Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2006 - Flood Relief work

On Saturday, August 15, eleven of us drove to Cedar Rapids for Flood Relief work. Nine of us spent the entire day painting, while two others were assigned finish-carpentry work in a nearby house. We painters finished the ceilings and walls of the entire downstairs, including the breezeway and garage-turned-family room! The photo (above) is of the home we painted.

On (this past) Saturday, October 24, a group of six of us return to Cedar Rapids. Four of us had painted on the house described above.

There is now a "Block by Block" initiative sponsored in part and managed by our church denomination. It was wonderful to see the tool trailers, holding any tool and/or implement one might need, sitting conveniently near any house that was being worked on.We witnessed work being done on a two-block area. Our home was very near the corner of one block. Next to "our home" were three others with volunteers from around the state, as well as locally, were working. On the back side of our block, abutting our backyards, were the sounds of work in other homes. On the block past ours, there were also homes being restored by volunteers, on both sides of the block.

This small series of photos show most of the block in which we were working.
(I was returning to our house from a porta potty at the far end of the block.)
(Looking from the house above down the block towards our house.)
Our house is the green one... past the yellow wheelbarrow and to the left of the last pile of junk.
Our house is this next one... the green one.
Once I found myself standing on the sidewalk in front of our house, I zoomed in a bit to photograph people working on the house beside us.

It was a beautiful, sunny day... just cool enough to make working hard a comfortable endeavor.

This is our house. It was not a large home. The damage to be addressed was again on the first floor. We began by surveying the situation with an on-site coordinator who was very skilled himself. There were very specific problems to address in this 100 +/- year-old home... including leveling about 1/2 or more of the floor by replacing (he first thought) one floor joist in the basement. It soon became clear that our fellows were very apt. Their skills and problem-solving abilities were up to the task, and they created and replaced four beams ... or two full ones and two 1/2 lengths.
Am I correct in my terms? Are these not beams, instead of joists, that are being created?
*This is "Shady, Junior" ;-)
This is the way they were taken to the basement (through a window). The coordinator is on othe right.
Setting the beam with a jack. (Coordinator's son on the right)
These next two photos show the new beams in place.
Looking up at this ceiling, you can see the old joists...
Some of our fellows worked back and forth within the jobs that needed to be done. I, on the other hand, was the only female with very limited experience but a clear mind about doing whatever I could, stayed upstairs and helped with the installation of OSB subflooring.

Oh...okay. Here I am, somewhat posing... sheesh.
(that pink thing is my camera case)

By early afternoon, it became apparent that while some beams had definitely improved the situation upstairs, one area was stubbornly resisting their efforts. This area proved to need extra care and understanding (beyond the not-so-gentle persuasion being used below!)...
(The coordinator swings mightily.)...which resulted in whittling an uneven original ceiling beam that went 1/2 way across the ceiling below, adding more floor joists, and in just plain replacing part of the floor with a sheet of thicker (3/4") OSB subfloor.

Before this OSB was laid permanently, a couple more joists were added in the basement for stability... into which screws were drilled - holding down this panel of OSB.
We were not able to finish laying the 1/2" OSB, but it won't take long for someone else to finish the job. (Meanwhile, the finished product looks great!)

Also addressed was 1) the small but precise job of creating a 2x4 box with an additional upright to fill a space that might have been once a window, to better secure future sheet rock,
(Mr. Shady and Shady Junior)
and 2) a header (below) in the ceiling of the first floor that was quite in need of leveling. This took the use of another jack to raise it to its proper height on one side and add another 4x4 support, from floor to the header, to keep it level. The jack was then removed.

With all the sweeping, sweeping, and re-sweeping, as well sweeping and cleaning the basement, we left our home with the look of Promise! The hope of restoration will be finished by those who can do the necessary electrical work, sheet rock, flooring, painting, trim, etc.

Eventually the original home owner will be moving back into her home. We are feeling privileged and happy to have played a part in this rebuilding effort!

I was so proud of our fellows. They worked with the coordinator (and his son, who worked until noon) so wonderfully. They accomplish a LOT and the coordinator was very happy and quite satisfied with the days' work!

The OSB subfloor that was laid... this photo looks to the right,

and the photo below looks to the left of the front door.
Check out the above photo: On the right, you can see the 3/4" OSB that was laid in the floor.

As an aside, last Summer I was able to work with a group in Oakville. Later, Mr. Shady (but not I) traveled to and worked on a house in Iowa City.

Before leaving Cedar Rapids, Melissa (a main coordinator) stated that they're so grateful for the many, many volunteers that come to work and accomplish so much. But, it sounds as though November's slate of volunteers (so far) is slim. I wonder if we could get a group together to head back up next month??

Wouldn't YOU be interested in helping? Believe it or not, a group of workers in one of these houses was from Northwood, Iowa. This is a small town in North Central Iowa, just off Interstate 35 and south of the Minnesota about 12 miles or so. :-) This is very near where I grew up. It was fun to meet them!

Have a wonderful day!!

PS As a footnote, I wanted to mention that the owner of this home is a 70+ year old widow who thought she had no recourse but to purchase a FEMA trailer in which to live. Due to meetings that are being held during this "Block by Block" rebuilding endeavor, the residents and home owners are learning that their homes ARE being rebuilt with the promise and/or hope that they will be able to return to their homes before too long. A blessing from these meetings are that they are able to establish relationships and friendships and gain encouragement during this bleak time in their lives.


Nutty Gnome said...

Whew, what a bust time - and WHAT an excellent project.
I'm in awe of what is going on there.
Than you so much for sharing this. :)

Nutty Gnome said...

ooops, that should say 'busy', not bust!

Shady Gardener said...

Nutty Gnome, It IS Awesome in more ways than you might think! You and Himself would fit right in! :-)

jo©o said...

Hiya Shady,
I am cruising your many blogs.

What an undertaking and how refreshing to have something like that spontaneously organized.

BTW, where were you when we got flooded out last year :-)

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joco, Thanks for perusing... I just discovered some crazy comments (deleted them) in the above posts.

Hopefully you are never flooded again, but just in case... :-)

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I enjoy being outdoors! I also love that I've two children (now grown up with families of their own)and six young grandchildren! :-) Sure would like to see them more often!!