Thursday, June 15, 2006

If I had a hammer

I've been humming that song all day. There was a voluntary organized team building event for our group at work. Half of us went since half of us needed to hold down the fort. The event was a day with Habitat for Humanity. There was a project in East Oakland. A lot where they would have 26 homes in all, 800 sq foot townhouses (2 bedroom, 1 bath). 6 of them were built by KB and Pulte homes, who are building numerous large condo plexes in downtown Oakland.

Some of us moved the fluffy bark surrounding the homes to make way for driveways and sewer. I painted these plywood window covers that we would later nail and hang on the windows of the new homes to prevent potential vandelism. There are no utilities to the site yet so no one can move in just yet. Others built these wooden frames that they would use for the concrete walls for their backyards. Others put up some vents in under the small porch roofs. A pair of folks went inside the homes to switch out the regular bulbs with flourescent bulbs (they're not only good for the environment, they're good for the pocketbook).

Since we were all techies used to working in A/C buildings and today was a warm 80 degrees in Oakland, we kept looking at our watches. Of course thinking an hour had passed, we were humbled by how the clock seemed to tick slowly (15 minutes). On most of the rest of the lot, construction crews with a backhoe dredged up the ditches for the sewer and utilities.

My co-worker and I figured out a fairly efficient system to put up the plywood window coverings. We're now ready to live in Florida and board up houses before a storm.

The site probably wasn't too ready for volunteers. There was some confusion as to what needed to be done and some repetition of tasks. Most of us had forgotten to pack lunches so we did a run to In and Out burger where I learned what "french fries - animal style" means.

By the end of the day, we made a tiny dent in the project. It might be exciting to go do another Humanity day when there are more houses. Light bulbs, hang blinds, and lay sod, where you don't have to worry about a back hoe.

Time to get the paint splatter off me and head to bowling.

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