Wednesday, May 02, 2007

2007 Bridge City Church Building

Bridge City Work Crew

Leaving home in the wake of a storm was a little apprehensive, but the decision was made to forge forward. We blasted through rain most of the day. Kansas City gave us a break to put a new battery cable on one of Larry's daughter's cars. Then it was to the pastry shop for most delicious pecan pastries. With a bag of pastries and a cooler with pop, water, and sandwiches we headed out of town for our destination for the day, Texarkana. We bedded down about 9:00 PM after getting our grub at the Cracker Barrel.

I sprang out of bed at the crack of dawn, well ok, would you believe 8:00 am. I took my morning constitutional walk and ate the quite adequate breakfast of Oatmeal, waffles, breakfast cereal, fruit, milk, juice, and coffee. Ok, all I had was a bowl of Frosted Flakes, juice, and coffee.

We set out on our journey with bright sunshine and climbing temperatures. Five hours later we arrived at our destination somewhere around 6:30 PM. We staid in the house that we worked on the last time we were there. It really finished up beautiful. The design is a southern type house with a full length porch with four ceiling fans and rocking chairs to finish off the charm.

The next day we were in the truck and moving toward Bridge City at 6:30 am. We did a breakfast stop at the DQ which became part of the daily morning routine. We hit the job site about 8 am. The first day we stepped into the church to take an inventory of what we could work on. The proper drywall was not yet there. We needed sheets for the ceiling which were 5/8 inch firerock. This firerock proved to be a issue for sure. Because of the 24" ceiling joists the extra thickness was needed and for fire requirements the firerock was needed. Firerock has some fire retardant ingredient mixed into the regular mixture to help with preventing fire. It make the rock much heavier than regular. That added to the ceilings of nine feet and the rock being 12 foot long made for trying lifting up to the ceiling.

The first day we put fiberglass insulation into the outside walls and some of the inside walls for sound proofing. We met Pastor Samuel the pastor of the church. I for one was glad to end this day as the itching began about noon and increased the rest of the day. It carried over into the next couple of days before relief began to come.

The next day we hit the site with thoughts in mind of what we would accomplish. With scaffolding in place and two men on high in the sky, the cutter began measuring and cutting the drywall to fit the ceiling joists. First the ceiling and then 1/2 " regular drywall on the walls. We broke for lunch and got after it again.

My job was to help with the measuring, cutting, lifting, and carrying. By the third day my arms were beginning cramp up by the end of the day. I slugged down a quart of Gator Aide, two bananas, and a couple vitamin C pills. The next morning I was good as new and ready to tackle that firerock again.

By the third day we were finished with the front foyer and entry way. We had made our way through the front office rooms.

By the end of the fourth day we had made our way through many of the Sunday School rooms and hallway.

The fifth day we decided to take a day and hit the lake to do some fishing. So while the storm raged on in Omaha Nebraska, I was getting a sunburn on Sam Raeburn Reservoir in Texas. Now I hadn't taken anything to fish with so this is where the story gets really good. The last day we drywalled a church member named Jeff helped us for the day. In the afternoon Larry let it leak out that we would be open to a day of fishing. All most immediately cell phones flared up and filled the airways with plans to make it happen. Drywalling shut down for the day.

We vaulted out of bed at the early hour of 4:00 am and hit the road by 5:00 am. Jeff came with his boat. It was a Javelin Renegade 20 with motor of 225 horsepower. Oh yeah it made the boat scream across the water. I don't think it had to be in the water to actually move. The prop could be a propeller in the water or propeller in the air. Either way we could move from one spot to another really fast. It was wonderful. A real guy experience.

Anyway we found what should be a good spot and Jeff let me pick out a rod from his assortment of old rods. Each had a artificial lures attached to the line. Jeff had his 6 or 7 special rods to use with all different lures attached so he could change quickly from one to another. I picked out what I thought would be dead beat rod and lure and had plans to enjoy the scenery and boat ride. Jeff on the other hand had intentions of catching the lake record at any time. Larry in the rear was casting and cranking as well. I stood for a while then sat in the seat in the boat. I would flip the bait in the lake and crank it back toward me as I enjoyed the splendor of the tree covered banks and awesome weather. To my surprise I connected with a fish and began slowly reeling in the bass. I really had no idea what size it was until I got it up near the boat at which time it began the under and around the boat scenario.

Jeff saw the my rod bending and asked, "You got a fish?"

I nonchalantly said, "Yeah, I think there's one on." I knew I had something of size, but I just wanted those southern boys to think it really wasn't a big deal to catch a big bass.

I had to get up and chase the fish around the boat a couple times. I watched Jeff as I cranked the bass toward the boat. Upon first sight, he dropped his rod on the deck and scrambled to the center of the boat gasping out, "Man you got a fish." He helped me get the fish into the live well and immediately called the other boat in our party to tell them we had caught a good sized bass.

A few more casts and a couple fish more of smaller size, Jeff called on the phone again and said, "Dang these Northern boys are kicking our butt." Jeff did get his justice by catching a bunch of bass in another spot, but I held onto the biggest catch of the day.

Oh I forgot to tell you that the lure I was using was old, had rusty hooks, and one barb was missing on the rear hook. Five pounds exactly.

We headed back to Texarkana on Saturday with the notion of staying over in Kansas City and attending IHOP service before heading back home. Calls home revealed that I-29 was shut down to traffic. The closer we got the more it concerned us about getting back to Omaha. When we hit Kansas City and found out the roads were open, we decided to scat on home because we didn't know how long it would take. Turned out we drove the speed limit all the way back to Omaha and the roads were in excellent shape.

So ended another successful trip to the zone. There's still a lot of damage that needs repaired from the storms of the decade.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Left ear right brain

I had quite the experience this evening. Now we all know that men are like waffles and women are like a plate of spagetti. Men work in one box at a time. When the trouble is solved they go to the next box. If the problem can't be solved, they move on the to next box. Why waste time on something that can't be solved. Women on the other hand are like a plate of spagetti because every thing is all connected, touching and everything is effected by everything. They can take care of the kids, while making dinner, while watching TV, while writing a book. Also I've learned recently that most men are right brained logical thinkers. According to those that study this stuff the left ear is connected to the right brain so to be sure a man understands he must hear what's spoken in his left ear.

I talked with my cousin, Julie, earlier this week. During the conversation of solving the world's troubles we were jumping from box to box. No problem because I'm educated about how this all works. However I forgot to put the phone on my left ear. So in the middle of the conversation we jumped into a box where she invited me to hear one of friends sing.

What she said is not what I heard. What I heard was "How would like to go.....blah blah blah blah..... FRIEND SING... blah blah blah..... ROSE THEATRE ...... blah blah blah blah blah..... OPERA ....... blah blah blah blah. I responded with sure sounds like fun." So I tell my social club group about how I'm going to the Rose Theatre and hear my cousin's friend sing Opera. They were impressed for sure. Oh yeah, I'm the cultured man of the hour.

Here's what Julie said. "How would like to go hear my friend sing at a concert at the Rose Theatre. She's had opera voice training." Hmmmmm, not quite the same is it. No it isn't. What we were going to see is Julie's friend sing at a Inspirational Black Gospel Concert. Well, that's pretty close isn't it? Just kidding. Everyone had a good laugh all night about the culture I was getting. It was culture all right but not opera culture.

And so it is with left ear right brain. Or maybe with Old Dave is was brain disconnected.

Always remember laughter is good medicine for the soul. Especially if it's about yourself. There's a lot of good material when your with me that's for sure.

Monday, March 26, 2007

2007 Las Vegas Trip Part 2

It seems that I can't go anywhere without getting involved with a project. My oldest daughter Sherry wanted some help with her bathroom. For those that have been readers of my adventures for a couple years you will remember my episode with a bathroom the time I was there a two years ago. This is a different bathroom off the main bedroom. It was just a simple shower replacement. .......................Right........ When is anything simple for me. The drywall was off the wall area around the shower. All we had to do was pull up the shower floor pan and put down a new one. Then replace the drywall with green board, a water resistant drywall for bathrooms, and put title on the wall and floor. Simple enough don't you think.

The first order of business was to pull up the shower pan. It should just pull up as there are no screw connections or fittings. It's just compression fit. Well, it didn't. So we drilled a couple holes and used a jig saw to cut around the drain and pulled the pan up and off. Yea, not were gettin' er done.

But wait something doesn't look right. The pipe under the shower drain has holes in it. Big holes. Like most of the pipe is gone. That's right it had rusted out and needed to be replaced. Not a problem you say. Just take the pipe out and replace it. The connection into the water trap looks a little funny. Oh my gosh. It's lead and the connection doesn't have threads. It's put together with hot lead.

Now we need a sawsall tool to cut and replace the entire trap. We did that of course in speedy time. Now all that's needed is a couple pipe wrenches to take the last part of the trap off the pipe that goes under the floor to the sewer. OK, were all set. Wrench under the pipe to keep it from twisting and wrench over the pipe to take the end off. Pull up. Push down. Hmmmm, this pipe is awful looses under the floor. The pipe had been cracked for years and was only held on to the sewer by a thread. By me fooling with it, it broke off to the sewer line. So what started as a simple project is now a full blown remodel adventure.

I began by breaking up the floor and getting to the problem area by scooping out the sand down to the broken connection. It was just as I thought. BAD. We still needed to get one end off the pipe to be able to put a new trap and drain on for the shower pan. Remember that far back. The least of my worries. Or so I thought. We stopped the for the weekend. I took the pipe with instructions about what I wanted to a machine shop. I wanted one end cut off and that end to be re threaded. Just a simple task don't you think. Well, the pipe turned out to be brass and had to be special cut then single point turned on a lathe for threading. What ever that means. It took them an hour and a half to do the job. Burned up two days, but was well worth the wait as the only other way to fix this was to replace the sewer line part which would shut down the other bathroom during the operation.
Anyway, got the pipe back, got the necessary things to repair the break, got the energy to get started, so we tackled the project with real enthusiasm. This was not your normal repair job. Do I do anything normal. With a little Louisiana ingenuity and some Nebraka "Get er done" mentality, I came up with a plan of repair instead of replacement. First use Gorilla glue on the pipe seam to set the pipe back in position. Let the glue dry over night. The next day wrap the sewer broken connection with twine and dump the remaining bottle of glue over the twine. When the glue was dry, cover the hole pipe and sewer with a tube of roofing tar. Then bury the whole mess with a bag of super strength concrete. I guarantee you that connection will not leak or move ever again. So just be careful when you ask old Dave to help with house repair. It could end up being a full blown adventure?
So what started as a simple bathroom remodel did indeed turn into a full blown adventure. It turned out good in the end. It actually drained water when I finished up. That's a good thing......right.....