Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day Twelve: January 2008

Day Twelve: Saturday, January 19

Special Note: If you didn’t see the “Puppy Love” video below, check it out at the bottom of Day Eleven. (Sorry about the bad sound; we’ll try to fix it. All of you oldtimers will crack up.)

As for today, we started the day with rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. A big storm came through and made our bus shake and rock while lightning flashed and rain poured down. The boys who sleep in the bins got wet, as they leave the bin doors cocked open a bit to help them get fresh air. The rain found its way right into that opening and dripped onto their pillows or their feet, depending on which way they sleep. For those who don’t understand this part, there are six guys who share three under-bus storage bins as their sleeping quarters. Sometimes they have the best beds in the house; sometimes they’re the worst.

Our Habitat gig was canceled because of the rain, so we all piled into Rosie’s house to see what we could do. The first house that we started working on (4009) was the farthest one along. Yesterday we textured it, meaning we (that is, Justin) sprayed bits of drywall joint compound all over it to help cover whatever flaws might have been visible in our taping and mudding of the drywall sheets. From there, others go through with flat “knives” (like wide putty knives) and knock off the bits that stick out so that the texture (supposedly) resembles an orange peel. All the while, Julie and Katie moved from room to room offering to do whatever odd jobs needed to be done.

Because that whole process was complete in 4009, we made the unusual move of installing the trim around the windows and doors and the baseboards. Many of us were involved in this process, measuring, cutting, and installing them with great skill. Lindsay S., Kate, and Brad took the lead on this important set of jobs. Scott and Mark and our visitor Erik Robert installed closets and shelving, while Alec, Chris, Jed, Tommy, and a few others learned the ins and outs of hanging doors (pun intended). The door-hangers struggled mightily, as they learned that the doors that had been purchased did not match the size of the holes that had been left for them. Jack was very impressed over how quickly they learned what needed to be done and adapted the doors and/or spaces to make things work.

Another group finished the feathering of the drywall in 4011 then took on the slow (and MESSY!) job of texturing. Lindsay R. was the primary mud mixer (a tough job, as the boxes of powder weigh 48 pounds each). Matt P. was the mud delivery guy and assistant sprayer, and he got covered with almost as much of the joint compound as the walls did. Linzy, Aaron, Erik, Briana, Josh, and Shawny all joined in to knock off the drying texture, so they all had big white chunks all over themselves as well. That work group completed its job right as darkness fell, meaning that on Sunday that unit will be ready for the treatment that 4009 got today.

Another crew, headed up by our visitor Dave Blanchard, meticulously sanded parts of the porch shared by 4009 and 4011. They struggled with sanding blocks, handheld paper, scrapers, and a belt sander to try to make a difference in the crackled paint. (Mark had a strange strategy for contributing to this job, as he held the electric belt sander over his head and scraped away at the chipping paint, even though he had no extension cord and therefore his electric sander was not plugged in.) After a couple of hours of work, they had one stretch of the porch scraped, but there is still a long way to go. Once finished, though, the porch will definitely look fabulous.

The other big crazy job that a few folks undertook was the leveling of the backyard. When we returned after the rains had fallen, we realized that our stump hole was a new low spot in the yard, along with the holes we left when we dug for Rosie’s buried (and still undiscovered) treasure. Our friend Jean Fahr from Parkway Partners came by to give us some ideas about how to deal with Rosie’s yards and even offered to help us acquire some trees and plants. She encouraged the yard team to move dirt from the front yard to the backyard to help even out the space. Because we didn’t have wheelbarrows at first, the team on the yard (Emily, Bryan, Sergio, Sam, Amanda, Matt W., and Elijah) carried the dirt from the front yard to the back in five gallon buckets. Matt and Elijah were the main dirt mules and they were covered from head to toe in muck. If we have a clear day tomorrow, though, we should get pretty far in laying out Rosie’s new lawn and gardens.

It’s been interesting for us to endure the storms this year and the cold that fell over us tonight. We are very focused on providing shelter and the comforts of home. We think about these issues constantly, especially as we live in our relatively primitive conditions in camp. We have begun to notice the obvious things like how wonderful it is to use a flushing toilet or to have running water in your kitchen, but we have also become aware of smaller issues, like how different it is to wash your hands under a warm faucet than in a cold garden hose. We’re learning a lot about what we love, what we want, and what we need. When we head home and pass the enormous homeless encampment mostly made up of people who were evicted from FEMA trailers, all of these issues flood our minds and we wonder what to do. For now, we intend to just keep working. . .

Hours today = 284. Running total = 3145

Dave and Nicole sanding the deck in the freezing cold but still are having a good time.

Julie helping sand the pillars on the porch.

Kate doing a fine job at caulking.

Matt covered in mud from texturing the house.

Bryan, Emily, Serg and Elijah digging the front yard after the down poor of rain.

Emily washes a trowel to prepare for mudding the last of the drywall. We were able to finish texturing the walls in the second part of the house.

Bryan, Erik, and Lindsay put finishing touches on the wall before texturing. All of us had to work in the cramped quarters of Rosie’s due to the rain, so everyone had to get nice and cozy.

“Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen.” The dumpster outside of Rosie’s gave an inspirational message while we worked.

A shot of North Claiborne, the street we work on each and every day at Rosie’s.

Mark and Dave sanded off the old paint and wood on the porch that went through the hurricane.

Lindsay, finishing off an amazingly done job of mudding and taping, before we were able to texture.

The “Buddy Pro,” what we use to heat the rooms and dry the sheet rock.

Dave finishing off sanding old paint so we can apply new paint.

A five minute break is hard to come by, but we managed to find some time for ourselves. Everyone took a break for some much needed caffeine, which was provided by Shane Keane.

Alec and Jed work hard on the water heater door. They had to make some masterful cuts in order to customize this and perfectly fit it.

Bryan, Erik, and Lindsay smoothing over the walls with plaster

Dave and Mark sanding on the porch of Rosie’s house

Matt Pelascini texturing the walls

Emily, Bryan, and Serg dig out the mound in front of the duplex and move the dirt to fill in a pond that formed overnight in the backyard.

Serg mudding the ceiling of Rosie’s house