Sabbatical – Day 25 – Deconstruction

My company, Red Gate software, has given me a 6 week sabbatical. I’m documenting the time with all the posts under a tag if you want to follow along.

This was a new volunteer day for me with Habitat for Humanity. I’d performed other tasks, but today was deconstruction. This is relatively new for the Denver affiliate and involves taking apart a house, usually as part of a remodel, and taking the building materials as a donation to be sold in the ReStores. Since the ReStores fund all the administrative costs for the Denver affiliate, they are able to build more houses.

Today I drove out to a fancy neighborhood, just E of downtown Denver. Checking on Zillow, I found the houses in this neighborhood sell for $1mm+ and I wasn’t surprised. Too close together for me, but they were nice houses, with lots of mature trees.

I arrived and wasn’t sure what to do. I found a contractor’s assistant there, setting up some trash bags, so I assumed I was in the right place, but when I asked him about Habitat, he had no idea. Fortunately an older gentlemen walked up who was also volunteering and told me that the Habitat guy was late. When he arrived, it was in a large rental truck, and we shook hands and unloaded lots of tool bags.

This deconstruction was for a kitchen remodel. We were removing 18 cabinet sets, some upper, some lower, some in an island. We also had to remove the upper crown molding and the countertops. I wasn’t sure how to do this, so I carried things to start, but the rest of the crew (5 of us in total) showed me where to look and the ways in which cabinets are put into a house.

We worked straight through to 1:30, and managed to remove all the cabinets except the one around the kitchen sink in the island. It was buried with electrical and water lines we didn’t want to disconnect. We also took out 4 pieces of granite, including the two large pieces that made a 3x15ft island. It was quite a bit of work, between digging out nails, getting screws out from tight locations, lifting heavy pieces and getting things loaded in the truck.

One extra nice thing was a second thank you email. I usually get an automated one from Habitat around 4 the day I volunteer. However I got a second one around 5 from the supervisor that had coordinated the deconstruction, thanking us for working through lunch and getting it done.

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