Monday, October 27, 2008

Pass Christian Day 4

New day, new hope and great sunshine. As you may recall yesterday was kind of a rough day for me and my students, but today was destined to be different. We’ve had a little bit of rain the past two days and now with a crystal blue morning in front of us, we were ready to get back to our tasks at hand.

Joe and Tom headed off again to work on their siding project and we headed back to Cheri’s at 7:30 a.m. As soon as we got there, everyone got busy either cleaning up our mess from yesterday, moving her few belongings from upstairs to downstairs and removing the bracing that held our post in post while the concrete dried

Then the fun began. We have been living dangerously the past two days with the wobbly stair case, deck and railing. Add some rain to the mix and now we have slippery and dangerous. Until today, we needed stairs to get upstairs to get what demo work we had to do and to get down her “stuff” and all during that time we could hardly wait to “bring them down!!”

Larry and I headed down to the Pass to pick up some supplies and with just a little instruction from me, the students had the pleasure of demolishing the deck. By the time we got back (about half hour) it was down and they were piling up the scrap. We all spent about an hour bending over nails, stacking the material and cleaning up any and all scrap and by 9:00, the deck was no more. Seeing the deck gone, the upstairs demo-ed and cleaned up seemed to light the fire for the students, Verne and myself.

With that task behind us, we began framing the new addition floor. I had a group of students layout and install joist hangers on the ledger we would attached to the house and the rest of us began cutting to length and notching the post to hold our built up beams (2- 2 x 12 pressure treated lumber). By noon, we had the notches done,(using chain saws, skill saws and sawzalls) and all the ledgers ready to install. Cheri arrived with 5 boxes of pizza and pop, and I thought it appropriate to take lunch (nice of me wasn’t it?).

As I was finishing up my lunch, I looked at what we had left to do and decided to set a challenge to Verne and my students. I announced to them that I believed that if we worked as a team, we could easily have the entire floor system framed and ready for floor sheathing by 4:00, (it now being 12:30) Well they took the challenge and after discussing what jobs needed to be done and in what order, we set up our teams and off we went.

It was truly amazing to watch; other than helping out once in awhile with some technical advice and demonstrations, Verne and the students went after the job. There was quite a bit to do. Install the ledger and rim boards, check for alignments and straightness, check for square, measure and cut all joist to length, and install all the joist perfectly on layout and nailed so they were structurally sound.

We did it and had 5 minutes to spare. I was really proud of what they had accomplished and let them know so. It was just too cool to see how they all pulled together, experienced students teaching new students, the efficiency they developed, the team work and more importantly, the satisfaction of setting a goal and attaining it and doing it with superb quality. Did I say I was proud? If not, well I was.

Cheri was completely blown away how much we got done today. She was even more surprised when I guaranteed her, that by Tuesday noon, all her exterior walls would be up and sheathed and all her interior walls would be completed as well. (Haven’t told the students and Verne that yet, but they will know tomorrow morning.)

With that we packed up with our spirits high and headed down to Shaggy’s on the beach to have some appetizers and some cool drinks. Our conversation there centered on what we did today and that knowing we got Cheri that much closer to finally having her home back.

I really wish all of you could have been here today. What an experience for me as a teacher and better yet what an experience for the students and Verne. I know they are coming back charged up to tell of their experience and encourage others to come down and help.

Hard to imagine how in just a few shorts hours I went from being upset and frustrated with system I have no control over, to a day of pure joy and a sense of accomplishment. Again, I wish all of you could have such and experience.

Tomorrow we’ll sheath the floor, snap wall lines with a goal of completing by noon. Then I’ll let the students enjoy the day at the beach or what ever else they would like to do. Life is good, even when facing frustration and desolation.


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