We had not expected to be working today, Friday, the last day before landscaping, but it was on the schedule just-in-case, and here we are, working. Unfortunately the word had gotten around that we were probably not working today and many took it simply without the “probably” – not working. Nine showed up. That is ok, as we still accomplished what we wanted to do. Have it ready for landscaping Saturday when lots of people show up – usually. The goal was to finish the second coat of the inside and outside painting. We did that. Work continued on the soffit and aluminum fascia. The reduced work crew slowed that down but progress was made. It can be finished Saturday while others landscape.
The poor concrete contractors had another bad day. The first thing that happened was the gas company came in to install their line to the house. So naturally the form left for the rest of the sidewalk came down. The gas company backhoe quickly dug the trench and the line was installed, but the forms remained down.
Later in the day, the graders came in to prep the lot for the volunteers. That meant another trek across the area for the sidewalk with heavy equipment and the rest of the forms came down. Now there is no trace of the sidewalk forms and the ground has been filled in too high so it needs to be dug out again. The concrete contractor was not around to see the damage. I feel pretty certain that Rickey, the contractor, has seen all this many times and allows for it.
Then the sod came and again the area was breached as pallets of sod were placed around the lot. Let’s see: Electrical, gas, grading, and sod across their forms. Four times is the charm.
Once again I was an outside trim painter and managed to get the second coat of paint all around the house. Looking good. Some of the women worked both inside and outside to finish up the second coats on each. “Pretty Boy” aka “Nine Fingers” aka “Rock Doctor” Miller put on the front shutters and did some of the cutting for the soffit installation among other things. He is an all around can and will do whatever is needed person.
Jim Miller is one of the Gray Ghosts – an organization of mostly retired contractors and experienced builders. The volunteers usually work Saturdays, and then the Site Project Manager puts in a call to the unofficial scheduler of the Gray Ghosts, asking if they can put them on their schedule to fix things that some volunteer didn’t do quite right, or to complete a job that must be done in order to meet inspections or to put the house back on schedule. These men and women volunteers usually work on Wednesdays and slip in, fix things and slip back out without volunteers seeing them. Thus when the volunteers show up again the next weekend and wonder how that wall, porch or roof got fixed, the answer is “it must have been a ghost”.
SPM’s work on one house at a time, but the Gray Ghosts work on any house that needs it, so sometimes they split up and work on several different homes and sometimes they finish one job and then start on another house. The Ghosts work on a purely volunteer basis. If one has something else pressing on a particular Wednesday, he or she simply doesn’t show up and no call is made and no excuses needed. Yet there always seem to have enough. The Ghosts do not answer to the Habitat for Humanity organization, but are so well respected and so useful to the cause, that one can call for a door or other supply need and someone from Habitat will bring it right out. They usually have access to anything they need and often buy lumber or other material and submit receipts for reimbursement without question.
Many of the Gray Ghosts are SPMs themselves both here in Cobb and also in the surrounding counties. Jim has built so many Habitat houses, he likely doesn’t know the count. They are truly dedicated special people.
The slide show for today is here or click on any picture above.