|Actual boots from my construction days.|
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
These Boots Were Made for Workin'
Do you remember that I used to do construction? (If you don't, click here). I often miss it but there's really no way I could handle it full time again. I probably couldn't handle it part time. But I can handle it very part time.
And do you remember tropical storms Irene and Lee? We made it through those with no serious damage at all and were able to go right back to wedding planning. A lot of our neighbors were way less fortunate and still aren't out of the woods. I just didn't have time to do anything real about it then, but now I do. I could have chosen any number of nearby places- there is still serious devastation all around us. The Schoharie folks are smart though. They posted an ad on craigslist with clear instructions for anyone who wants to volunteer, so that's where I headed. This is the house next door to the one where I helped.
That's at least nine feet of watermark you're seeing. Anyway, I went to the church on the main drag that is coordinating volunteers and informed them that I have experience, a trunk full of tools and work gloves. "I wanna do boy stuff," I said. And so the very nice lady looked over her lists and asked, "How about ripping floors?" and gave me an address and directions to a house.
I helped a guy rip the beautiful hardwood floors out of his house. Seriously. Almost undamaged tongue-and-groove hardwood floors. Had to, because otherwise mold would form underneath and render the house unsaleable, and he IS selling. He and his wife have a grown daughter and have lived in this house for twenty years. It looked a lot better on the outside than the one in the pic. He had power-washed his siding. The inside is pretty devastated. The floors were buckling and there were spots where mold had started to form. Once the wood is out, he'll be able to bleach the sub-floor and stop the mold. The sub-floor is wide plank, original to this 100 year old house. His 91 year old father-in-law lived next door. He called it a loss and moved to Florida, so in effect, the guy's wife lost her home AND her dad. Not to minimize this man's loss, but I think women put a lot of heart into their homes and take the loss of one harder.
Anyway, he said they're leaving. They just don't want to risk this kind of heartbreak again. Flood insurance doesn't cover enough and the village will never be the same. Lots of houses just can't be saved, especially since the old field stone foundations are compromised. I am so happy that I got to not only work with my hands but help someone who genuinely needed it and was so very grateful.
I don't have a lot of money but I do have some spare time (in between furnace and chimney contractor hunting) so I hope to go back next week. For those of you with more money than time and wanting a tax break, here's a starting place to find out how to help.
And one more sappy thing: This kinda shit makes me proud to be an American. This man and all of his neighbors were in such dire straits but he told me that what kept them all going was the tremendous outpouring of help and support, just people arriving from all over with whatever resources they could contribute. He said at one point, people were driving around passing food out of cars so they could eat without having to stop work. That is how we roll, whether it's a big thing like 9/11 or a local thing. Our neighbors- we got this.
PS: When my mister sees this post, he'll know what I meant when I emailed him earlier and told him I was going "out toolin' around." Get it? Toolin' heh heh.