Wednesday, March 27, 2013


SUNDAY, April 7

     I am sitting in my new favorite place - McDonalds - sipping a large $1 drink and enjoying internet time.  I rode my bike over here!  This will probably be my final entry for this particular post, as we leave on Tuesday for Texas.  Tomorrow will be laundry and final preparations for departure - nothing noteworthy enough for a blog entry!  Rick and I attended the Presby Church again this morning.  They have been so hospitable to us, especially our dear friend Lewis, who volunteers at the Habitat site whenever possible, cane in hand!  

FINAL DAY Hobbs Habitat Build
Click HERE to view pictures from the past few days!
     Whew!  What a whirlwind day at the work site!  Not only did we have three different homeowners in attendance (with two other family members as well), we had a work crew from the United Methodist Church, including their youth leader and 14 junior and senior high youth.  In total, at least 20 plus from UMC!  The site was hopping!  (We figured a total of about 35 workers!)
     Mike did not get back to texture walls until 5:45 this morning.  By the time we arrived, he had the huge heater blazing in the master bedroom  to dry the texturing and all three bedrooms plus the main bathroom ready to paint.  The kitchen had been textured several days earlier.  Still to go: living room, hallway, master bath, and laundry closet. 
Aerial view (from ladder) of a crew of youth
working on the yard. 
     Mike gave devotions today – mostly a devotion of gratitude for the work of the Care-a-Vanners over the past three months.  This was the first year that Hobbs Habitat has signed up for the program – you can be sure they will continue to do so!!!  At the time of devotions, UMC had just the youth leader and three kids. 
     Pam and I were sent back to our trench to pull out some garbage.  We then continued to clear it out completely, even under the wood bridge!  Had to build a couple of inuksuks on the driveway from some of the boulders we pulled out.  Today I went ‘into the trench’ while Pam collected in a bucket the garbage so it wouldn’t just blow back in!  By the time we got back to the front, more kids had arrived and it seemed like UMC volunteers kept appearing for the next hour or more! 
Sent back to the trench! 
     The front yard of both our house and the one completed in February were leveled, dirt moved, and readied for sod.  The sod was supposed to have been delivered earlier this morning, but evidently Home Depot ran out or didn’t place the order.  In the meantime, Sandy and one of the high school girls finished the gate construction and the last panel of fencing.
     Gradually more youth moved into the house and were put to work painting.  Rick spent the morning in the closets – he painted all three of them with the first coat!  I painted gray on the exterior of the house, and then moved inside to ‘supervise’ the kitchen crew of youth.  At that point there were no more paintbrushes or rollers available and too many in each room to add more anyway!  Isy and a UMC volunteer were doing the ceilings – Isy is tall enough he could just reach up with a regular roller and lay it on the ceiling!!   
Rick spent the day in
the closets!
     For the most part the UMC youth did a great job.  One crew got a little silly and spent more time painting themselves than the walls.  That particular bedroom was a bee hive of giggles and laughter, but not much solid painting! 
     The sod was delivered (from Lowe’s!) during lunch break and by the time the youth left around 2pm, the entire yard of the neighbor next door was completed.  That yard went from what looked like giant mole hills in the morning to green grass by afternoon!!  She will certainly be surprised when she comes home today!!  In the meantime we watered the heck out of it. 
Instant grass!
  A parent went out to Subway and came back with enough sandwiches, chips, cookies, etc. for EVERYONE!!  Unfortunately it was 12:45 and most of the Care-a-Vanners had already broken for lunch and eaten! 
     After lunch Mike went to open the mailbox and we discovered it wouldn’t open all the way.  Oh no!  Pam and I realized we shouldn’t have made the support board the full 18”, so I took all the screws out anchoring the mail box to the board and Rick helped me saw off the board ¾ of an inch.  Rescrewed the mailbox down and Presto!!  It opens completely!!  Lesson learned!  (The mailbox did NOT come with instructions!)
     By the end of the day I had painted gray, white ceiling edging, and the cream wall paint.  My arms and hands told the story!!  Clean-up – there were LOTS of brushes and rollers to clean – and then a group picture in front of the house.   Goodbye hugs with Mike….just in case he doesn’t come out to Habi-town to deliver the mail!!  (Several are expecting some!)
A final group picture: Mike, Carl, Rick, Isy, Barb in back; Ginger, Arletta, Pam, Cathy in front.
     Stop at Sonic enroute home for an ‘end of the build’ treat, showers, and whew!  REST!  Pam is coming over later to watch the Michigan basketball game.  Gradually our town will empty over the next few days.  Sandy is the only one staying for a couple of weeks as she waits to see if she gets ‘on’ at the Idaho Falls build.  She is going to lay tile in the house in the meantime! 
     Mike just stopped by with the mail.  Had to give another hug – he is somewhat like a big teddy bear to hug!!!  He also got a haircut today and didn’t wear his hat so it was like looking at a stranger half of the day! 
     Good night, Hobbs!!      
PS.  Michigan won the late game by a squeaker!  Pam is happy! 

FRIDAY, April 5
Hobbs Habitat Build Day 9

     Today was a GREAT day sandwiched between a beautiful sunrise and sunset!  In between was Habitat work – OUTSIDE - and a  potluck BBQ at Mike’s.
Running the chop saw for fence supports. 
     I didn’t set foot inside the house today except to avoid the wind during lunch!  We arrived this morning to find two huge piles of fresh topsoil (very sandy stuff!) in the front yard – ready to be smoothed out for yard work tomorrow. Arletta and I worked on the dirt for awhile, but then it was fence building time.  I helped take all the stakes and support boards down from the now-set-in-cement posts, and then manned the chop-saw to cut the horizontal boards to fit into the metal braces.  We were building a ‘good neighbor’ fence, with the upright boards alternating on each 8’ section.  By break we had all but the last section of boards cut and set in place.  Rick and Sandy were already working together to screw in the uprights on one side, while Isy and Carl handled the next section on the opposite side. 
Rick and Sandy were incredible at installing
the fence slats. 
     Eventually Pam and I teamed up to install uprights as well.  We borrowed an old metal wheel I found in the trash to provide a ‘step stool’ to help us reach the top board.  Pam and I are height challenged and it was difficult for us to get the leverage for the top screws.  We improvised just fine. 
     Rick and Sandy were a well oiled machine and slapped those boards up so quickly.  But all of us were getting hungry by lunch time, which was to have been provided for us by a local volunteer.  Only problem….he must have forgot!  Finally at 12:20 Mike left to pick up pizza.  He returned at 12:40 with Albertsons chicken, tater wedges, and cole slaw – the pizza place was jammed! 
Pam and I show off our mail
box installation.  Too bad we
discovered on Saturday it wouldn't
open all the way!
We fixed it!
  After our late lunch, Rick and Sandy finished up the boards at the front of the house, Isy and Cathy started working on the gate, Arletta continued spreading dirt out front.  Pam and I were given the job of installing the mailbox on top of the post, as the electrician will not come and hook things up until a PERMANENT address number is in view.  We apply the numbers to the mailbox, and looking at the mount for the box next door, we find the necessary wood and mount the mailbox!  A good job, but we should have taken longer to finish it…
Pam down in the trench. 
    ..because the final job of the day was NOT fun!  Out in the back of the house, a 4’ deep trench for the utilities had been compromised in a number of places.  Evidently the utilities won’t come until it is completely empty and cleared out.  Pam and I lowered ourselves down into the trench and started throwing out shovels of dirt and rock.  It took awhile – the wind kept blowing the dirt back into our faces and it was hard to throw the shovel up high enough to keep it from just sliding back in.  But….. we got ‘er done!  We stopped right at 2:30 declaring it was quitting time.  We thought we were just going to be stuck in the trench until someone came to get us out, but Pam found that we could exit via the far end out by the road, crawling on our hands and knees.  We had dirt EVERYWHERE! 
Mike cooks up the BBQ!
     Rick and I took three tries to find a place to make copies of the composite scribble I did to give to everyone.  Wal-greens was broken, Albertsons didn’t have a machine, but Staples got the job done!  Then home to shower, finish fixing pink fluffy stuff, and relax!!!
     We took Pam with us over to Mike and Melanie’s house, near the job site.  Mike had hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken ka-bobs on the grill!  A super potluck dinner: cheesy potatoes, baked beans, pink fluffy, apple crisp, lemon meringue pie, garlic bread, and a cornbread fritter type dish from Jamaica (Pam!).  I ate WAY too much!  Rick and I had to take a couple laps around the field near the high school when we got back. 

     I stepped outside briefly at Mike’s to film a beautiful sunset in the west.  The evening was 70 degrees and very pleasant as the wind is starting to die down a little. 
Sunset from Mike's house
Hobbs Habitat Build Day 8
Pictures to be added later....quick McDonald's stop! 
     Well, I wish I could say I did something new and uniquely different today, but….no.  I spent all day inside the house with the mud tray and blade – cleaning and scraping my ‘too heavy’ corner jobs, and trying to smooth things out with a third coat.  I was paying for the sins of my heavy hand over the past two days!  Lesson learned!!  Barbara and Arletta joined me inside – Barbara applying mud as well as sanding, and Arletta, who wielded the sanding rod ALL DAY LONG!  Her shoulders are tired! 
     However…..outside the house, the sun was shining, it was a perfect 72 degrees with a light cool breeze, and things were hopping!!  Sandy worked on trim most of the day, cutting edges for the front and around the garage door.  Carl and Isy, getting slightly frustrated, were STILL in the garage trying to get the opener to work correctly.  (Success shortly before lunch!!)  And Rick, Kathy, and Pam aligned all the fence posts into a VERY STRAIGHT line.  With help from Isy after lunch, cement was poured into the holes.  Rick reports a total of 15 posts!  (Twelve on the side, 2 in front, and 1 for the mailbox.)
     By afternoon I was starting to ‘lose it’ as Barbara said.  I was singing into my mud microphone in the bathroom shower… anything to stay amused and focused!  Mike declared at the end of the day…”We have to let Ginger outside tomorrow!”
     Barbara came back to ‘Habi-town’ briefly after work before heading out for the evening and to Lordsburg in the morning.  She was here for 3 ½ days, but what a whirlwind!  We enjoyed a little ‘Happy Hour’ time (without the refreshments) in the shade of Arletta and Carl’s motorhome for 45 minutes or so. 
     Pam, Rick, and I are heading out to a Mexican restaurant for dinner!  We have heard back from Katy’s parents in San Antonio and they have issued an invite to stay with them and park the trailer in the neighbor’s unused driveway.  We will accept….for a few days anyway!  Grocery run tonight to pick up ingredients for Pink Fluffy Stuff to take to BBQ tomorrow night at Mike’s.  Plus lunch is being provided tomorrow!  Wow!  No cooking for abit! 

Lewis serves up biscuits and sausage! 
Hobb Habitat Build Day 7
Click HERE for pictures from the past two days
     Brrr!  Down in the 30’s last night and cloudy, but rain never came.  Fortunately the wind seems to have died down a little.  We have a treat this morning at the job site: Lewis is bringing sausage biscuits for breakfast, along with some tater tot like potatoes.  What a sweet guy he is!! 
Rick and Arletta work on fence post holes. 
     Today I again spread MUD.  All day.  By the end of the day, Arletta came inside and said, “Ginger, have you noticed you are the ONLY one still doing mud?”  I told her I was aware of it!  More corners, mostly….now working on third coat.  I wasn’t using the corner tool, but rather the regular flat blade.  Mudding is losing its novelty… I started getting mixed messages about the job I was doing which didn’t help.  However… needs to be finished!
Rick helps Pam with corner post. 
     It was somewhat a strange day.  Mike was in and out a lot, picking up the post hole auger, then fence posts, etc.  Carl and Isy were all day again in the garage.  Rick ended up sanding walls, then mudding again before lunch, and more sanding.  After lunch he opted to go outside and help realign the fence post holes and then help Pam with some molding on the porch support. 
I added a little Einstein
hair to a picture of Carl
on the wall.
My latent artist emerges!
  By afternoon the sky was clearing and the sun was shining.  High temp for the day was still only in the 50’s, but we ate lunch outside because it LOOKED warmer!  (Most of us had jackets on anyway!)
     Showers, dinner, and an evening in the library on the internet! 
     Addendum:  Library was a bust.  Couldn't get connected to the internet this time around.  So back to the trailer, and then Pam came with me to McDonalds for a little internet time.  (Unfortunately I just found out she forgot the adapter to connect her notebook to the internet!  :( )  


TUESDAY, April 2
Hobbs Habitat Build Day 6
    This can be very brief today:  COLD.  WIND.  MUD.  INSULATION.
Corner mudding!
Rick plays in the attic with an
insulation hose!
     I spent the day mudding corners.  Everytime I thought I was done, more appeared, including the entire upper ceiling level of the vaulted living room!  Agh!  By 1:30, Rick was even back with a mud tray in hand!  Barbara worked on mud all day, Sandy a little in the afternoon.  Pam and Arletta sanded.  Carl & Isy spent the day working on the garage door. 
A portrait of Barbara on
     The morning project, other than mudding, was the attic insulation blow-in.  Rick was manning the nozzle end and shooting the insulation in, while Kathy helped find holes and maneuvered the hose through the hole.  Sandy fed the machine in the garage.  It was noisy and cold work for those in the attic!
Rick did end back up with a mud blade!
    Another weather front is moving in and today was cold and windy.  Mike went and got a heater to put inside, partly to keep us warm, but also to help the mud dry faster!  Forecast was for cool night and possibly rain. 
     Soup sounded good, so I picked up a few cans at Dollar Tree when I went out to the Weight Watchers Meeting at the Lutheran Church.  I was able to use my At-Work Pass just fine, could compare my purchased scales with the WW scales.  Slowly getting back down to my goal weight. 
     Tomato Soup and popcorn for dinner!  Well, Rick ate crackers, but he didn’t whine too much when I made microwave popcorn!  I borrowed Pam’s mini-kite (yes, it had been successfully rescued!) to make a pattern from it. 

MONDAY, April 1
Rest and Relaxation Day!
Click HERE for a few pictures....
     Ah....another chance to sleep in!!  Glorious! (Which really means I stayed in bed until 6:35 instead of 6:10 or so!)  I took the opportunity to steal about a hour of leisure reading BEFORE spending time with God.  Hmmmm....did I learn anything from Easter Sunday???  
Pam launches her Easter Monday kite. 
My sandal ties add to the tail.
Caught in the tree. 
    Morning spent drawing, relaxing, and while Rick took a bike ride, I periodically stepped outside to help Pam who was flying her little portable kite.  Part of the Easter Monday celebration in Jamaica (where Pam served two years with Peace Corp) is kite flying!!!  Massive crowds of kite flyers!!  So, I took a few pictures of Pam to send to her Jamaican friends and then went back into the trailer to continue drawing.  Back out a moment later to offer one of the ties from my Sekko sandals to add to the tail as it needed more weight.  That worked perfectly, and now it looked like the kite had a forked tongue!  Later, I heard a 'Uh oh!'  The string grip of the kite has been blown right out of her hand, wrapped once around the telephone wire, and was now hung up on the electric box at the top of the utility pole.  The kite was still dancing in the sky! Eventually it twisted, fell into one of the pecan trees and got stuck.  Long story short, when the wind died for a moment, the kite fell to the ground and Pam cut the string.  We are still waiting to see if Isy can help get the string holder off the telephone line. 
     I am now at the library again.  Rick is cruising the internet on San Antonio, I am catching up on postings, and then will do the same.  A little Albertsons shopping should complete our strenuous day!!    Back to work in the morning!  

He is Risen! 
Click HERE to view pictures
     The Easter bunny came to our trailers here in Habi-town!  Rick discovered it on the trailer step when he went out to exercise this morning.  A little plastic bowl with grass and two eggs, filled with Hugs and Kisses!  Also
Our Easter basket from Bunny Pam!
weighed down with a rock because the wind was blowing HARD this morning!!  The trailer was rocking!  (We suspect Bunny Pam was responsible!)
My basket of acorn caps. 
Front entrance of church and EGGS!
     We cleaned up into our best clothes, picked up Barb and Pam, and headed to the church a little before 9am.  The breakfast was fabulous: breakfast burritos, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, orange juice and coffee. All that would have made it PERFECT was fruit!  Pam and I went downstairs and to the lawn at the front of the church to watch the kids hunt for the Easter eggs which were laden all over!  We had our own hunt as well: for the acorn caps that were abundantly spread along the walkway.  I filled my coffee cup basket. 
     I took a few pictures of kids during the breakfast, but wish I had one of two little sisters decked out in frills, including ruffly pantaloons that matched their dresses.  Mom had obviously curled the long hair of the older daughter.  I thought of the Kelley girls and how beautiful they must look today in church!  
     A good service together and then back to Habi-town.  Pam offered to drive to McDonalds, so the three of us gals headed off for a little internet time while Rick watched one of the March Madness games on TV.  When Pam ran out of power (she forgot her cord), we headed back – just in time for her to see the end of the Michigan game on our TV!!  Phone calls with Moms, and then ready to head out to dinner.  I knew Barb was low on cash, so Rick and I offered to buy her a salad bar dinner (what we were getting) if she wanted to come.  She instantly said yes, and then rummaged around in her suitcase and brought out a pair of beautiful turquoise blue tie dye socks to barter for her meal!  They are ‘bamboo’ socks and VERY soft but strong feeling. 
Easter Dinner at the Cattle Baron: Ginger, Barbara, Izy, Kathy,
and Pam.  Thanks Rick for taking the picture! 
     We ALL ordered salad bar menus and had a wonderful time and conversation at the Cattle Baron.  We picked a perfect time to go at 4:15 – the buffet brunch crowd gone and the dinner crowd not yet arrived.  After dinner we drove on out the road to Wal-Mart since we were close anyway.  Picked up our salad stuff for the week and a few other groceries. 
     More conversation, reading, and relaxing to round out a blessed Easter day!  Best of all….the wind died down in the afternoon and it was warm, sunny, and gorgeous!!  

SATURDAY, March 30
Hobbs Build Day 5
Click HERE to view pictures from all week

     Dew damp wet again this morning!  But the high today is suppose to be in the 80’s, so things are going to warm up! And probably get muggy! .....
Rick vows this might be the LAST
picture I take of him mudding! 
     Rick and I again spent the ENTIRE day applying mud to the sheetrock.  Rick was not a very happy camper and when he got done with the second bedroom at closing time, said that was it!  He will dig post holes on Tuesday if he has to, but NO MORE MUD!   (I don’t think he enjoys it very much!)
Corner work on the second coat of mud!  
     I gradually moved up today from the windows, to fixing the flats of the open doorways, to second coat nail holes, to any flat seams that needed a second coat, to eventually learning how to use the corner tool and putting the second coat into the corner joints.  That is not a very fun job, and unfortunately my corners remaining to be done were all the top ceiling to wall corners – overhead stuff holding a heavy load of mud!  My left arm is definitely going to feel it tomorrow! 
     Rest of crew worked to finish the trim paint, dissemble the scaffolding, apply trim to the porch area and support pole.  Eventually Mike picked up the rest of the outside doors and Kathy and Sandy went to work installing those.  Everyone seemed to have a job to do.  Lewis joined us again today, as well as Debbie, the homeowner.  She worked out in the sun leveling some of the front yard.
Mike's middle child 'helps' sweep up a bedroom.  
     We were also joined during the morning by 3 of Mike’s 5 kids!  Two girls and a little guy running around in rubber boots!  One daughter had mismatched tennis shoes without laces, and the littlest son, who was there for awhile with Mom and baby sister, was clumping around in cowboy boots, on the wrong foot!  Pretty cute! 
     Right around noon a jeep style car pulling a storage trailer arrived.  It was Barbara, our last Care-a-Vanner volunteer!  What a rig she travels in!  No plumbing, mostly a bed and a dog!  She is probably in her 50’s, has been full-timing for 11 years, living a gypsy lifestyle – volunteering here and there, odd jobs here and there.  Quite the eccentric character!  She worked in Cruces for awhile (we also found out that Sandy was there right after the build Rick and I were on). 
Last week the wind toppled one of the outhouses.
Mike's daughter put it upright again today!!!  
     After quitting time, Rick and I highballed it back to the trailer, changed from our work clothes and loaded up all the laundry to find the Wishy Washy Laundromat over by the K-Mart store.  Pam soon joined us!  It was busy, but we were able to snag a couple of machines and had all the laundry done within a little over an hour!  A stop at Subway enroute home for dinner sandwiches, and back to the trailer to relax and for Rick to watch basketball games! 
     So ends our first week at Habitat Hobbs!!!   We are taking Pam with us in the morning to attend the Easter breakfast and services at the Presby church. 
     Addendum – I went over to Pam’s trailer to see about a possible game and we ended up going down to visit Barbara and check out her ‘trailer’.  Oh my!  It is a 12’ cargo trailer with a side door.  She has the walls covered with fur blankets and gaily colored scarves. Carpeting on the floor, a bunk bed with her boxes of clothing on the top bunk.  A rail across the back for hanging clothes, a trunk up front with a few cooking items on top.  It truly looks like a gypsy wagon!!  Since she is on the end, she set up her ‘bathroom’ out back with a blue tarp – a little porta potty and a solar shower hanging from the tree.  She is a most interesting individual to chat with….she does most of the talking, but overall it was a good conversation.  She indicated an interest in attending church with us in the morning.    During a tour of our trailers, Pam ended up staying in with Rick and watching the basketball game while Barb and I talked outside her place. 

FRIDAY, March 29
Hobbs Build Day 4

     Today was amazingly DAMP!  There was dew on the truck, and the windows were ‘fogged’ up this morning.  What is going on?  This is the dry southwest!  A slight chance of rain is forecast for this afternoon and evening.
Rick really has been working...
can't you tell?
    Not much new to report for today.  While
Mudding down the metal trim edges. 
the rest of the crew worked on building the porch post and painting the exterior (final touches and trim work), Rick, myself, and a couple others worked all day inside with the mud and tape on the drywall.  I graduated to windows and doorframes (mudding over my metal corner trim!).  Rick finished the main bathroom, another closet, and the main hallway before finishing up in the garage with Carl.  I STILL have a couple windows to finish up in the morning.  Each window involves 12 separate steps for the initial mud and tape job.  I don’t mind the ‘mudding’, but not sure I would want to make it a career! 
Mike relaxes after a little sanding
     We were joined this morning by a long-time local volunteer, Lewis, from the Presby Church.  Pam and I sat with Lewis last night at the Maundy Thursday service.  He has limited mobility, but is the dearest man!!  He wants to bring us all breakfast next week.  Mike said he used to volunteer all the time, and thinks he is back because of the Care-a-Vanners. 
Jared brought us lunch so we set up a
table in the living room. 
We also met Jared today, a Hobb drug counselor who brought us lunch, compliments of a local restaurant.  Brisket or chicken fajita burritos, chips, and tea.  It was nice to have the meal brought in and Jared visited with us and shared Hobbs living conditions with us.  (He thought only about 25% of high school students go on to college. Ouch!) 
     Back to the trailer and Rick took a walk while I biked down to the library with hopes to grab a little internet time.  It was a good ride into a west wind – all for naught.  The library closed at noon for Good Friday.  (Students also had the day off today from school!)  At least the ride back was swifter with the wind at my back! 
     Evening watching the Oregon Ducks get killed in March Madness Basketball.  Sad face.  :(  

THURSDAY, March 28
Hobbs Build Day 3

     Warmer today.  Much warmer!  I shed my long cotton shirt right after devotions I think.  I used my Habitat Hands Up scribble for this morning’s message. 
     Rick finished sheetrocking in the garage this morning.  Messy work on the slant of the wall.  Not easy, especially since it was a transition from ½” sheetrock to 5/8” as well.  I guess the heavier is necessary for a fire barrier.  He then worked on cleaning up the pile of sheetrock and other scraps until lunch. 
Doesn't the water heater
frame look lovely??
     I put the metal corner trim around the hot water framing as soon as Rick had it screwed in, and then went in to the master bathroom to help the gals in there.  I couldn’t finish my window until they finished the wall!  By lunch time, the bathroom was completely done!  Whew! 
Pam screws in part of the
bathroom wall.  
  After lunch, Rick and I learned to TAPE and MUD!!  Mike asked for volunteers who would like to learn (and the other option was to paint!) so we said YES!  After an initial lesson, Rick headed to a bedroom closet and I worked on the laundry room alcove – both good ‘starter’ places as they don’t show very much!!  My first attempt was a little shaky, but then I got better!  I didn’t get beyond the laundry area, but maybe tomorrow morning.  We still have a few closets left to do the initial tape and mud. 
     Pam and I are going to the Maundy Thursday soup supper and service tonight at the Presbyterian Church.  It will be nice to go with someone!  She is an amazing gal….travels alone, living in her WolfPup trailer or with one of her two kids, either in Texas or Pennsylvania.  Has taught in Guam, Peace Corps in Jamaica, host volunteers at National Parks, and has worked on many Habitat blitz builds.  Hobbs is her first Care-a-Vanner experience. I couldn't think who she reminds me of, but Rick nailed it....Jan Bonn!  And that is an ultimate compliment to BOTH OF YOU!!  
     I have been collecting my treasures again beginning with CHRPA.  Not sure what kind of sculpture will be built, but….. I have toilet parts, electronic wires, screws, sheetrock, roofing mesh (complete with a little tar!), metal corners, etc. in my bag of goodies!  Today I added some drywall tape.  All of it is materials that would have been bound for the dumpster!  

Hobbs Build Day 2
Click HERE to view pictures
     Above freezing last night equals a beautiful morning!  I will have to remember to take a peek at the full moon this evening.  It is beautiful in the clear skies. 
     Pam gave the devotion this morning – a passage from 1 Cor. which was very appropriate – we are co-workers with God as Habitat volunteers.  I am on for tomorrow – need to check my booklet for which one I want to use. 
Rick and Carl lift a 'puzzle piece' into place while Izy
waits to put in the screws. 
     Today Rick, Carl, and Izy tackled the remaining sheet rock to install in the living room: the whole front wall and then the slanted gables at both ends.  A lot of ‘fussy’ work – but they put it all together like a fine jigsaw puzzle!  After lunch, they were back out in the garage finishing up there. 
     Mike asked for a volunteer this morning to learn how to install the metal corner molding on the sheet-rock.  I said, “Hmmm… bathroom cement board or something new??  I volunteer!!!”  As it turned out, I wasn’t strong enough to use the cool tool he has purchased for the job.  You had to hit this corner thing with a mallet really hard and it drove part of the metal molding into the sheetrock and held the molding in place.  When Mike demonstrated, it went bam bam bam, done!  I couldn’t hit it hard enough for the metal to dig in. 
Hammer and nail technique on the
corner molding pieces! 
So….plan B.  Mike sent me out to the trailer to get the box of drywall nails and I spent the rest of the day nailing all the corner pieces into place.  Every outside corner, all windows, and two doorwalls that didn’t have doors had to be done.   I finished the front window at quitting time, using the LAST nail in my pouch in the final hole!   Tomorrow I still have the bathroom window to do, but the sheetrock isn’t installed there yet, plus the frame for the water heater.  My job today meant I worked by myself all day, but that was ok.  I went into the bathroom a couple times to help out with lifting panels into place or holding while a cut was made.  The other three gals worked ALL day in that space.  First they had to finish the cement board, and then start in on the rest of the sheetrock.  Of course it is a bathroom, so lots of ‘cut-outs’. 
The 'bathroom' crew: Arletta, Pam, Kathy
     Definitely warmed up today!  Shed down to my t-shirt by afternoon.  Tomorrow we may be seeking the shade for lunch as it is suppose to be in the 80’s. 
     Stopped at the Stripe again for a drink enroute home.   Got home to find a Class C RV just pulling in from Washington state.  Sandy has arrived!  Sandy is a single woman who was here for the first three Hobbs builds, went down to Mason TX for a couple, and since they were ahead of schedule and we were short workers, returned to Hobbs.  Kathy and Izy worked with her early on and we happy to see her!  So….we are now 5 RVs at the Habi-town park with one more expected on Friday I think. 
     After dinner we hope to seek out the McDonalds or library for a little internet time!   As folks can obviously see, my posting will be sporadic for the next few weeks....we have to go find the wifi service to use.  :(  
     I think I am going to be sore tomorrow.  I pounded ALOT of nails today.  Granted they weren't the huge 16 penney ones for framing, but every six inches on a number of strips adds up!  
TUESDAY, March 26
Hobbs Build Day 1

     Another cold night, but we managed to keep the water unfrozen this time around!  Hopefully this was the last of the subfreezing night temperatures!  It was a brisk 48 degrees in the trailer when I got up at 6.  Apparently opening up the front end dropped our temps that much.  (Overnight low was again around 24 degrees.)
     Ready to go and head out to the job sight at 7:45.  Mike, both our construction supervisor and the Habitat affiliate director, led us in devotions for the day.  Then the traditional Hands Up! And we get to work! 
     We are a small crew compared to the builds we have done before in Pagosa and Cruces.  Just the 7 of us plus Mike.  The entire garage still needs to be sheet-rocked, including the ceiling.  The lift has to be returned
Pam cuts some sheetrock.  Don't be fooled
by the sunshine.  It was COLD! 
tomorrow, so getting the ceiling finished today was critical.  The three men worked in the garage, while the four of us women tackled a bunch of little unfinished nooks and crannies in the house – closets, doorways, etc.  A major job was the panel in the kitchen that included dishwasher pipes, outlets, etc.  Kate did most of the figuring on that one.  I found I remember my sheet-rocking skills easily and was able to tie in well.  Rick did the same in the garage.  We took a break at 10, and then lunch at 12:15, eating out in the lee of the house in the sunshine.  The wind has picked up again today, and the BRISK morning made the work cold for the first few hours.  The sun, without the wind, felt really good! 
Kathy & Izy at break time. 
     We did have to tackle something new for me just before stopping for the day:  cutting the cement board (rockboard?) that backs the shower enclosure.  A sheet of it is only 3’x5’ and HEAVY!!  It took all four of us to put a panel into place and get it screwed in.  The cement board screws are MUCH harder to drive into the wall!  I accidentally used a drywall screw once, had to back it out, and then found the rock screw much easier to install.  I used that technique for the rest of them! 

Rick does a little figuring
in the garage. 
  The house we are working on is the third in this block.  Habitat has received the property from the city, complete with the basic services provided up to the property line: streets, curbs, water, electric, sewer, etc.  There is enough property to build 20 more homes here.  Our house has T-11 gray siding on the outside, but will have a red brick wainscoating on the lower half of the front.  The garage is accessed from the back via a paved alley/driveway. 
     We cleaned up for the day and were ready to leave the site by 3pm.  Rick and I stopped for a cold drink enroute home and spent the next couple of hours showering and reading!  Perhaps tomorrow I will take the opportunity to head into town and go on-line and post everything! 
     I confess I spent the rest of the evening also finishing the book I started reading from Cruces.  I realized I wasn’t going to get anything else finished until the book was done! 

MONDAY, March 25
Habitat Build Meeting
Agh!  I didn't take ANY pictures today!

     Brrr!  Again!  I checked the temp when we got up this morning and it was 25 degrees outside, but 54 inside the trailer!  Our little heater cracked it out all night long.  I think it really helped leaving the front folded up.  However, even though I got up at 5am to deliberately flush the toilet again and run hot water in both taps, I didn’t run enough when I got up at 6:45.  When Rick got up at 8, the pipe had frozen!  Fortunately, by 9 or so, the sun was on the water pipe and things had melted.  Could be the same again on Tuesday morning. 
     As I write tonight until the beauty of a crystal clear sky and an almost full moon, I say thanks for a day of complete relaxation!  We were lazy this morning…readying, drawing, etc.  Showered and rode our bikes the mile and a half down to the Presbyterian Church where the Habitat office is located.  Box lunches had been provided for us, and in general the group just got to know our supervisor, Mike Henderson, and Pastor Howard of the church.  We also met Retha, who is the administrative assistant part-time, but she had to leave.  At this point we are a crew of 7, with two more singles to join us later in the week.  We will learn more in the morning, but anticipate sheet-rocking first! 
     The predicted winds today didn’t materialize, which was nice because the air was cool even though the sun was shining!  After Rick and I got back to the trailer, I sat out in the sun for over an hour reading my book.  Rick was instead reading….and napping! 
     Kitchen work included making the week’s salad, cooking up some eggs for fast tortillas in the mornings, cutting up a mango and a cantaloupe.  And then….making dinner!  This evening we took a walk out around the huge practice field for football and soccer.  The stadium is top-rate; the town definitely has oil money! 
     In fact, we learned at the Habitat meeting why the need for housing in Hobbs is critical.  The town has grown nearly 19% in the past 10 years due to a surge in oil and gas, potash, and a uranium refinery just south.  The oil companies are buying up cheap housing and hotel rooms (going rate is $209 per night!)  The rent on a minimum quality home is about $1000 up to $2000 a month.  Ridiculous!  Quality workers who can pass a drug test are out in the oil fields, so service workers who actually realize what SERVICE means are few.  The local Wal-mart has the reputation of being the most ‘inhospitable’ Wal-mart in the country!  But overall…it is easy to navigate, not as hot as we anticipated…yet, and the people are friendly. 
     Time to bundle up and be ready to return to the construction field in the morning!