Friday, January 25, 2008

Day Eighteen: January 2008

Day Eighteen: Friday, January 25

Our Friday morning wakeup included news that it wasn’t raining. We actually kind of hoped that it would rain so that we could head to Rosie’s instead of going to Habitat this morning. Instead, we split the difference. Those who had crucial jobs to continue at Rosie’s went there, and those who could spare some time for Habitat joined in on the events there today.

The Habitat folks started with some big jobs, including laying decking (the flat part of the roof) on one house and finishing shingling on another. We all enjoyed the heights, the challenges, the power tools, and everything about those jobs. The wind was picking up, though, making our huge sheets of plywood function like sails sometimes. No one took flight. Just as we broke for lunch, though, it began to rain and the temperature dropped dramatically. We went inside one of one of the more-advanced houses and waited for today’s special lunch to arrive: pizza! We also enjoyed brownies that were cooked for us by our Habitat staff friend Katie.

After lunch we had to abandon all of our roof jobs (reluctantly) and take on some other tasks that didn’t involve sliding around on top of houses. Several of us took on siding the highest parts of the houses and others installed hurricane straps on the house with the double hip roof. Hurricane straps are flat bars of 12-gauge steel that are nailed into a stud and then bent over the cap plate (the highest 2x4 in the main house structure) to help hold the parts of the house together in high winds. Each of them takes 14 nails, making their installation a very slow process. Elijah got to enjoy himself on the hurricane strap task, as he got a big kick out of bending the heavy steel plates with his bare hands.

Our house leader on that job (Jordan) bid us farewell today. We were a bit surprised because we still have one more day at Habitat; Jordan, however, is going out of town this weekend, so we won’t see him again before we leave. We’ve been through a lot of stages of this house with Jordan, so it is sad to see him go. It also reminds us that we, too, are about to leave town and that we are about to say goodbye to a number of our new (and old) NOLA friends. We were so struck by our impending separation from our Habitat friends that we invited them all over to dinner tonight at our place.

We headed over to Rosie’s after our Habitat day and found that the early shift had made huge progress on the jobs that we had left undone. Matt W. almost single-handedly moved the 15,000 pound sand pile to the backyard. Others managed to help him a bit, but he said that he really like the mindless monotony of shoveling and toting the sand. He’s a hero for the day.

Briana, Brad, Shane, and Justin teamed up on the front doors and installed the new glass panes as they also continued sanding. This door job – which was not on our original list of chores – has turned into one of our most time-consuming undertakings. It would have been incredibly expensive to replace the doors and the windows that surround them, but the amount of time that we have spent on the entire porch area is pretty enormous. We expect that whole area to be beautiful any day now.

Even more impressive was the work of today’s floor crews. The first crew consisted of Jed, Scott, Matt P., Mark, and Obi (with a lot of help from Chris and Justin) and the second crew consisted of Emily, Lindsay R., Sam, Alec, and Aaron. The first crew got things going during the early shift and managed to take the board-by-board vinyl plank flooring through the bathroom, back entryway, and two bedrooms. Because the process involves spreading a fierce glue over the floor, peeling the adhesive back off of the vinyl plank, then applying it to the glued floor, there is much room for error and even more room for making a total mess. Everyone on the floor was covered with glue, despite all of their attempts to control where the glue belonged.

We ended the day very, very dirty, but we really wanted to celebrate with our Habitat friends anyway. In the bus we decided to make tonight a big thanksgiving dinner, complete with stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, and turkey. We had all but the turkey, so the late shift workers stopped and got some on the way home. Our night was loud and fun. Colin from Habitat brought his trombone and proved that he is an excellent player. We played games in the tent and played music for each other. We stayed up later than we should, but we want to have fun too. We’ll definitely make our 5000 hours, as today we worked for 302 hours; now our running total is 4766.

Best friends, Sergio and Erik, sit on Rosie’s stoop after a long day of flooring.

Kate Julie and Lindsey laughed as they painted Habitat signs and made up songs about the indescribably cold weather.

Julie sketched the Habitat for Humanity symbols on all the signs.

Jed the stud rocks the power tools.

Bryan and Elijah keep the morale high as they paint Rosie’s walls and sing songs.

Lindsay and Eric laid out some plans while on top of another Habitat house early today. The wind was fierce but they powered through it! Our troopers!

We consider Shawny to be our agent – we go wherever she sends us! Amazingly enough, she is able to put in a solid day of work and coordinate what will occur in the days that follow all at the same time

This was the view that we woke up to this morning, it was freezing but we all looked forward to a good day at work!

Amanda, Shane, Chris, and Sam enjoyed some relaxing time back at camp after dinner. We were treated to a great dinner of Turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes - It was delicious and well deserved!

Elijah was hard at work today putting up the decking at one of our favorite Habit houses.