Monday, July 21, 2008

Extreme Build 2008

We're back from the Extreme Build. It was an amazing week. It was sunny and hot, but not humid, all week. When we showed up for work on Monday the walls were build but lying on the ground, the foundation and basement were in place, and there were floor boards on the house. We had to get the floor laid and the walls up. By the end of lunch that stuff was in place and Daddy had almost passed out from exhaustion. Mostly I helped carry things and pass flooring and walls up to the house. Still it was a lot of fun watching Bessie, Sarah, and Jacob drive the first nails on the front wall of what was to be their new house. On Tuesday we built scaffolding and began putting on OSB and insulation. It was fun climbing on the scaffolding as we put it up on the back of the house. Wednesday and Thursday were taken up with putting on siding (several false starts) and soffits. Thursday also involved bending metal to cover the face boards of the roof. Friday involved repairing the siding on last year's Extreme Build house. I got to be the crew chief for the scaffolding portion of that job. "I don't know anything about that. Scaffolding I can do. It's like tinker toys." (my response to a question that morning). Friday afternoon and evening afforded the pleasure of working with daddy on building a door for the crawl space and working on the side porch. Saturday involved more porch work including digging "China-holes", building the stairs, and some more metal bending. Saturday also involved the house dedication where we prayed for the house and handed Bessie her keys.
Highlights included getting to know the GBC crew better, especially all the time we spent with Ken, Gina, and Taylor Whittle, and watching 88 year old Vic Carr (who still remembers me as the little boy crawling under the pews at Gano Avenue) build a house. Other highlights were listening to stories from Bob Durbin from Irvine and a lot of the other crew members, learning to use the brake for bending and cutting aluminum, getting to know Fred Doyle, Jim, Mary, Drew, Bob Jones, the Texas crew, getting busted for using an effective but very non-standard scaffolding extension ("No. You can't use the ladder like that." "We've been using it all morning." "Well, now you've been caught."), watching Jacob's joy when Daddy presented him with an engraved hammer, seeing Bessie and her kids working so hard on their house and the support from their family, seeing Mom start to take charge of the rest tent and nagging everyone to drink more water and Gatorade, the trips with the Whittles to Cumberland Falls for supper at DuPont Lodge and to see the moon bow, and to Natural Arch the next night even though we were all wiped out from our first full day of work--the first three days we did half days.
Over the course of a week a crew of 150 volunteers made of Baptist groups from all over Kentucky, from Indiana and Texas, a couple of Habitat teams from Louisville, a work crew from the local housing organization, and the Watson family built most of a house in order to show the love Jesus. We were disorganized and snippy at times and we didn't get it all done, there's a crew coming down today and tomorrow to try and complete it, but it was a good work and I'm glad to have been part of it. It was a good vacation. Of course it was also a special blessing to get that time to spend with Mom and Dad and to see how happy Daddy was to be carpentering again. I know he loves working at Toyota, but in his heart he'll always be a "hammy saw man." I took some pictures and if any of them survived the disintegration of the disposable camera I'll see about getting them up here.

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