“It was satisfying hearing the gratification of the homeowner, a local rabbi, for all the restoration that we had enacted in the house.” Russell Whitehouse, ASB Day 4

1924488_10152272038575606_222835939_nDuring the fourth and final day of Pace’s Alternative Spring Break, I and my team mates focused on dry-walling, mudding and painting, having already completed the sub-flooring.  The replacement dry-walling covered a height of 14 inches, the level that the flooding of the 1st floor reached in the house.  Everything below that was destroyed by the water and the subsequent mold growth.  Thus, everything in the basement was completely corroded into disuse.  Many of the planks between the ground floor and basement were partially or entirely decayed, creating several large holes on the ground floor.

For most of my day, I focused on dry-walling.  I cut 14-in high boards of various widths to replace the gaps created by the flooding.  Interestingly, one can cut through sheet rock boards with just a box cutter.  Particularly challenging was cutting medial holes to accommodate protruding outlets and piping.  If you messed up the measurements, the entire board would be rendered obsolete.  Occasionally, I would have to knock out some protruding nails and plaster with a hammer and crowbar to allow for the placement of the boards.  The subsequent board gaps were later mudded.

Afterwards, I took to painting the entryway closet white.  This requires a close attention to detail, for carelessness can lead to permanent streaking.  One must make straight, deliberate strokes.  Every square inch must be inspected to ensure that it was painted, for sometimes the roller or brush will produce gaps.  Occasionally, one must chip out a protruding piece of plaster with one’s fingernail.  After applying the initial layer, I waited several minutes for it to start drying.  Afterwards, I applied the reinforcing layer.  Much to my bemusement and my team mates’ amusement, my jacket got coated with considerable amounts of paint due to the confines of working on the tiny closet.  I did my best to scratch off the biggest blots.  Fortunately, my jeans and boots were largely spared.

It was satisfying seeing the finished product.  The newly whitened closet looked very immaculate once all the paint had dried.  Almost the entire perimeter of the first floor had been dry-walled up to the level of the flood destruction.  It was satisfying hearing the gratification of the homeowner, a local rabbi, for all the restoration that we had enacted in the house.  When we had first arrived, it was completely barren-looking, with flooring that looked reminiscent of that of a sunken ship.  Over the duration of our stay, we completely sub-floored the ground floor and almost finished dry-walling and mudding it as well.  I painted the closet and the bannister got sanded and varnished, additionally.  The house looked revitalized and well on its way towards recovery.  I am glad about my contribution to this process of community rebuilding and hope that Sandy’s destruction might soon be completely rebuilt bigger and better than before the storm.