|My drywall partner Adam and the creative|
Final Day for our participation in Las Cruces Habitat builds. A couple has already pulled in for next week's build (from Calgary, Alberta!) Good friends of some already here, having worked in Las Cruces before. Today one of the Honor Societies from NMSU joins us - about 9 of them, both male and female. Also Homeowner Liz is back, with her brother and two other family members. A big crew! After devotions we divide up into three groups again: Soffits & drip plates, caulking and painting at Candace's; drywall at Leticia's; and the floor beams at the new site.
Rick and I are back at Valle del Luz to drywall for another day. Pete pulls me aside and asks me to check the bedroom we did yesterday as we never finished getting all the screws in there. I asked Adam, one of the honor guys, to help me check the screws. While I was trying to sink the ceiling screws - unsuccessfully - Adam was checking all the others. My shoulder was just plain tired and sore and I couldn't get the 'umph' to drive the high screws in. Adam did it well. Eventually I asked and he admitted that he worked for two years with a contractor in Denver - he probably knew more than I!! (Probably??) So....Adam spent the rest of the day installing sheetrock while I measured and cut and sanded the edges. We finished both closets in the bedrooms, part of the bathroom, and then moved out to do the living hallway, and one big wall of the living room.
I took the zip tool again today and cut out my own door frames - creatively I might add. I noticed that Pete left one of them in the coat closet. He said he would check with Leticia. (JK I am sure!) I knew that Pete was going to come back later and finish up the door entries around the frame.
|Rick and Thomas|
Others finished the furnace enclosure (a finicky, time-consuming piece of work!), one child bedroom, and parts of the other. Pete did not expect us to finish the drywall on the house and there is still a good day of work left.
What a beautiful day it was! Temps in the 70's and sunshine. Why wasn't it like this the whole time!!! The mountains were incredible - especially in the evening sunset. I am sorry to be leaving tomorrow, but looking forward to the national parks coming up. We gas up, clean the windshields, and purchase a few groceries. Happy Hour with everyone and goodbyes. Jeff and Karen pulled out this afternoon around 3:30 - hoping to get part way to Austin, TX tonight.
Thus concludes our first NEW CONSTRUCTION Habitat build. I absolutely loved the experience! I so enjoyed working for Pete - he is an incredible supervisor. He kept us all busy and engaged; he taught you the why's as you went along, especially if you asked because you wanted to know; he challenged you to try things you might not have done before and then celebrated your success with you. Evidently last year they had to cancel the last 3-4 builds (almost two months worth) because the money ran out in February because Pete had accomplished by then what they thought would take until May! This year, Habitat assured Pete they would have their funding in place and be prepared to build 5-6 houses. This was an excellent build for us to start out on, although it may create high expectations for others!
FRIDAY, October 12
Click HERE for today's pictures
Today looked very much like yesterday! A stop at McDonalds, meet at Valle del Luz, I had devotions today instead of Rick, and then the crew broke up for the day....Jeff and Tommy STILL at Kenmore St doing detail stuff on soffits, etc.; Dyana, Sandra and Julie out at Sierra Alta getting ready for the new CAVs to frame that house next week.
Rick and Norton split off from their crew as local volunteer John was back to help today. That group went into one of the small bedrooms and began ceiling work there. My crew, minus Local Rick - who was to show up later - quickly installed the already cut ceiling panel into the hallway and then decided to go to the third bedroom and do the ceiling there. Although we had a little difficulty because I measured the panels a little tight, we only had to put up three panels because the room is just a little under 12' square! Closet ceilings done. That group continued to work on the main bathroom.
|Master closet - waiting for door cut.|
Rick and Norton spent the ENTIRE day in the utility room! Once they finished the ceiling, they decided to just go ahead and finish the whole room - it was a MESS of cut outs for vents, water lines, electric boxes, you name it - every panel except one had a cut out, and one had 6 of them! We kidded Rick that he never came out of the his room except to get a ladder!
|Part of utility room ceiling with all its cutouts.|
|Pete walks through our finished bedroom.|
Cooler today, even a little thunder and a flash of lightning early this morning. A FEW drops of rain fell during the morning, but not enough to even wet the sidewalk.
This evening we all went out to one of the Habitat Board Member's home up on the bench east of town. Located on Pinnacle View Drive, but could we see the Organ Mountains? No! High winds began to blow around 4:30 and so much dust was stirred up that the mountains were faintly outlined. You could barely see them! Naturally when we drove home the winds had died down, but it was also dark! The meal was a wonderful soup dinner (three choices) and everyone brought salads, desserts, breads, appetizers, etc. So much to eat! I thought Ray and us were the only desserts, and we ended up with 6 different options! We brought home an untouched pie - Rick will probably eat it for breakfast in the morning!
Quick walk down Santa Fe St. for several blocks when we got back at 8pm. We were full and needed to walk a little off! Tomorrow is our last build day. I am finding I am ready to head homeward, but a bit anxious because I don't have another build lined up. I have really enjoyed the new construction and I want to do more!
THURSDAY, October 11
Click HERE for today's pictures
|Valle del Luz house ready for sheetrocking|
The sheet-rock has been delivered and is stacked in two areas of the house. This house has a different design and layout from Candace's - no garage, 3 bedroom, 2 bath. The living room is definitely bigger. After Rick's devotions, Pete went into detail about sheet-rocking do's and don'ts. I was beginning to worry if I could do this! But he takes pride in the 'mudders' saying the Habitat houses are the most ready and it takes them fewer days to tape and mud because of the good job done putting in the sheet-rock Our task today was to put up as much ceiling sheet rock as possible.
|Rick aligns a panel|
|On the ladder to screw in|
the closet ceiling
|My finished closet ceiling|
Our group was split up today. Jeff and Tommy returned to Candace's house to finish up the last of the detail work. When they arrived, they found the garage door had been installed. The heating crew was still at work. Dyana and Sandra went to a third site and did the floor beam layouts for the initial exterior walls there. When the new CAV group arrives to start next Tuesday, there will be work at three different sites to keep them busy! Sheet-rocking at Candace's will definitely be on the roster!
|Ray entertained us at|
It rained briefly today. Clouds all day, and a few raindrops during lunch. Dark clouds coming home from the job site, but by evening it has cleared.
WEDNESDAY, October 10
Click HERE for today's pictures
Day 8 of our Habitat build in Las Cruces. I was sore this morning in my right arm from some of the awkward positions I was hammering in yesterday. Little did I know today would just get worse!! :)
|Ginger sits in the middle of her furnace framework.|
|Rick does demolition on his|
attic access box.
After lunch Local Rick and I were sent up to the trusses to nail in 4 14' boards as additional supports, angled along the truss boards from gable to as far as we could get. IT WAS VERY AWKWARD HAMMERING! And my sympathy for my Rick working up on the roof or in the attic went up considerably. I was sweating buckets up there. Local Rick put nails in 2/3 of the truss boards and I got the rest. I wasn't very good at this - it took 55 hammer swings for one nail and 50 for the other - two nails into each board. I had to rest after every 15 swings!!
Momentary break to go fix something else....I can't remember what...and then Rick and I were back up in the attic to finish our job! Pete had a long 'punch list' of little detail finishes that had to be done. And of course, everyone was working in and around the heating boys! (Who incidentally told Pete after we all left two things: 1) they were very impressed that we were all volunteers from all over the country, and 2) we built a very CLEAN house! Pete passed the compliments on tonight at dinner.)
This crew, just like at Pagosa, has bonded and is working together like a well oiled machine. Our local volunteers, Rick, Jerry, and Julie, have been present often and added a great deal to the crew. Wish we could get them to join us for Happy Hour or the potlucks.
We leave the job site around 2:15 and all meet again (unplanned!) at Albertsons - potluck dinner tonight and everyone is doing their last minute shopping! I pick up some frozen eclairs and cool whip - hoping to make the 3-2-1 cake.
We postpone Happy Hour/Dinner until 5 pm tonight - Bill and Candy are providing the hot dogs, plus we have french fries, spinach salad, popcorn, chips and dip, chili, potato salad - and for dessert my eclairs, cake, and little cordials with liqueur. Quite a feast! The cake came out quite well - I made two big batches and then layered them with Cool Whip. Not to mention all 30 of the mini eclairs disappeared!
After dinner I finished up 9 ornaments to give to everyone (and Candace) - will do that tomorrow night probably, blogging, scribble, and then a chance to read! G'night!
TUESDAY, October 9
Click HERE for today's pictures
Back at it in Las Cruces! We thought we might be moving on to a new site this week, but Pete told us this morning that we still have one, if not two, full days still to go at Candace's house.
|Rick is STILL up on the roof!|
I bounced around today from realigning and installing walls, putting up top wall plates, applying OSB boards to wall joints for the sheetrocking, and finally....building the framework for the furnace to sit on! I didn't finish the latter job - still have boards to cut and nail in tomorrow. I didn't seem to be able to hit a nail squarely today which was frustrating!
|Maria, from the Habitat office, stops by!|
After work....I put together some of my Christmas ornaments so they are ready to give away to everyone, then Happy Hour, TV, reading, and blogging!
Today wasn't AS warm - temps in the low 80's. I was in the shade all day, unlike Rick who thought it was quite warm up on top!
SATURDAY, October 6
ClicK HERE for today's pictures
|Lady Chile Rugby team volunteers from NMSU|
This working for six days in a row is hard business! One CAV couple is taking the day off to hike. Another two of the gals are going to the Saturday market. But Pete wanted to have some experience at the site along with the anticipated crew from the NMSU Ladies Chiles Rugby team and some homeowners who are coming to put in sweat equity time. So....back we go!
|Rick and Addie work on the rafters.|
Rick managed to grab one of those cute rugby players to help him up on the roof finish up the soffit job - he then spent the rest of the day working with John and Pete to move roof decking into place. This is the one time Pete really swings his hammer and goes to work - he likes to put the decking down. Sandra took a crew of three rugby players to begin installing windows. Dyana and I had a crew working to build the last of the interior walls and continue to install. Local Vol Rick also was working with a couple gals to finish up the half wall separating the kitchen - a wall that also had some awkward angles to deal with. Dyana had to keep reminding me today to let the rugby gals do most of the work - this was their only day to volunteer and they wanted to be busy. That was hard because I was still learning myself, and was now back in the position of teacher! We got all the walls finished and up except ONE - a mistake was made on it which will be fixed on Tuesday. Other crews worked in the space between the top of the wall and the rafters, installing filler boards to anchor the two together (the space was less than 2").
|Rick prepares to monkey through the|
|Rugby gal, Local Rick, and Liz, homeowner|
Not so hot today, but still definitely warm in the sun! We finished up around 2:30 and scooted back to the trailer to be ready to leave for Albuquerque! (See Balloon Fiesta Weekend Blog!)
This blog will take a break for a few days....back on Tuesday!!
FRIDAY, October 5
Click HERE for today's pictures
|Rick up in rafters|
Rick and Bill worked all morning (day?) up on the roof rafters - along the side eaves of the house - installing the boards necessary to create a soffit. This had to be done before the roof decking goes up. Bill was not as comfortable up on the roof, so he did much of the cutting and running around while Rick worked up in the trusses, climbing over his 'jungle gym' on high!
|Setting a major wall into place!|
|Lots of walls into place!|
|End of Day 5 progress....|
Some of the group is choosing to not work tomorrow. We have that option since this became a 6 day week. Other homeowners are coming in to work their sweat equity time, as well as the NMSU women's rugby team! Rick and I will probably go in and at least work the morning until lunch.
|Sunset enroute home from Target & Applebees|
|Downtown mall sculpture with Organ Mts.|
THURSDAY, October 4
Click HERE for today's pictures
|Ginger putting up the hurricane clips|
|The last truss goes up!|
We were amazed at how much has to be done BETWEEN putting up the last truss and the roof decking. I worked on the hurricane clips, others went back and were installing sections of wood between the trusses. Others were putting braces up over the porches. In the meantime, wall framing crews were busy assembling the larger wall sections in the shade provided by the trusses in the back of the house! All the small sections had been put together yesterday out in the trailer.
It is a LITTLE cooler today...maybe only 92 instead of 95! Still I didn't feel quite as hot. I think it is because I was working inside and the trusses provided a little shade. Rick got overheated during the morning (he was in the sun the whole time), but felt better after lunch. The sun is brutal. Rick has been soaking a bandana in water and leaving it around his neck - for sunburn protection AND to cool him off!
|Rick goes around and marks each truss|
end to be cut off.
|House at end of Day 4|
techniques... framing, shiners, nail patterns (different for every step of the way I think!) Mind boggling! Pete is very patient with all our questions, and we keep asking them often trying to learn as much as possible.
We knock off work at 2p and are home by 2:30. The trailer today is only 97 degrees, but drops to 79 with the air conditioner blowing right on us! We relax, shower, and prepare for a night out on the town. The group is going to the Empire China Buffet tonight!
Later....China Buffet was awesome. There were five different buffet areas to check out - 3 with various Chinese dishes, a Mongolian grill, and a sushi bar. Too many choices, except skipping the Mongolian was easy as they didn't have any sauces, nor a huge choice of vegetables. Rick loved the spicy shrimp, I the green beans and the mushrooms! Baked salmon, and all sorts of seafood available. I overate considerably! Good thing lunch had been lean!
Afterwards we drove the short distance to the main Mesilla Valley Mall and walked off our dinner at Sears. Rick picked up a couple of items, and I found a clearance rack of medium size shirts. Ended up buying three tops all for just under $20! Back to the HabiHQ to do some laundry!! Necessary task!
WEDNESDAY, October 3
|Roof trusses arrived this morning early!|
Today's good news?? Rick and I figured out that we needed to switch hammers!! (Yes, I lost the perfect measurement, but....) His hammer is shorter and has a smaller grip. Too big a grip was part of what was giving me so much trouble and wearing my arm out. That really helped me - hopefully it didn't mess Rick up too much! Other discovery? The side walls of the house are called 'sheathing' not 'sheeting' as I had written the past two days! (I have gone back and corrected previous blog entries!)
|Rick installs sheathing.|
|Hammering in the lower nails.|
After break, Sandra and I marked boards to be used for spacers when the trusses go up - 14' lengths to be marked every 24". We got that done fairly quickly and then went to help across the street in the trailer where other gals were 'crowning' 2x4's for the interior wall construction.
|Hard-hat ready to help with the roof!|
|Rick looks like the heat doesn't bother him at all!|
We stopped today 15 minutes early as several were starting to get a little overheated. We will finish the roof trusses in the morning and then start installing the interior walls. Pete likes to go up and put most of the roofing sheets in place himself. I've heard he is really fast, so we'll look forward to Thursday's 'show'!! I took a few pictures today of the two Habitat houses next to Candace's since we won't be here for the 'finished product'. Here is what the front and back of the house will be like:
|Front of house - only flipped right to left.|
|Back of house - porch and small yard.|
Rick and I stop at MacDonald's enroute home for cold drinks and ice cream treats! We earned it today! Sat and enjoyed the air conditioning while we let our bodies cool down a little. Back to Habitat HQ for showers...and to turn on the air conditioning! (It was 99 degrees inside when we returned.) Thank you little trailer - an hour later we are down to 81 degrees inside!
We wander out to Happy Hour, and then I spend the evening on the phone with Candy Arledge and Shelli Swanson! Nice!
TUESDAY, October 2
Click HERE for today's pictures
The good news today? I only had to hammer 8p nails instead of 16p also!! But still, by 2pm I thought my arm was going to drop and I couldn't hit the nail straight anymore. The other good news? Late in the day, after pulling out my tape measure to check for 16" distances so I could hit the studs (I didn't have a chalk line), I discovered my hammer is exactly 16" long - instant measurement!!!
|Putting up the sheathing!|
Candy came to help me and we SLOWLY got the rest of the back wall of the house covered. Grateful when Rick came to help, because it is a three person job to put the board up, hold it in line, and get it nailed in place. Then two people can finish up with the specified nailing pattern.
It was warm today! The next three days are supposed to be over 90 degrees. Ugh! Fortunately we take plenty of breaks and are encouraged to drink, drink, drink our water! Our lunch today was brought by St. Paul's Methodist Church - Subway sandwiches, chips, apples, etc. I grabbed one of the vegetarian sandwiches. Oh, plus homemade cookies! After lunch I made everyone get together so we could get a group picture before Patty and Wayne take off on Thursday morning. (Our resident Canadians!)
|Afternoon section of wall that we put sheeting on.|
|Rick came to help! I am up on the ladder|
to take the picture!
Enroute home Rick and I returned the antennae booster to Lowe's and then stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up a Queen size fleece blanket - we have found our thin short little blankets aren't enough (or big enough) and the heavy sleeping bag is much too much in this weather!
Happy Hour tonight lasted for nearly 3 hours as people just sat and visited. We had some of the leftover subway sandwiches, I brought some dip and veggies. I have been taking my needlepoint or drawing stuff to keep my hands busy - so tonight Karen brought out some knitting, and Sandra has been working on some scarves.
I forgot my hat today, and was so grateful to Pat for finding a loaner in her truck! It would have been a miserable day without a little sunshade!
|Las Cruces Habitat crew: Pete our construction supervisor is in the sunglasses next to me in front row.|
MONDAY, October 1
World Habitat Day
|We went from this empty slab.....|
|Rick and Jeff cut the timber for headers.|
|I made this Header all by myself!|
|A beehive of activity!|
After lunch I finished up the plumb work, and then started to help apply sheathing to the corners. Again we had to redo a few things - I guess a common problem when you have this many working at once. But overall, I was amazed at how smoothly everything went. Pete just goes around spot checking everything, answering questions, and giving you a job if you stand idle for a moment! He is particular, however, and won't hesitate to say, 'Take it out and try this!' I learned to use the cat's paw claw, the huge lever claw, levels, and the difference between 16p and 8p nails! Dyana's role as team leader is to make sure everyone else is busy before she finds a job.
|....and finished with this by the end of the day.|
Rick and I stopped at Lowe's to pick up an antennae booster, hoping to get the TV signal in the trailer to work better. Then a round-about discovery route home - in which we bought gas and found the Wal-Mart! Showers, a few postcards, and Happy Hour from 4p to 6p in the shade of one of the big RV's on our side of the road.
I tried to call Luke this morning during break - couldn't get my phone to work. I was getting disgusted with T-Mobile. Discovered this evening it had accidentally been turned off. I felt stupid, but was more relieved it wasn't more problems with the phone! Rick came out and admitted he had packaged the antennae booster back up to return - 'Remember that little button on the connection, dear? I needed to push it! That IS a booster.' We will get more brilliant, I'm sure, as the week proceeds!
I tried to get caught up on drawings, blogs, ready for a devotion Tuesday morning during the evenings. Rick had a good long talk with Luke on the phone! In bed by 10p ready for another new day of learning....and more pounding!
Click HERE for today's pictures
SUNDAY, September 30
Alamogordo to Las Cruces; Group Gathering for Habitat
|Organ Mts. just before St. Augustine Pass|
|Our Habi-home for two weeks. We will LOVE the tree|
behind us on the west side!
We get ourselves settled, meet Dyana, our crew leader and Jeff and Karen, our next door neighbors, and then take off for the Albertsons we passed along the way to do some grocery shopping. Since we have to provide our own lunches, we needed a few things! Plus I made a mango salsa for the potluck tonight, so needed supplies. Afternoon spent making salsa, salad, dip, and cutting up vegetables.
A brief happy hour gathering meeting all the new faces and names. Our group hails from Washington, Alberta (Canada!), Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and California - oh, not to mention Oregon! Rick and I are again some of the younger ones. Four couples have been on Las Cruces builds before. We have one single older man, a Cal State college professor of history.
|Candace's home that burned is on the left.|
As I came out of the Habitat office, the sun greeted me with another dazzling display of God's glory! (Complete with man's power lines!) I think I am going to love southern NM sunsets!
Phone calls to our moms and Jed, and a quick chance to update here on the blog. Work begins in the morning at 7:45!! I can't wait!
|Las Cruces sunset #1|