Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Half a Roof and a few Walls.

Today started with sleet, rain, and a good stiff wind. It made John so happy he was dancing on the way to the car to the work site. *laughs*

Not everyone else was quite as happy.

We decided not to do the roof in the rain and wind as the forecast said that the rain itself should be done by 11 am. I'm not sure how they could tell THAT closely, but then I'm not a weathercaster. But they were right.

While it rained the folks in the house continued rebuilding the floors, tearing out the rotted walls and replacing them as well. They did a lot of trying to even things out. The problems with not just razing the house was starting to raise its hydra head. It's not just what's sound or not sound, it's how what's left is built. It isn't going to be square, it isn't going to be plumb or level. The settling and "character" of an aged house means that all the precision that goes into a new house can't be there.

It's cheaper so far as the materials, in some sense, to just keep what's there and build on rotted, hidden problems. It's expensive when people dig in deeper to find all the problems and then have to spend the time and effort to fix them all. Things like a giant termite colony through a load-bearing beam means that the nest has to be destroyed, the beam taken out and the walls that depend on the beam have to go as well especially when they're rotred through or holed by the same nest.



So most of the interior walls, the ceiling, are all out or completely rebuilt and the new back wall is dead solid but it doesn't quite meet up exactly with the old ones. We'll probably fudge that rather than try and replace yet another wall when we know that the team coming in after us is unlikely to be able with the kind of spatial juggling and construction brainstorming we're doing to just make it all work.

The roof folks took all the near ceramic tile siding off the sides of the house, as most of it was really dirty, broken, and had to be replaced anyway as all the windows, walls, and doorways changed out. It couldn't be replaced with new siding as it isn't made any more, so we'll just redo the walls, windows, and then set in all the new siding as well; but to clear the way to do all that, we had to take the old stuff out. There was some concern by the experienced construction folks as the stuff probably had asbestos in it, but it was all cemented in. We still wore breathing protection, though it was just paper, not OSHA approved equipment. And the four of us ripped the siding down while it rained. I think it helped keep any dust down, as the rain pretty much washed it out of the air even as we were doing it.

I think we all started trying to be careful not to break them too much; but by the end we were just tired of doing it, and ripped it down as quickly as we could. The local garbage folks said that the stuff was just fine to just dump in their dump so into the dumpster it went. They didn't have the restrictions other places might have, and the kind of clean up demolition that they had to do after Katrina might have helped contribute to that.

We got it all down before the rain stopped. So I ran off to 'Tato-Nut to try and find some donuts and coffee, but they were *closed* on Wednesdays! Dangit... so we had to settle for Starbuck's.

When I got back, the rain had stopped, and even though the roof was still damp, we went up and started putting the shingles on the front half of the roof. The basic idea with the nearly yard-long asphalt shingles was to just layer them on the roof, with no gap between sheets on top of another gap. On the most part, we tried to get the gaps right in the middle of the sheet below, so some fitting and cutting and planning had to be done to get it to work out.

There was one person laying the shingles, another nail gunning the roofing nails (large flat heads over a short body) into the shingle, and then the layer sometimes had to go back with a hammer if the air gun didn’t quite get it in. Another person cut the end pieces, while someone measured them and ran them back and forth. I did most of the measuring and cutting until I got someone to help me do that. There was another person that pretty much just kept bringing shingles from the ground onto the roof. That was pretty hard work. There wasn't anything to just lift them up, nor was there a good pulley system to bring them up.

The grit from the shingles also turned the roof a little treacherous, so I had to go a little slower than usual, especially right at the edge where I had to measure the sheets against the edge and mark them to cut them.

I also hated going over the crown, something about the sudden change in pitch just drove all my balance senses crazy. So when I got someone to help me, I had them measure the edge and do the traveling over the crown when it had to be done, but I tried to make it so that they didn't have to, either.

John and John
We got a good deal of the front roof started by lunch time, and just pushed on it for the afternoon and got all of it done up to where the shingles were piled on the crown of the roof by 3:30. We sat for a while on the back roof and felt he whole thing shake and roll when the interior crew worked on putting on the walls. Half the wall was still missing, but the internal bearing wall was getting replaced as they'd found it rotted through. So rather than work on that roof not knowing if it would bear all our weights, we came down, one by one, and started helping deal with the interior as best we could. Some of it was just knocking in all the nails that had been holding the siding on.

Tearing things apart, like the siding is kind of depressing and is harder work and most cleanup than building things. I really like putting the new roof on, it's precise, clean, and comes out brand-new and really solid. It's beautiful to create things. But that siding was really ugly, dirty, and depressing to watch just shatter all over the ground when it accidentally hit. And cleaning it all up made me resent the solidity of the stuff even more. Wheelbarrows of the stuff had to be tipped in.

It's funny as I can handle a wheelbarrow of stuff the other ladies just can't. I'm 5'10" and I have more upper body strength than most women. I'm not exactly sure why, unless typing is some kind of upper body work out (which it may well be given how much overuse problems I've had), but I just seem to have the muscle mass to be able to do about as much as an average guy. I'll ask for help when I need it, or when there's something I just don’t have the strength to do. So I'm not stupid about it, but more than one lady has commented, directly to me, that I'm a really strong woman.

That's been kind of cool, but I suspect that I overdo it a little on these trips. *laughs* As I'm end up each day really really sore. My right knee was bothering me enough that at 3:30 between the roof and siding job, I jumped at the opportunity to go back to the dorm to give Jennifer the car for a quick trip to the grocery store.

Then we helped with the deconstruction and rebuilding of the interior walls. The bearing wall was done, and when they took down the supports the house settled, visibly, onto it's new frame. It's going to settle some more, and tomorrow we should be ready for the house raisers. *laughs* That's going to make the roof even more interesting by the time the interior settles enough for us to do it. We've ripped so much out that we're really going to have to get our butts moving to get this back in good enough shape for an interior team to actually make a difference.

Most of what I was doing was taking all the 2x4s that they tore out of the relatively newer wall and pulling all the nails out so that they could be used again. I learned how to drive them back through the wood, and pull some of them out with a pry bar, but Russ really was great and stopped to help Charlie and I figure out how to pull apart two 2x4's that had been solidly nailed together. I dumped the small really nail-spiky bits, and we were able to keep a lot of lengths of pretty good wood. I guess that was a save on the materials cost, in some ways.

Right. So roof, wall frames, heck a whole back wall, the windows all need to get in if we can get them all in, and then enough of the exterior so that siders could just finish it. We have to have enough of a frame for it to even make sense for the house raisers to go to work, and make it solid enough so that the rest of the roof can go on and stay on.

We cleaned up at the end of the day, and then went home at 5 and everyone jumped in the showers, got laundry started, and changed. I had fun comparing bruises with Judy and the gales of giggles we had at Judy winning on size. *laughs* Girls aren't THAT different from boys! Jennifer and three of the other ladies that had helped, today, at the soup kitchen, all got dinner together for all of us that were staying. Catfish in cornmeal, red beans and rice, cornbread with bacon and jalapenos, and it ended with bread pudding with raisins. It was an utterly wonderful meal with wine and great conversation.

I think one of the best things about the whole trip is the fellowship with these people. I get to really like all of the people I work with and most of the folks are just as easy as can be. I really enjoy doing things with these folks, and getting to know them in depth, and understand their stories really means a lot to me. Getting to know who has the gay son or cousin or grandson or daughter, figuring out who has done what, been where and went through what.

Getting to know the history of our really liberal church is a lot of fun as well, especially since the other group here is from a church that actually left the UCC because the conference wanted them to consider the whole Open and Affirming question (i.e. welcoming gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people) and because there were congregations in the conference who were openly and (okay in our case) delightedly Open and Affirming. I had kind of noticed that they were kind of avoiding us and several looked at me funny. *laughs* Plus they're on an entirely different schedule than we are.

We like going out at night and we really, really like getting out to the job sites at a reasonable time for everyone and working all out while we're there until we're so tired we can just go to bed content that we did everything we could.
Tags: katrina, travel

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