Saturday, March 25, 2006

Louisiana Update....

This past week has been a continuation of the demolition fun, with an added bonus of construction work at the end of the week.

On Thursday morning, around 10am (late start to the day, it happens a lot with only one main supervisor) I was given an assingment--to build a wall, to create a closet. Jason, from the Denver team, was also given the same assingment. As neither of us had ever built a wall before, we were assured that we would be visited and checked further instructions were given.
Upon arriving at the house that was going to have a new wall installed, Jason and I checked out our room...there wasn't much light and the space was slightly cramped. Other than that, we felt confident that we could complete our assingment. To be honest, Jason made it seem as though he knew what he was doing, but I quickly came to see that was just a show. I determined that we needed to install a base board and I made the apporpriate measurements and markings... Jason made the cut only because at this point, I was still intimidated by the Chop Saw and I let the boy do the dirty work.... how quickly the tables would turn.

We took the board into the house and began to put it in. I repeatedly asked if the board was straight... Jason asserted that it was. We nailed the board in... my hammering skills quickly were apparent as Jason bent most of the nails while I skillfully got mine in and nailed in most of the board. Once it was secured, I checked to see if the board was straight.

It was NOT! Off by half an inch.

Jason began trying to pull the board up with a flat bar. Unfortunetly, his lack of experience led me to take the flat bar and quickly I pulled the board up. Ah, the glow of experience.... Jason ended up peacing out on me.
My time has just run out and I have to go.. I'll finish the story later

OK... so we're at the home of one of our super cool sponsors (beautiful house, seriously, I think I've seen it in a magazine one time).... so I hopped on her computer so I can finish my story, I would hate to leave y'all haning for two weeks.

Back to the story.

So, after Jason peaced out, I figured that I could figure out the measurements for the rest of the wall before our lunch break. That was a one person job, so I new that I could get that done before other people came. luckily, I had just finished making all my marks and was ready to look for help, when my team leader (masta D) showed up to check on the status. So, she helped me make the cuts (we had a circular saw at the time and straight lines are not my friends)and we were just about ready to start putting the header in, when we realized that the nails we had were too short to hold it into the ceiling. So, it just happened to be lunch time and we broke for that and set a task of finding new nails before returning to the wall.

Lunch was glorious, as always...side story, we like to go this country store at lunch time sometimes for overstuffed shrimp po'boys--they are SUPER fresh and oh so tasty. One time, i was in line to order and there was two construction workers in front of me. I happened to be wearing my coveralls, and so they realized I was in the trade. :) So, one of them, "shorty," struck up a conversation with me...asking me about what I was up to, what kind of work I knew how to do. He was so impressed that he mentioned it to his friend (the customer in front of me). In his exact words, he said "we should hire us some women." to which his friend replied, "she can probably out work you." Shorty didn't like that too much. About ten mins. later, I was waiting for my food and their crew boss came up and asked me if I liked my job. My reply was yes. He asked again, offering me a job on his crew! :) HE HE.... if they only knew.... Ok story over, back to my wall.

When Deanne and I returned to my wall, we came with new nails and the task of installing all the beams. We were able to get them all in (of course my measurements worked out very well--some even perfectly)and we began work on the side wall that would connect it to the existing wall. We got the header and footer in before the end of the day. I unfortunetly did not re-measure the length of the beams, silly me, I assumed that they ceiling was when we went to install the beams, we found that two of the beams were too short. YIKES! not good news when you have a limited supply of lumber. So, we left the wall for the day, it happened to be quiting time.

Fast forward to the next day. Work began promptly at 8am (we leave the house at 7:30 to drive about 30 mins. to Delcambre) and my first task was to finish the beams. Deanne cut me some shims and we were able to install those before she was pulled to "look at something" or whatever her excuse was...doesn't really matter, she peaced out on me too. Luckily Joy happened to be at the house and she was able to help me start on the next task. Installing the support beams--very important work. :) So, we began measuring and I got over my fear and started cutting the wood using a beautiful table saw. I was so good at what I was doing, I could make the cuts and then bring the saw up quickly enough to catch the wood before it fell off the table (joy was holding the long end).

The beams were a little problematic, but we worked through it and for some reason or another, Alena ended up working with me and Joy peaced out to do molding, with, funny enough Jason. HA!

Alena and I were able to finish up the rest of the beams and shortly after lunch on Friday, my beautiful wall was finished. Deanne and Jamie (another volunteer) could hang on it and it wouldn't budge a centimeter. True story.

So concludes the story of my wall.... It lost a bit of its jazz due to the mean librarian that cut me off during my creative flow, but it's my story all the same and I hope you enjoyed it!

PEACE OUT! and lots of LOVE!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mold, Dust and New Orleans

After a few slow days here in Abbeville, our time has taken a turn to excitement and by excitement, I mean demolition. That's right, they are trusting us to tear apart houses and not mess up (how can you really). It's mostly fun work, however, with my allergies, I've been having a rough time. Basically, I'm living off Benadryl which isn't the most healthy thing I've ever done, but there's really no other options. We work about 10 hour days, still fitting in PT and other fun stuff as needed.

This past weekend, a few of us journeyed over to New Orleans to visit another taem working there (Silver 3). They are living in a tent city just outside of the lower ninth ward. So, I finally got to see with my own eyes the destruction that has been so heavily portrayed by the media. It's bad. It looks like the hurricane just happened, when in reality it's been almost 7 months. Crazy stuff. They are still sending in dogs to look for dead bodies and most of the houses haven't been touched. It's pretty unreal stuff. On the up side, I also was able to go into the French Quarter and experience more beyond Bourban street. We had coffee and beignets at the world famous Cafe du Monde. YUMMY! We were also able to go into Ripley's Museum for a volunteer workers price of only five dollars. They really do appreciate us! :)

Not much else to report. The farm is very peaceful and I'm enjoying the culture down here in Cajun Country.

Grace and Peace.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A hopefully exciting turn of events...

Today could prove to be a very exciting day.

since we arrived in Abbeville, we have been living in a "Family Life Center" aka a huge gym. I've been sleeping on a cot-upgrade from an air mattress, but it's too short so my feet hang off the end. :( And it's HOT and HUMID here.... my favorite combination.

so, why is today an exciting day, you may be asking yourself right now... well, our sponsor is moving us into a HOUSE! YEA! It's not in downtown abbeville, like we are currently, but it's a house. and, unless Gold 5's luck strikes again, it will be nice with enough rooms and more than one shower and have a stove that works (last night i made dinner for the team, mac and cheese, in a rice cooker because the stove at the gym didn't work. that's right, a rice cooker!).

so far, we've worked at two schools getting them ready for students who will be returning on monday. we also met another NCCC team from Denver. They are on their first project. It's weird seeing how large their team is (number wise) and how they interact with one another. I wouldn't go back to our first project if you paid me. My team has become my family... sometimes you love them, sometimes you love to hate them, but they are always there for you. Why? because you understand each other, at least at this time in our lives. It's very hard to explain the NCCC experience to people who haven't done it. Not that you don't get insight through my lovely blog. :) It's just a whole different way of life. One that can only be understood from the inside.

hope to write again soon. the only upside to the gym was that we had a computer. :)

I'd like to give a little shout out to my girl scout troop homies. HELLO! :) Hope you are all doing well and that school is going well. hope to hear from you again soon.

Grace and Peace.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Abbeville Louisiana....

Tomorrow my team will take off for Abbeville, LA--the heart of Cajun country...

I'm not sure what all that means, but I'll let you know when I find out!

We will be working with the Vermillion Parish (LA doesn't have counties, they have parishes) to get their schools up and running again. Abbeville had a lot of Katrina evacuees and then a month later, they got hit hard with Rita. Luckily, this time we will be staying in a gym, not a tent. That's a major improvement, one word: walls. :)
Also, we will have the luxury of real showers and toilets. Yea! Oh how the little things in life come to mean so much. We will also be doing a little bit of mucking out houses (gross!) and some construction on houses as well. I'm looking forward to this project. The town we will be working and living in is pretty small, but they do have a library! For "fun" we will have to drive over to Lafayette (sp?) which is about 30 mins. away. No worries though.

In sad news, we lost another team member. Gold Rush is now down to 9. David went home last week, of his own volition. We will miss him and all his hard work. Seriously, he was an all star. LOVE YOU DAVE!!!

Nothing much else to report... If you can, check out some of the fun pictures below. To see all of them, click on the March 2006 under archives on the left side of your screen. Good times, good times.

Grace and Peace!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Kyla, my super awesome roommie.... Love her! Posted by Picasa

Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans...super fun! Posted by Picasa

These types of signs were not uncommon... Posted by Picasa

This was a casino. The pirate ship used to be behind the "fort" that you can see in the background. The storm surge (which was 30 feet in Biloxi) brought it to where it is now.  Posted by Picasa

As you can see... the apartment building used to extend out to the street. This is in Gulfport, MS. Posted by Picasa

This used to be homes....This is in Pass Christian, two towns over from Biloxi. You can see the water on the horizon. Posted by Picasa

Tent City, in all it's glory. I lived in the the blue and white top tent on the left side.  Posted by Picasa

The bridge that used to connect Biloxi and Ocean Springs in Mississippi... Posted by Picasa

Alena and I taking a break after reshingling this whole roof (of course, there were other teammates that helped too). Doesn't it look pretty? Posted by Picasa

Up on a roof... getting stuff done in Fort Myers with Habitat with Meredith and Joy. PS right after this picture was taken, I accidently dropped the hammer--watch out below! :) Posted by Picasa

Birthday girl... my team had me wear this lovely crown all day long...We went to the beach at Sanibel Island... so perty! Posted by Picasa