Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

First Working Day

The first day is always a bit slower than the others, though we were supposed to be ready to go at 7:30 am, and folks were up at 5:15 in the morning in order to get breakfast ready. I finally found the earplugs for those that needed them to sleep, but only the morning after.

The organization this year was much better than last year, and is just enough more relaxed for our group, since we have a lot of pretty experienced folks. Several folks here said that the organizers just talked too much, both at the Mission and then also at the house. The cool thing was that the house was just a mile and a half from here.

We didn't get to do a blitz build, i.e. it wasn't just all of us on one house, but the two houses we had had pretty big jobs. One was a house that had to have tile put in all across the house, the delicate part was that the man had six greyhounds and had been kind of set against how things were being done. So we sent the professional tilers and two couples of folks with ladies that were very diplomatic.

All the rest of our group, about 15 people went to the second project.

It was a small house, with a single elderly man who had been flooded out when Katrina happened and has been homeless since. In 2007 the house was gutted to get rid of all the destroyed flooring and drywall, but there weren't any funds to rebuild. He's mostly been couch surfing with friends for the last five years, and got taken for thousands of dollars by contractors that promised certain amounts of work and never did anything. A lot of the house had already been gutted, and the organization and the man himself fought really hard to keep the house from being just razed to the ground.

In the middle of the morning some folks went and did some painting work to finish a house that they'd done last week, as the previous folks hadn't been as careful as they should have been. Those folks returned by mid-afternoon as well.

The house was mostly gutted, but there had been plywood put on the doors and windows, which made it really dark. So the first order of business was to just remove all the plywood to get some light and air into the house. The plan was to take it apart enough to get the framing good and solid so that they could raise the house five feet. We ended up taking off all of the bouncy, rotted, horrible floor there was. The ceilings were all taken down, and then the roof was so rotted in spots we took all the shingles off, found another layer of shingles that had to be taken off, and then the roofing slats underneath were rotted through along with the beams that were supporting them.

So we ripped up the roof, took apart all the things that needed to be taken apart, and then with all the demolition, we had to get rid of it all as well, and between a bunch of us, we nearly filled a whole dumpster with deconstruction debris.

By the time we were done today, we had basically gotten rid of everything that was in the way of our doing the actual construction. Tomorrow we should be able to build in all the floors, the walls, and the things that need to be put in to make the house floorplan livable. The roof was completely cleaned off, the rot cut out and ripped off, and filled back in with solid wood. Tomorrow we should be able to put new sheeting on and all the new shingles should go in with crews that can just do that.

I'm pretty sore from all the work I did on the roof, and the hauling of debris from today. *laughs*

Blowfly Inn
Dinner tonight was at The Blowfly Inn. We were able to stand and watch the river for a while before having a wonderful dinner that accommodated everyone really well, and plenty of beer for those that wanted it. John got the seafood lasagna which was creamy and wonderful. I got a piece of lovely fish covered in crawfish etouffe on rice with plenty of vegetables. I didn't manage to eat everything. *laughs* But I did buy a piece of lemon cake with blueberries in it, and it was filled with a mascarpone cream that was just to die for. It was really lovely, but I knew that I couldn't eat it all when I got back to the dorms.

I ate about half of it and shared out bits, and then put the rest into the walk-in fridge. Breakfast, I hope.

Things went really well, I think. We got a lot of work done today and there's a lot more to do. There was a man there that has a crew coming from Indiana in a few days that really, really wants to do the drywall for the house that we're framing this week. It'll be cool to know a little about whom we're handing it off to.

It's a different job than the one we thought we were going to do, but I think it'll be at least as rewarding.
Tags: katrina, travel

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