Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Day 3: Construction begins

Day 3: Hammers on Hammers on Hammers

Quotes of today
"The first day at the job site is always a special moment. It's a time for everyone to finally see the area the area that we will be working in and get to know the need that these people have,"
- Ryan Feather  

"I thought Hank's GPS wanted us to get mugged..."
- Jesse Griffin

SO today began our construction work. Yay!!

First, we had to say goodbye Chaplain Paul. Chap. Paul has had some back issues and shipped back to Virginia this morning. Our thoughts and prayers our with him and his back recovery.

Now, our construction site is rather different from what RoCo Habitat usually encounters on these trips: the houses are basically already built. Our job is to work on finishing up the details of two houses right next to one another in the Central City neighborhood. It's in one of the lower parts of the city, and was covered by 10 feet of water by Hurricane Katrina. (That almost covered the inhabitable parts of the house.)

Our jobs for today included siding, soffiting, insulation, and porch work.

Our siding for this house is somewhat different from what many returners are used to in that it is formed from a cement mixture. (We traditionally work with vinyl.) This proves to be a bit more different for positioning - vinyl hooks together, whereas concrete doesn't. It certainly required a learning curve. And a really cool tool, which is essentially automated scissors. (I [Andrew] got to use that a lot today!)

Soffiting, for those unfamiliar, is used to bridge the gap between wall and roof overhang. It can be a giant pain in the butt, particularly when it's so high off the ground. Today soffiters were high off the ground, on large ladders.

Insulation and porch workers insulated and worked on trim and OSB [outside board]. This kind of work is often done by professionals in relatively quick periods of time. Workers in these areas got a solid dose of problem-solving skills building. :)

Working below the water table means that water tends to stand a lot longer than expected. We encountered light rain today and trudged through it through much of the day. As a result, we had to build some mud bridges as to not slip mercilessly or get stuck.

The first day is always a bit different. Everyone has to get used to the work involved, tools involved, and people involved. We are working with some cool, engaged AmeriCorps employees. We are using new and different tools. Some of us are working with our hands for the first time. It's all new and it's all fun, but it all definitely has a needed learning curve.

 Some other quick tidbits: our GPSes on this trip are delightfully screwed-up and got us lost; hammers fell; some dancing happened (but not a whole lot); dinner was delicious but we have to cook tomorrow.

Check back for future updates on our progress!

Oh, and a picture update: We're still working on that. They're being taken, be assured, but our sharing capabilities have been somewhat diminished. Alas.

So, till the power tools dry and we can use them without being harmed,
Andrew Dittmar and Mollie Gleason
RoCo Serve staff
Guest contributor: Ryan Feather


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