the time the rest of the group joined them, it was getting too close to dark to start the sheetrock job, so we decided to make quick work of Rosie’s thoroughly messed-up back yard instead. There were posts and links from a number of different iterations of fencing back there, along with lots of leftover debris from the storms. Rosie told us not worry about the huge pecan tree stump that was there because it would be “impossible” for us to remove it. Of course, hearing that the job is impossible means that we are determined to complete it. We’ll let you know.

We came home to find that Shane had bought us actual fresh broccoli and salad greens. Jed, Kate, Julie, Briana, and Tommy added some rice-a-roni to our fresh foods to make an almost-normal dinner. After dinner we had our group meeting, where we gave out our “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” Awards. Last night’s winners were Matt P. for all of his labor in prepping gear for the trip, Scott for his work in bringing down Leroy’s little backyard house with his bare hands, Briana for taking some bold steps in our group and on the jobsite, and Emily for being a daring beamwalker during insulation installation. Tonight’s awards went to Katie L. for her cheery attitude despite her lack of sleep, Mark for his target prowess from the roof, and Nicole for overcoming some deep fears. Lots more awards could have been doled out, but we need to save a few for the weeks to come.

The night ended with a great treat: individual letters to each of us from the students in the sixth grade class at Happy Hollow Elementary School in West Lafayette, Indiana. Whether they were fully decorated with elaborate drawings or just notes of encouragement, they brought great warmth, joy, and laughter into our lives. We’ll sign off in the same way that one of them did. . .

Until the cows come home,


This is our action shot of the day – while an assembly line moves sheet rock into Rosie’s duplex, others take the time to get to know Rosie.

As we wrapped up the last of our projects for the day Lindsay Ryberg kept the girls thoroughly entertained!

Not only do we have each others back but we also have our feet… Matt Wheeler and Aaron Arnold helped each other out after a long day of work.

Brian, Matt Wheeler and Aaron Aarnold kept on working even after dark as they helped clear out debris from the back of Rosie’s duplex.

The Souljas got a special ride home, this is the view from the ferry.

Emily, Mark, Julie spent the day with four others nailing shingles on the roof of a Habitat house.

Lindsay, Kate, Bree, and Leo learned how to cut and hang siding on the same house while others were roofing.

After our day at Habitat we all went over to Rosie’s to finally meet her. Her close family friend, and ours, Lisa Trigo, was there to welcome us to New Orleans.

We ended the day at Rosie’s cleaning up the backyard. We did not have much time before sunset, but we accomplished a lot before we had to leave.

Matt, Aaron, and Bryan worked hard in the backyard pulling out an old rusted pole.

Jed, the stud that he is, takes a break from nailing down the flooring and builds the stairs for the stoop of the home.

Julie, Emily, Mark, and Shane work in sync on a roof at a house on the West Bank.

Obi works in the warm New Orleans sunshine after days of rain on the work site.

Alec, Julie, Erik, and Mark team up on the roof as Kate and our Habitat friend, Stephanie, install siding on a house.

“Goddess” Shawny puts her muscles to the test as she nails the final shingles into the roof of a Habitat home.

Along with the BLOKEs, Anne stops by to help with her own floor. She’s so enthusiastic and is almost done with her 350 sweat equity hours.

Lindsay shows off the incredible work of the day. We’re almost done with the floors.

These are the essential tools used to do flooring. There is a tool for every job!

In addition to installing the floor, Justin takes the lead in building a staircase which will lead up to Anne’s front door.

A bunch of studs are up there finishing decking and attaching shingles to the roof.