Leah and Joe: Home DIY Projects & Crafts

leahandjoe.com · Jun 12, 2018

Habitat for Humanity Project

Habitat for Humanity 2018

First off, I want to thank everyone who donated to my Habitat for Humanity birthday campaign. I’ve never dedicated a birthday to a cause before, but it was so exciting to see donations rolling in. I had a goal of $200 and I almost doubled that, reaching my goal within the first hour! I was truly astonished. No guilt, if you didn’t though. I know everyone has their own favorite causes they support. This just happens to be one of mine.

I’ve always wanted to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity TC, and when the opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago, we jumped at the chance. Joe’s work allots them a set amount of volunteer hours per year to complete during the work week (which is fantastic), and there was a crew signed up for a Habitat project, so we jumped on it! If you’re not familiar, basically you build a house from the ground up for a deserving family in need.

Bucket List

I’m not joking when I say this has been on my bucket list, as well as a missions trip. It felt amazing to actually experience what this is all about, with our hands and hearts. Even though we were only on the job site for one day, I know this community will see a positive change because of this one new home. We all inherently know our surroundings and home environment play a big part in our mood day-to-day, but some people have never known what it’s like to live in safe, affordable, decent living conditions. Some people think these homes will not be cared for or maintained, but I believe in giving people a sense of integrity and responsibility in good faith that they will rise to the challenge. Not only does it establish pride of ownership of their home, but I think it has a ripple effect on self-esteem and self-worth that extends into every aspect of the community.

Day of Habitating

So that’s the Why, now for the nuts and bolts (pun intended). Let me tell you, it was no cakewalk! I fully imagined we’d be sharing high-fives all around and laughing it up as we were given a full tutorial. Nope. This was a crew of seasoned veterans, professional tradespeople. We were thrown right into the fire, expected to keep up. Given full access to the tool shed, we signed a waiver and grabbed some gloves, helmets and safety goggles and found ways to pitch in.

Shipping container filled to the brim with tools and supplies, refilled nightly.

It was actually quite scary, climbing up on the scaffolding and looking down 50 feet. It was like being in a fun house with shifting ground, with a very real possibility of falling to your death.

I had never been up on scaffolding before.

Don’t look down!

The blueprints for the house.

I got a peek at the job sup’s checklist for the day. It’s an ambitious schedule!

They were actually working on two houses, at various stages.

Because of this, it was hard to know who was in charge right away. (We were working on the house on the left).

But once we gathered our bearings, we were occupied all day. We started out nailing in these gusset plates between the studs and exterior walls.

After a couple hours, we went “inside” and spent the majority of the day nailing these hurricane ties to the ceilings. We were probably the least skilled people there, so we were fine getting put on this repetitive duty.

Here’s what they look like. You need to orient them the correct way, then nail the top and bottom of each with five nails. Now it’s easier when you can use a pneumatic tool (as we were told over and over) that does all five at once, but we had no such. I think for safety reasons. Nailing each nail through wood and metal is not easy. We needed a pliars to steady each nail. We were so sore and I’ll be good to never see one of these again. Although I do have a newfound level of appreciation for them — these roofs will never fly off during a tornado.

Raising the Roof

Hands down the most exciting part of the day. We were actually way ahead of schedule, but the crew was getting a little frustrated because the roof trusses delivery was delayed.

Once the delivery came, everyone was eager to unpack the load and get going on raising the roof.

Piece by piece, we hoisted by-hand the roof trusses, passing them up level by level to the top.


We spent the last hour or so doing this.

It was incredible to see the day’s progress. House building on steroids! From just a few sticks on a foundation to a roof in one day!

Each crew passes off the project to the next day’s crew, so I think they were eager to show how far they could get.

They also framed up the staircase. She’s going to be a beaut!

Bucket list, check!

There was our day of volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in a nutshell. I tried to capture the day, but honestly, it was hard to get good photos when you’re on a job site with all these moving parts and you’re carrying a hammer.

Mid-year Reflection

This bucket list item made me realize something else: Wow, I’m 29, the end of a decade. Time to check other items off my list. You may know I’m big on my New Years’ Reflections, so I’m going to use my birthday as a mid-year reflection point. My word for the year, surprisingly was “assertive”. It’s been a year of discovering what that means to me. For me, it’s meant being determined to pave my own way and advocate what’s most important to me. Not in a pushy way, but life’s too short to settle for mediocrity. I’ve been really living all-out this year and I’m proud of that. It’s been one of my most stressful years, but also one of the most rewarding ones because I’ve never felt more in my own life, if that makes sense. I’m supercharging the rest of my year to assertively live big and hold nothing back.

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