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.
It was another build day for me with Habitat. In the past week, this is my 4th volunteer day and I’ve done it all. A critical home repair, a shift in the store, a deconstruction, and today a construction.
I arrived back in Globeville, just north of downtown Denver. This is a few blocks from my critical repair, and it’s a townhouse complex of 2 and 3 unit buildings that are being built on a large square of land. The last set of buildings is being done now, with our volunteers working on a 2 unit and 3 unit complex. There are already 20-30 buildings done, and then there’s a last 3 unit building that’s a few weeks behind the two we were working on.
This was an all single volunteer day, with no companies participating. We only had 3 young Americorps workers getting us set up, with supervisors for Habitat already working with professional contractors when we arrived. They said we’d mostly be painting, which I don’t like, but there were three spots for drywall in basements. I volunteered right away for that.
It wasn’t much work, and I thought we’d easily be done when I saw the first basement. We were only doing the spots around the stairs and HVAC stuff. With the interior of the section under the stairs done, we only had to cut around 80sq ft of drywall to fit around doorways and existing walls with OSB where water heaters were mounted.
The three of us worked with the Americorps guy and finished basement 1 by 10:30. With relatively straight cuts to make, we fell into a rhythm of measuring, cutting, and screwing things in. As the other two started to screw the last piece in, I carried equipment to the second basement.
This one was a mess. Probably only 40sq ft to do, but around lots of pipes. I called the Americorps guy and he said to skip this one for now. We went to the third basement, which was like the first, but more pipes in the way. We got halfway done before breaking for lunch.
It was cool in the basement, but I was glad to get out. I haven’t ever hung new drywall, so this was an adventure. I asked questions and learned how to match up pieces, putting the seams where I wouldn’t expect it. I learned how to cut it, and how to cut out electrical boxes, which wasn’t what I expected. I also learned it creates a ton of dust, which bothered me at times and I needed to walk to a window well and breath outside air a few times.
We managed to get two basements done and we’d gotten the large parts of the third one done, but not much around the pipes. I bet the next day’s crew takes all day to get that one done.
It felt good to help with that house and it was neat to see another way that Habitat is helping people. This site also had the names of the families on a sign in front of each house.
That’s it for my volunteer efforts this sabbatical time, but I’ll be looking to go to more in the future, probably taking some days off when I can.