Monday, October 24, 2011

Operation: Rental Rehab, Week 2

It has been a long first week, but we accomplished so much that we can look back with great satisfaction.  Week 2 will see slower progress I think, but we might be surprised.  The kids have each spent a total of approximately 38 hours on the "job site", and then have spent another 5-6 hours working on their notebooks, which are coming along nicely.  We need to spend more time on them in the next couple of days, and I need to get photos together for them to print out and label.  However, our printer is giving us fits and I seem to be GONE a lot from the house this past week...hahaha!

What are some of the lessons learned this past week?

1)  Don't let the dog get near the stain.
2)  A roller works best for applying stain on the fence.
3)  Water rots wood badly when allowed to seep in.
4)  Teamwork and music can make a dull job more tolerable.
5)  Bleach can clean a moldy toilet as easy as pie.
6)  Measure once, buy paint and stain, don't take into account that no one has ever sealed the fence before, buy LOTS more stain.
7)  Cost overruns are an unpleasant surprise.
8)  Thinking ahead helps keep you on schedule...thinking 4 weeks out for ordering carpet is a priority!!
9)  Keep the job site orderly if you want to avoid spending time over and over again looking for cutters.
10) Duct work can get nasty, and mouse droppings can be very, very dangerous.

and most importantly...

11)  I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

The "stick-to-it-iveness" of each of the kids has honestly completely surprised Dominick and I.  We expected that once the "new" wore off of any particular task, the kids might be complaining or wanting to quit.  These are kids, after all, and only one teenager in the mix...and that one just barely at 13.  You'd never know it though. 

Olesya has spent hours and hours and hours on the fence, rarely stopping even for a break.  Seriously, I think that in 3 days alone she put in 16 hours or more.  Matthew and Kenny begged to do the gravel themselves, even after spending two long afternoons on it.  They said "We started it, we'll finish it...then when we look at it we'll know we did it all by ourselves."  Angela said the same thing about her gravel project on the other side of the front of the house.  Josh has bounced between the fence and the gravel, not really caring about "ownership" of any project but not wasting time playing either.  That kid at 8 years old has hauled, cleaned, painted, dug out two large plants all by himself,  shoveled, and swept for hours and hours.

We are expecting weather this week, so we are rushing to get the outside work completed.  The kids helped mask the easier things off, but Dominick sprayed it all as we have no time to lose.  When it comes to the inside they will get their lessons on painting, both with the airless and with brushes and rollers as Mr. Steve is planning on teaching them the proper way to approach a project.  We plan on turning them loose once they know how.  There is no carpet to ruin, nothing to worry about, and it is the perfect place for them to practice and learn technique.  They are excited about that, as they know it will be different than slapping stain on the fence outdoors.  We still have gravel, exterior trim, and fencing to finish but hope to make headway on most of that tomorrow. 

Looks like a lot of fence?  You can't see what is behind the photographer still yet to be stained :-(

Sundown, and one tired young man.

See all that gravel behind the pile?  Most of it was moved one shovel full at a time by Kenny and Matt.  We calculated about 1000 square feet including what is on the side to the left that is not pictured.

Angela pulling weeds in preparation for more gravel on the other side of the front of the house.

Miss Lael's prized wheelbarrow has come in quite handy...thanks for letting us borrow it!
Matt's 6 Hour Project = Redoing wooden landscaping timbers
Step One:  Remove very rotted old timbers, spend an hour trying to remove metal rebar holding rotted timbers in place.

Step Two:  Spend 3 hours digging, leveling, and backfilling the trench for the replacements, which were a different size that the original timbers.

Step 3:  Stand back and give mom a smile :-)

Step 4:  Drill holes, insert new rebar...and do the entire project without ANY help from mom or dad!!
Before, trim masked off, almost ready for painting...we wanted to change the color because there was a home a similar color across the street, and the house needed repainting anyway.

After, or sort-of-after as we still have white trim to paint.  New roof is on, almost completed, as they were short a few shingles.  Plants to the left of the front door were removed by Josh.  Do NOT laugh at my very bad window masking job, now you understand why my Christmas gifts are wrapped so poorly!
It has been one big job to tackle, but we are still having fun!

The girls have more stain on their clothes and faces than they do on the WONDER we needed 5 more gallons!

Despite being exhausted at the end of each day, we have still found ways to "get 'er done" and yet have some laughs along the way.  Matthew was the honorary fence post as he got stained this afternoon. 

Hour by hour we are seeing the confidence and assurance grow in each of the kids as they take on more and more, and as they stand back and admire what they have accomplished even at this early stage.
Although personally I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment with all we still have to do, and all I am trying to cram in around it, this will go down on record as one of the single best experiences we ever gave the kids.  I have not done as much physical work yet around the place as I'd like to, as I have been the designated runner for the project so that Dominick and the kids can remain on the job and not have to keep constantly pulling off.  Today is only Monday, and since yesterday afternoon I have put 120 miles on the van, simply going from Home Depot and back, to volleyball and back, to the roofer's and back, and so on.  We selected carpet and other flooring today, and it is now ordered.  Angela and I spent quite awhile before giving up on our original choices and starting over, and now we are quite happy with our selections. 

I have spent a few days living in frustration and disappointment over a several things, all of which tap my weaknesses and not my strengths.  Basically, I am feeling like a bit of a failure lately in many areas, and I am not sure what to do to turn that around.  I am out of my comfort zone, and not doing well, which leaves me wondering why in the world I am even bothering.  Silly though it sounds, even selecting carpeting and flooring was a disaster for me, and served only to remind me of yet another thing I stink at...I can't pull things together to save my life, I have no eye at all, and find it confounding to even attempt to try.  There are other, bigger things that this is about, but standing there in Home Depot for over an hour trying in vain to do something as simple as match colors was just the wrong thing I needed to be doing yesterday, as it served only to heighten the sense of incompetence.  And yea, I know that is totally stupid, but it's still true.

Maybe I need to take lessons from the kids.  I always learn more from them anyway :-)

It's almost midnight and I need to get some sleep myself, so I am off.  Maybe tomorrow I'll only put 70 miles or so on the van!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for another glimpse into your collasal undertaking. Team LaJoy is doing everything with verve and vigor. You are accomplishing an amazing amount of work in a short amount of time. You win because you persevere with energy and hard work.

I was reading Guideposts this morning, and two things struck me.

"The happiest people are fearless dreamers. They use their imaginations to create hope and possibility." from Happy, Simple Steps for Getting the Life You Want by Ian K. Smith M.D.

You, Dominick, and the kids have been dreamers--sometimes fearless, sometimes in the face of fear. Great job in your latest dream...

Cindy, I think there is a greater tendency for women to second and third guess themselves, to be harsh in our criticism of self and gentle with others. Although I fancy myself an artist, I cannot pick colors for a home. I too spend hours choosing and then second guessing my choices. The main floor of my house has been painted the "wrong" color for years because my eye wasn't "good enough".

When I choose clothes for myself or gifts for others, I tend to choose larger, brighter, odder and then regret.

I look back at my first sermons and cringe with what I put gracious congregations through, and yet someone will remember a nugget from among the detritus. I still have a hard time if I begin to compare myself with another in whatever endeavor I try.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of your inheritance." It doesn't say, "Whatever you do, do your work PERFECTLY." It says, "heartily", with heart. Noone I know does life with more heart than you, and the rest of Team LaJoy operates the same way.

You came to Home Depot tired, stressed, not professing to be an artist, and it took you over an hour to pick colors and carpets, and you had to start over again. If you had taken me, we could have chosen, chosen over again, and chosen a third time and taken over three hours. Next time consider taking me--and then be happy you didn't.


P.S. If God wanted you to be perfect in everything, God would have created you that way. How boring would that be for God to have nothing but perfect people doing perfect things all day. I think growing in compassion, faith, and love is a far greater accomplishment than picking the perfect carpet the first time or any of the other things you are second-guessing yourself about. Be as kind to yourself as you are to me.

Anonymous said...

The "rental" looks great already. I am amazed at what you all did in such a short time. Love the new house color. I also enjoyed seeing the fence paint on Matt....and the others looking so happy with themselves.
Fran S.

Anonymous said...

Cindy - Look at it this way...okay, close your are the Queen Bee and Dominick and the children are the Worker Bees. So, Queen Bee - Let them are guiding the process without even knowing it - just by instinct. Trust that! You all look so wonderful. Sure do miss you and love you tons! Miss Joan

Anonymous said...

You continue to amaze me -- you and Team LaJoy, Cindy! All that you have accomplished, and in such a short time! Congratulations!
What is it about us -- particularly women, I guess, though I know men who do it too -- that, even in the face of so much that's good, we hone in on the problem places? I see lots of learning and growing going on, in you and in the others. An awful lot of learning and growing comes with resistance and with tripping up, getting up, and starting over. God be very close to all of you in the journey! (Besides, the places where we struggle the most often make the best stories afterwards!)
Blessings and shalom, Cindy!

Jane said...

Is it the camera angle or have each of the kids grown by leaps and bounds lately. Metaphorically, I KNOW they are learning great life lessons, but Kenny looks much taller, though tired. And one of the pics of Matt almost had me thinking it was Mr Steve in his cutoffs, building the flower bed. Just looking at those smiles on Team LaJoy makes me happy! Great Job!

Ms Jane and Mr Steve

Anonymous said...

I say "Amen" to the comments by Lael and Miss Joan --
If we were all good at everything, where would we have
room for God, or for others to help us? We are all
made for different purposes, and yet we are all the
"body of Christ." What if the foot tried to carry things
or the eye tried to hear or the knee tried to eat?
Fortunately, we have God and we have friends who
have gifts to make up what we lack -- and it all
fits together into a beautiful mosaic of colors and

I have one friend whose garden I visit once or twice
a year to give her advice -- and she helped me
move furniture around in our living room to make
it cozy and friendly -- she is good at interior spaces
and I'm better at exterior spaces.

I would give you, Cindy, an A++++ on interior spaces,
the spaces of the heart .

Much love,

Peggy in Virginia