Friday, January 18, 2008

Day Eleven: January 2008

Day Eleven: Friday, January 18

We have visitors today! Shawny’s sister Sherry is here from Indiana, and Dave Blanchard and Erik Robert are here from SMC. They are all taking advantage of the Martin Luther King Holiday to spend time working with us in New Orleans. Lucky us!

Because we had a late night in the French Quarter last night (everyone was in by 11, but not necessarily asleep), we decided to eat granola for breakfast (no prep time!) and take Ramen noodles for lunch, using our electric tea kettles to cook them. Thus, we slept in for an extra half hour and hustled madly to get to work at Habitat.

First, though, we had to face the fact that we were out of propane both in our showers and in our kitchen. It’s a good thing that we had already decided to have an easy breakfast, as we were completely unable to cook until someone made a propane run. That person turned out to be Shane, who ran into a whole series of difficulties that took practically all day to solve. He was nice enough, though, to run the tanks back to camp and hook them up so that we had lovely hot showers as soon as we arrived home at the end of the day.

Back to the subject of our Habitat day: most of us had jobs that we had already started, so we got back to those tasks. Something just clicked in and everyone had a pretty satisfying day. One big group went crazy on the roof, installing shingles and other edge pieces that meant they were dangling twenty feet off the ground fearlessly. Scott in particular picked jobs that had him hanging with only about 25% of his body on the roof and the rest just hanging over the sandy ground. He wasn’t at all worried and even believed that if he happened to fall, he would be able to roll out of trouble in the sand. Insane. Sam managed to conquer her fear of the roof from the other day and just shingled away all day; she says she actually loved every second of it. Amanda and Lindsay S. also remained unshaken by their time up there, as did a whole series of other people who made quick work of that assignment.

Several people joined forces to take on the next phases of the double hip roof, which continues to be one of the most complicated jobs we’ve ever done. Though it is confusing and frustrating, none of us seemed to mind today; that crew felt like it got a lot done, even though they realized at the end of the day that some of their work would have to be taken apart. Oh well.

Nine of us skipped Habitat altogether today, instead focusing on more progress at Rosie’s house. Jack was the king of the world as usual, outworking our entire group put together. By the end of the day, the first house (#4009) was fully drywalled, taped, mudded, feathered, sanded, and textured. Justin, too, was covered with every substance involved in this whole process, and when the big group arrived he looked like he had been through some tribal mud ritual that none of us quite understood. Even though he looked kind of crazy with splatters of drywall compound speckled all over him, it’s probably true that most of us wished we were just as dirty.

In the second house (#4011) the crew got pretty far on mudding and taping, so that we should be able to finish those jobs on Saturday and prep for texturing on Sunday. We measured for kitchen cabinets in 4009 and brought home floor samples so that Rosie can decide what kind of floor she wants us to install. She has a very low budget for these improvements, so we have to be very judicious in picking out materials that won’t cost much, but that will last. It’s great at these moments to have Jack with us to help us understand the options. He leaves Sunday and we will be greatly diminished when he goes.

We left Rosie’s house exhausted by our day, but as usual we got a second wind as the BLOKEs cooked dinner. These times just hanging around in our tent, listening to music, talking, playing cards, and waiting until it’s time to go to sleep are really precious to us. It’s like we have a very happy low-key party every night. Wow. Who knew that a fenced vacant lot could make us so happy?

Today's total hours were 324, which, when added to our previous total of 2537, gets us to 2861.

Kate, Nicole, and Lindsay Swoboda start to nail shingles

Katers conquered her fear of heights and spent the day on the roof at Habitat

Scott and Lindsay risk their lives to nail on the drip lines on the edge of the roof.

Nap time for Alec after a long days work mudding

A shot from the habitat house roof made possible the combined efforts of the efforts of the Nola ‘08 group.

alec has spent a lot of quality time and effort into the drywall in Rosie’s house.

Bryan helping Scott get a 65 pound bag of shingles, up a ladder and on s too the roof.

We used a special heater to help the mud dry faster so we could get as much work done as possible.

Erik, Julie, Scott, and Bryan nailing in shingles on the roof

Evidence of a day of hard work.