Gaylord House 2005-06


    This is the house whose crew I was “assigned” to.  I was the “newbie” and thought that these guys had worked together for a long time.  It wasn’t until we had moved on to our 2nd house that I found out that THIS was their first house too.  So they really only had 6 months more experience together than I did.

    Mary Filipic is our team leader, the liaison with Habitat, the disperser of news.  Richard/Dick Schulte is a retired contractor, who had a white cargo van that was a traveling Home Depot; the tools that man had!  When he would say that he was taking a week off for whatever reason, we would just smile and said, “Leave the van with Bruce”. Bruce Esson is a retired paramedic, who had been volunteering even when he was still working, thus is very knowledgeable.    Willie Friedrich, a retired electrician, is with us on a pretty regular basis.  Jim Macovy, a retired semi-truck driver, completes the group, a member of Mary’s church. They were already “family” and I had to learn how and where to join the chain.

    It didn’t really take all that long to learn how to run with the big guys. Dick and Bruce are really big on teaching and showing you how to do things, then letting you finish.  The house was already up, windows & doors in, siding up, but it was just studs and wires on the inside: porta john in the front mud (or ice) depending on the weather, Kerosene heaters, fumes were awful,. My first Wednesday, I helped Mary and the new homeowner insulate windows, then the next week, promptly moved on to hanging drywall (yeah, I was majorly impressed with myself). Bruce showed me and Mary ONCE what to do, watched while we did the next 4x8 sheet, then left us in the one room on our own; we cut it, hung it, powerdrilled in the screws, cut out the holes for the airducts and electrical outlets.  We even did the ceilings, one time with this huge machine (see below) that holds it up for you, thus you only need to load the 4x8, crank it up and then screw it in - ah, life is simple.  Except for when another house is using the machine.  Those times, ceilings involved 4-5 guys, 2 with the “deadman” prop (see below) = several 2x4’s bolted together in the form of a Y, with another 2x4 connecting the top points of the Y, covered with carpeting to protect the drywall:  holding up the 4x8 while 2-3 of us frantically screwed it in before the guy in the middle collapsed from the weight. 

    The very next week, a crew of volunteers showed up and Bruce put each of us with one of them. Mine kept saying, “now, Miss, is this where you want the screws?” or other such questions.  Not only was I in stitches that in one week I had suddenly become the expert, but I had also miraculously lost @30 yrs. of my life!

     I think it was during the drywall phase that Bruce took to calling me “Patty”, then the rest followed suit right away.  That name is so NOT me.  But I’ve been called much worse, so I just chuckle at the thought.

    I also painted, a LOT (actually, too much, I really don’t like painting), stained a lot, sanded a lot, hooked up telephone wires, hung closet doors, put in bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, routed the edges of wood to create a really cool professional finished effect, installed doorstops, step treads and heating vents.  All of which may sound like ordinary stuff to you, but it was new to me, and I was loving every minute of it. And it was helping me to join the “family”. 

    The finished product (the house) was in its final weeks, was scheduled to be dedicated in April, and we were looking ahead to our next house, to be “blitzed” the 1st week of April, 2006. “BLITZING” is like an Amish barn-raising; gobs of volunteers every day for a week, and the outside frame of the house (walls, sheathing, and roof trusses), as well as all the inside walls, literally go up in front of your eyes in one week.   It was only 3 streets away, so I drove by it in mid-March, with snow on the ground and 2 foundation workers huddled around an open fire in a barrel -- uhm, what am I getting into?

    Find out on my Harvard & 89th page.


A little background on my first experiences

Click here to go straight to the short video on this Gaylord house.Gaylord_yellow_house_my_first.html

A neighbor lady down the street brought this to the Dedication to welcome the new family.

Dick Schulte, our crew leader and owner of “Have Tools Will Travel,” speaking at the Dedication.

Below is the tool for holding up the drywall to screw into the ceiling.  Below that is the “DeadMan” tool to be held by several people to hold up the drywall on the ceiling when the yellow actual tool is unavailable.