Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day Ten: January 2008

Day Ten: Thursday, January 17

Another chilly morning started with banana pancakes and powdered eggs. Skies were grey but no rain fell, so that counted as a solid return to our Habitat worksite. A few of us split off and continued work at Rosie’s as well.

At Habitat, one group (Brad, Lindsay, Obi, Amanda, and sometimes Jed) started making boardwalks for the worksite, to help all of us navigate the mud puddles that pervade the space without sinking in. The muddy pathways are particularly annoying when someone is carrying lumber or heavy loads of nails. In fact, we have learned very quickly that much of the work at a construction site involves moving things around and organizing them. We spent one morning this week digging piles of lumber out after they had sunk in the mud. In a wet and humid climate like New Orleans, this shifting happens all the time, so every once in awhile, everything just needs to be moved.

Another group installed hurricane brackets that pin down roof trusses from the inside. As a member of this group, Nicole suffered a painful (but not catastrophic) injury when she hit her finger with a hammer badly enough to make it gush blood. She was obviously in a lot of pain at that first moment, but she managed to shake it off and continue working pretty quickly after Aaron helped to clean and wrap it. We are sorry that Nicole got hurt today, but it helped us to appreciate how few injuries we have experienced on this trip.

Another group continued to struggle with the trusses on the double hip roof. Frankly, that group is about to lose its collective mind. Each truss needs to be raised in a way that meets four criteria: 1) the pieces should line up properly and be flush with the parts of the house on which they rest, 2) the truss should have a ten and a half inch overhang at the point, 3) the angles should be square, and 4) the truss should be level vertically. Because of issues that preceded our arrival, almost no truss that we raised could meet all of those criteria. We overlapped with one college group (that shall remain unnamed) who might have contributed to some of the goofiness of the structure. Thus, whenever the truss rests on the beams looking crooked, we can all grumble in unison and blame it on _______ College. That helps.

Another group got the triumphant job of laying tarpaper on the roof that was completed last week. Matt W., Sam, Lindsay S., Matt P., Mark, and Aaron all contributed to the completion of that job. Many of those people have spent their entire Habitat worktime on some roof somewhere and at least one of them admits that he is getting a bit sick of heights. They might not be thrilled to know that we will be installing decking on that maddening double hip roof tomorrow.

Oh, yes, and we saw the puppies again today! Lots of notes are asking about them and we are happy to report that they are getting stronger and stronger. Their eyes are still not open, but it seems that things are progressing just fine. Someone will probably post a photo of the pups below. (Teams pick their photos and write captions as we are coming home each day, so their tastes at that moment determine which photos get posted. Elijah gathers them all up then posts them late at night, assuming that all of our systems work as they should.)

One person from each team went to Rosie’s today to help back up Jack as we prepped the first house for texturing tomorrow. The whole group joined that early team after the Habitat day ended, and we actually finished hanging the sheetrock for the second house by the time we left. The incentive for getting it done was a trip to the French Quarter tonight. Even though we were tired and had to come in early, it was fun to take the ferry for the first time this trip and then wander the streets that most tourists associate with New Orleans.

We ate at Bubba Gump’s then had about an hour to check out the Quarter. Some hit the souvenir shops, some went to CafĂ© du Monde for fresh beignets, some hit Bourbon Street, and some went straight back to camp after dinner to get some sleep. No matter what anyone chose, we all knew that we had to hit the worksite again at 7:30 a.m. We should be ready after a night of blowing off steam. We hear it might rain again tomorrow, so we’re not sure how that will affect our plans. We’ll be ready, no matter what. . .

Oh yeah! By adding Josh and Jack in to the mix, we now have 330 hours to add to our grand total, which is now 2537!

Matt Wheeler had a great day today – he followed through with all of his jobs, setting a great example for all! A+ Matt!!!!

For the second half of the day we all met at Rosie’s to continue work on dry walling and taping. By the end of the day we had completed all of the dry walls and nearly all of the taping!

Nicole Sweeney began her morning nailing in the hurricane braces to the trusses. These braces are so strong that they can stand up to 150 mph winds!

Mark, Matt Wheeler, Aaron, and Sam laid out tar paper on the roof this morning. This is one of the first steps for roofing. By the end of the day they

Brad, Matt Wheeler, and Jed helped move the trusses that were delivered today for one of the houses. The trusses for Habitat homes are built elsewhere and delivered to the worksite by truck.

Alec is taking a break from the severe sheet rocking of 4009 and 4011 to moisturize his dry eyes.

Eric saws to precision as he cuts a 2 x 4 for one of the houses.

Jed is working hard by tucking in the creases of the mudding in the corners of the walls as we work to finish the walls in Rosie’s house.

Lindsay and Shawny work diligently on trying to finish to trusses on this house.

Tommy, Z, and Jared lift one of the many trusses as the roofing of the next house comes into focus.