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My Day in the Sun with Habitat for Humanity

06.03.11 By //
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So, it turns out I’m afraid of heights! Who knew? Really afraid of heights… and shaky ladders, and doing tasks on shaky ladders at really high heights…eek! But what an amazing day of accomplishments it was for me, and one I will hopefully repeat often! Well perhaps not the shaky ladder 25-30 feet in the air hanging stucco wire at the apex of an A-Frame roof line…but the volunteering for a day of hard work for a really good cause! The day of the build, it was warm, not hot, and yet I still managed to sunburn my guts out, and my allergies were kicked into overdrive. Yet still, I managed to overcome my fear of heights and do something I never in my life imagined I would do! I am so proud of myself and the gals who were working on this same task alongside me, and our leader Christine! She was the gal with the know-how, who taught us and helped with this monumental job we were taking on. Little did we know how trying and difficult this job would be when we meagerly raised our hands at the beginning of the day. Reality set in quickly. We actually thought that perhaps after lunch that we would be replaced by others and get an easier job that was possibly inside or at least didn’t involve a ladder. I see now that this would have been silly since it would have required the fill-in gals to relearn what we had already figured out and become moderately proficient in. Not to mention, I somehow think there wouldn’t exactly have been an overabundance of volunteers for this particular job… Where to begin…well let’s see…the sign on the project site, made me proud! I know, probably silly, but true nonetheless!

I have to tell you…this neighborhood and the area surrounding it, not to mention the house itself, were absolutely beautiful! Shock and awe, as I suppose I was expecting something a little lesser and not quite so nice. The houses on the street of the project site are pretty amazing. You can see in the images below that the house itself will be something of a master piece when it’s complete. Tiled roof, covered patio, and with all of that stucco wire hung, she is ready for them to spray her down and one step closer to completion! Exciting right?

And here is a bit of a look at our task of finishing off the remaining space on the south side of the house that still needed the stucco wire. The highest part and also the apex of the roof line, which meant that the stucco wire needed to not only be hung and nailed in place, but trimmed into the appropriate shape for this remaining section. It’s not that stucco wire is particularly heavy on it’s own, but let me tell you it puts up quite a fight and with your hands in the air, raised up over your head, the task of pushing it into place and swinging a hammer to nail it down and cut it into the proper shape, while the giant roll of the wire is trying to eat your head and throw you to the ground, is a struggle I simply can’t put into words for you all! You can see the hanging piece below that was our greatest foe.

The two gals below trimming out the vent with the snips, 25 feet in the air and nailing it down while they were at it…no easy task! Aren’t they incredible? I am proud to have worked with these 2 ladies in particular, Bianca and Vivian, because Vivian was fearless, and so she really punched the clock on this project…but Bianca, just like me, is afraid of heights. The 2 of us really had a lot to overcome to even get up on the ladder in the first place, much less move around once we were up there! She was braver than I, and faced her fears head on…so proud… and really gave me the courage to go up there and give it a go, myself. If she hadn’t have done it, I am not so sure I could have. It was that scary! I mean…really, if you didn’t think it was scary for the first part of the day, putting the ladder at a 30 degree angle over the neighbors fence would probably have done the job! Vivian was up there like a champ, not afraid in the slightest bit, but becoming a bit weary after an entire day of climbing up and down the ladder and tackling this project. That alone is enough to make you want to run home crying like a little baby (trust me, I thought about it!) then you factor in having to raise, lower, level the ground, and move that ladder every foot or so, it was truly an exhausting day. And the snipping, snipping, snipping away of the wire was killer on the old arms, I don’t care to revisit that anytime soon!

This wire put up a struggle there is no doubt about it, but in the end we finally beat that sucker into submission and man did it feel amazing to know that we were able to not only conquer our fears but get the job done, and done well! There were moments I wasn’t sure the outcome would be quite as fabulous as it really was, like when we had to place the ladder on the other side of the fence to finish a small section at the top, and it gave me a moment of pause for sure! But we did it, and just look how amazingly we were able to snip and shape that dang wire, perfectly right up against the roof line! Beautiful no?

A job well done, by one and all, but honestly, especially by our small group. We had the toughest job that was likely done on the entire build up to this point, and probably tougher than any job yet to come. We left this day feeling tired, shaky, and absolutely ecstatic to be finished, but nothing quite compared to seeing the job finished and admiring our work, knowing all of the fears we overcame to do it! I have a new appreciation for home building, it’s no joke! And I can’t wait to get back out there, and do it all over again…maybe a job on the ground would be a good place to start (fingers crossed)! If you would like to check out Habitat for Humanity build sites near you, visit their website and poke around a bit. You may even find some women build events…who knows! You will learn a lot and leave exhausted, that I can guarantee!

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