Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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Real Progress

The entire back wall got replaced today, so the back third of the house has, really, been replaced with completely new construction. When the walls were in enough to support our weight, the roof crew went to work and shingled the whole back roof, which was twice the size of the front roof and were nearly done by lunch time.

We learn, and we get faster. *laughs* Can you imagine having a professional roofing crew coming in and removing an old roof and replacing it completely in just four days? The crew here also managed to get all the outside walls up and solid, and we have all the interior walls completed with a floor plan we came up with on Tuesday. It's pretty cool.

One of the professional construction general contractors said that it was amazing how fast he could work with this crew, mostly because everyone just automatically cleaned up after him while he was working. Stuff he trims and throws behind him, he thinks about cleaning up after he's done creating the wall or destroying the wall he just destroyed, and he looks around and it's just all *gone*. It allows him to work nearly four times faster than he's used to working because so much time is spent cleaning up.

So even he's amazed at how fast he can go with all of us supporting him.

THAT was really cool to hear. It allows him to just do the decisions part, to make the creative plan and then let people do the stuff that they can do while he does the stuff no one else in the team can do.

With all four of our professionals it's been that way. Plus they're able to work with each other in this small house and everyone takes their own part and does it their way and no one complains because it's done. And then now and again they trust the rest of us to just take some small project and just run with it.

Like the rest of the roof became myJohn's project with a crew of five, and we just tore into it happily now that we all knew what it was that we were supposed to be doing I broke in a new cutter for the end pieces, gently, and when the boys got two nail guns, I traded for a while and let Charlie do the measuring while I did the cutting until we got ahead enough that he wasn't holding anything up and eventually, by lunch time, he took on the whole job himself. That was cool to see.

This morning was a little funny in that it was clear and sunny, but the day started below freezing, which is unusual around here. I stood out in the sunshine and was really quite warm, so just went with the sweatshirt, t-shirt, and jeans. It was plenty, even though the humidity here made it seem much colder to start. Once we got working, I worked up very well.

By lunch the sun had warmed the shingles enough that I found them MUCH easier to cut, but we were almost done because we were ready for the crown of the roof. With a little instruction by Jeffery, one of our professionals, John and a crew of John C., Don, myJohn, David, and Charlie were able to do the whole crown of the roof. I got back from shuttling people around, getting water, and stuff just in time to see the last of the crown hammered into place. Yay!

So we looked for things to do in the interior. All the studs in the house were of random width, which would have made the dry wallers' life hell when they tried to put up dry wall on it. Plus all the window frames were not up to code because most of them were just floating on studs rather than anchored to the bottom most plate of the house.

So Gary (our retired inspector) gave us all a crash course on window framing, us being John, Don, and I. Then, when we were just half through, Clay wanted to steal John from Don and I, we had Charlie and David watching and helping as they were able, and so John went with Clay to do stuff to finish the back walls and get the siding up (so, yes, we were able, today, to button up the exterior of the house on the most part). Gary had been doing all the interior walls, which are now all built and he put most of them up in a temporary fashion so that the owner could get a feel for his new layout and tell us if he wanted to shift hallways, a closet, and even the dimensions of a room or two by a foot or three. That's kind of bemusing thinking of a house where you can play with the floor plan by actually shifting the walls.

Anyway, Don and I happily started making a window frame, which actually consists of 2x4s from floor to ceiling with supports for the top and bottom of the frame from *below* and a header made up of two 2x6's layered with plywood between and set on edge to lend vertical strength. So each side is three studs thick and the top is 5 1/5 inches thick and the bottom is just a 2x4 supported by two to four studs. It turned out a bit more complex than we were first thinking, but we ended up with a frame that was three feet by five, and was both plumb and level.

Plus the spacing between the floor boards and the wall was supposed to be 3 inches to allow a 2x4 (don't get me started on why 2x4's aren't actually 2" by 4") to go sideways in that slot, but it wasn't. So we had to use the ever-handy sawzall to get the posts in the way they were supposed to just drop in... so there were all kinds of small surprises including John mis-calculating the width of the header as only 33 inches instead of 36, so Don and I had to rip out and completely rebuild the header.

We high-5'ed when Lysa checked it all out and said it was good.

*laughs* It's fun to learn something. Now we just have to do half a dozen more of them for all the window holes that had all the old frames completely ripped out.

We finished at 5. Gary was wandering about at ten 'til 5 muttering, "The work will still be here tomorrow. It's time to quit and go to the Shed. I'm pretty hungry for BBQ. So no beer for anyone that's working after 5."

Of course we were on-site at 8, had taken a fifteen minute lunch, and had pretty much been going full blast all day.

We went back to the dorm, washed up, and then headed to the Shed BBQ out by a bayou on Highway 57, east of us. The name is pretty much descriptive, it started out as just a shed with some smokers in the back, and al the food is To Go and if you happen to go to the picnic tables outside or the ones in the building, well that was your own fault, in a way. *laughs* They sell beer, pops, and have a pop machine as well. I got sweet tea as I never get enough sweet tea out here, and got a combo with brisket and baby back ribs. John got the four meat combo and I got the baked stuffed potato salad and the beans.

Everything was delicious and hot, and we ate outside in the freezing cold by a fire that one of the fire pit boys tried to make with a couple of cardboard boxes and a wooden pallet. It didn't work so well, and it was so cold that when Ryan offered me one of his stocking caps I took him up on the offer and wore a Phillies hat all night. He also gave it to me, after saying he had lots of them at home. So I have a cap to sleep in as well.

It was funny, as everyone on our building team is a "problem solver" someone that, instead of complaining, just jumps in and does what they think will solve the problem. The fire was no exception. Nearly all of us did something to help the fire along in some way or another and it ended up with the fire working out, and probably burning well after we left with the sheer amount of wood we'd put on it.

We closed the place down just sitting and drinking beer and talking after our meals. John, Russ, Don, John C. and I ended up going home along the water, seeing the towns all along the coast on the way back to Biloxi. I'm staying up a little too late, again, getting this and all the pictures up, but it's been worth while doing it while it happens as it's better to get it down while I remember.

Besides, I had to ice my knee. I have just one more day and it's better t just ice it today and prevent more problems tomorrow. It's kind of swollen from standing all day and being on my knees on the roof for so long, plus I bashed it by accident with something yesterday, so it's sore. So ice and ibuprofen should help with tomorrow.

It just has to last one more day and then it can rest all it wants. *laughs* Like I don't walk for miles around New Orleans. *grins* This year I might just let John do all the walking and just sit in my comfortable hotel room and rest my knee and ice it. Right. I'll just have to have some beignet and do a *little* shopping, too. *lol* Okay, and the food. I have to be able to walk to the food... that will be all, though, not the rambles through just to see what it's all like now. I might just drive or take a cab to see some of the consignment shops, though. After having written a story with them in it, I think I have to go and see them.
Tags: katrina, travel

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