Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 58 - Lead Abatement Advetures!

The house we worked on!

Usually when we work with Habitat, we are building new homes from scratch. This project was different that what we were used to because we were fixing up a historical house. 

The first thing we did was take a tour of the house. It is beautiful, with lots of large rooms and space to move around. The family that will be moving in is currently living in a two bedroom apartment. This new, larger house will allow their five children to move around more!

Everyone was really pumped to work today because the work involved a lot of breaking things apart and ripping things up. The guys went to town on some kitchen cabinets, kicking them in with flying ninja moves and breaking up pieces with their fists. At one point, Josh fell on the ground attempting to destroy a cabinet but continued to kick at it from the ground, effectively reducing it to bits. It was so funny; they looked like children given the keys to a candy store. 

After lunch was when the real fun began. Because he house is so old, it is painted entirely with lead paint. This paint is not a problem when you can just paint over it, but we needed to break down a wall, which required us to get into "lead abatement gear." With temperatures in the triple digits, there were only a few people crazy enough to volunteer for the job: Josh, Chris, Austin, Dan, Rae, and me. The supervisors helped us pull on coveralls, gloves, booties, ventilators, safety glasses, and a very "breathable" head sock. Then, they taped up our ankles, wrists, and necks so as to exclude any lead-infused dust that might get in through the gaps in the suit. Before we even started breaking the wall up, we were drenched in sweat. 

The lead abatement crew. Photo credit to Ethan Gehl. 

The work was definitely "second degree fun," which is something that is not fun at all at the time but will make a great story later. Poisonous dust flew as we hammered holes in the wall and tore off the paint and plaster. Luckily, the job did not take too long and soon we were ripping our way out of the suits and sucking in clean air. 

We definitely did a number on the house. The kitchen appliances were removed, cabinets destroyed, and all the carpeting in the house pulled up and taken out to the dumpster. We got a lot done and had a great time!

The next few days we have some shorter mileage. It will be fun to take our time and just enjoy the ride and the towns we pass through along the way! Prom is coming up and most of us still need to visit some thrift shops in order to buy our prom outfits!

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