Some of it is that I'm sore and tired, sleeping in an open room with 20 other women is always a little crazy, no matter how nice and accommodating the other ladies are, there are still snorers and early risers and sounds that just have to happen when we're all together like that. I'm usually really sore and tired and hurting by the last day, and I like working hard. And it's the day when we're all going to simply finish what we can and go.
That last gives everything a little more urgency as well as a little more sadness. So I get a little cranky about it, not bad cranky, but this year my right knee was having more stability problems than the previous years and it was pretty swollen and just hurt a lot. Unless, of course, I was working on something.
We had plenty to work on, too. *laughs*
There were some objections to 'things' coming down from the ceiling the last few days, so the first order of business was to pull down all of the last third of a ceiling that was left. Gary volunteered and brought it all crashing down within about thirty minutes and then the rest of the folks there spent the next hour hauling the rotted, molded, mildewed, dusty, nasty with critters living in the attic, mess out to the dumpster. The longer boards had to be cut to fit into the dumpster, or just splintered to fit.
I got handed a nail gun and got to put the nails into the last of the siding boards on the right side of the house. John told me about where to put them, and so I just put them in. Jeff checked it and added just one nail so I figured I did all right, though I know I put a bunch of random nails in part of one of them because I had no idea what I was doing for a bit. *laughs* Oops. Anyway... I managed to get the rest of it nailed down really solidly, and was happy to finally finish that part of it.
With the ceiling down, Don, Lysa, and I went to work building the window cases, which is what the windows were going to go into. We had done the first yesterday with a lot of mistakes, but with myJohn's help we cranked through five of them before lunch time at a pretty steady rate. If the house had had another framing nail gun everyone would have gone a lot faster, as we had to hand the gun from group to group to group as the folks doing the interior walls needed it too.
They ended up framing a big livingroom, two bedrooms with closets including a walking closet for the main bedroom, a utility closet for the water heater and furnace, a bathroom with room for a linen closet, a long narrow galley kitchen, and a little mud room for coming in from outside.
Lunch was fun and fast, and then we were back into the house to put studs into all of the old outside walls. The old studs were 2x3's back when they made them and so far apart that modern dry-wallers wouldn't be able to put dry wall on them, as they're used to a standard 16" center to center gap between studs and at least the 3 1/2" gap that the standard 2x4 stud would provide. So we had to figure out where to put new studs so that they could be used by the drywallers. We put in 24 studs from floor to ceiling by measuring the gap that each of them had to fill, having Clay cut them all for us, and then we put them in, leveled them so that they were vertically straight, and then nailed them in. Some of them went against old studs, some of them were hung from the stud that crossed the top with nails, so that they would go up when the house went up. Each of them was a different height (old house), and we had to fit them around the old studs, make them so that they fit in the gap in the floor between the floor boards and the actual side of the house. John and I also did the little "cripples", i.e. small boards, that went at least 16" between the studs that held up the window frames and above the window frames to the ceiling. We measured, cut, and nailed them in as well. With four people working on them plus Clay doing the cutting, we managed to get them all in before 5 pm.
All of the interior walls were done by then, too, as well as the exterior walls. John and I finished all the window studs, first, so that Jeff and Max could follow the stud folks with all the siding to fill in the gaps around the window frames. So they cut siding board to fit the rest of the outside walls and hammered it into place on our studs. *laughs* So by the time we finished the very last ones, they were done as well.
The electricians arrived on Wednesday evening, and I got to talk with one for just a few minutes for both yesterday and today, and her nickname was "Sparky" and she had a degree at MIT, which, of course, was not where she learned how to wire a house any more than I learned how to do that at Caltech. She learned working with the crew she's working with now and is not certified, but the Back Bay Mission doesn't need them to be certified, they have a certified electrician check out everything they do and uses his certification to get it all okayed. She got her name because she was working on the fire alarm system in a house where everyone was sure that all the circuits had been disconnected from the main lines on. One of her tools touched something and she had her hands in the right places, so when the spark leaped at a short across the circuits that were connected to a completely independent line to the street, she was just fine, but she scared the heck out of the rest of her team.
She was called Sparky ever after that. Her crew started Wednesday, works through the weekend, and into next week, so she'll probably be helping with wiring the house we just built. THAT is pretty cool to know and I handed her one of my cards so that she can find me after, as we didn't get to talk nearly long enough.
So here is some continuity, we're handing it off to someone else, now, and have actually accomplished what we would have in a blitz build AND there was another team that went and laid ceramic tile on ALL the floors of a house, too.
By the end of the day I suddenly realized I was hurting on the drive back to the dorms. We had to unload the trailer back into the tool sheds at Back Bay and each trip ached. I got back to the dorm, got into the shower and just stood under the hot water for a good ten minutes. That helped me enough to get energy to pack, get stuff into the car, and then I asked Jennifer, who is the official 'other driver' for my rental car, to do the drive to New Orleans. She said sure, so I got an ice pack, swore a lot at my knee that wouldn't let me get into the car at first, but finally managed to climb into the far back seat of the Enclave, and promptly fell asleep.
I woke up when we pulled onto Canal and then went through the French Quarter on our way to our hotel on Royal. I love Royal Street far better than Bourbon, and I left my big suitcase in the car, and just brought my little duffel into the hotel room for the weekend. Then we all went out to find some food.
It was raining and cold. I was very glad that the rain held off until the evening, as the dry day had been cold like the last couple of days, with a wind that, with the humidity down here, cut right through me. The cold, dry weather was perfect for construction, and kept the bugs off of us every day other than Monday. I still have my bites from Monday. With the rain, I actually layered my rain coat on top of my sweatshirt and I was still cold. We walked by the Acme Oyster House and the line in front of it went for two whole store fronts. There seems to be a marathon on Sunday, a convention of cheer leaders at the convention center, and a university Frat is having a Formal here in NOLA for the weekend and they arrived by the busload tonight. There were so many people that they had a line out into their parking garage just for the elevators! Check out on Sunday is going to be a real pain.
We walked past Acme and went to the Sugar Shack which is a little sports bar right off Bourbon, and they had soft-shelled crabs on the menu, so I went for the platter while John went for the po'boy version. I added some Boudin Balls, pork and rice and seasonings all breaded a little with corn meal and then deep fried until they're crisp. Jennifer and I split a Bananas Foster cheesecake slice, and I felt so much better that I managed to limp my way back to the hotel room, get my pictures loaded, and then collapsed into bed to sleep while John went out drinking with the others until 1 a.m.
It is so nice to be in a bed in a room all by myself. I was so tired I couldn't even think to write this up, really, so I'm posting this on Saturday before posting Saturday's entry. *laughs*