Driving down to Del Rio (Acuna's sister city on the US side), I honestly thought we'd never get there because it had snowed the night before and the roads were terrible. I was driving the 15-passenger van and I was super nervous. Plus my windshield wipers were frozen, so that helps when giant trucks fly past you and splatter you with brown, slushy slush, right? We stopped twice to clean my windshield within an hour.
The first day of the build went well, except for I could tell the concrete was going to be pretty bad. It was cold, rainy, and the concrete was almost all rock. We worked pretty quickly on the slab and it turned out square and level, thanks to my Dad!
Days two through four: Here's where the fun begins.
- Realize we have no door and no windows and no way of calling someone who can bring them to us.
- After realizing we also did not have chicken wire or insulation, I sent some people to the warehouse to get some. My fault for not counting the materials.
- While they're gone, I realize I have the keys to the warehouse and they don't.
- Finally we get the insulation and chicken wire, but we got double because I was impatient and chicken wire and insulation showed up while the people were at the warehouse getting some as well.
- Windows and door arrive. I break one window by putting my knee through it. Awesome. David brings me another window.
- While blackboard is going up, I go check on the team putting together the roof. By the time the roof was done, it had to be redone twice because of various mistakes. I had troopers on my roofing team!
- Here's the awesome thing: We had a chicken wire dream team. And it looked pretty dang good.
- Roof goes on fairly easily with almost everyone lifting. We had to put the roof on from the short side of the house (usually we put it on the long side) because it wouldn't fit. Each section is twelve feet long and weighs who knows how much.
- Decking the roof for some reason we had gaps in the decking, because if one piece goes on crooked, so do the rest. My dad helped the roofing crew fix this by cutting smaller pieces of OSB and nailing it into cribs/cheaters he attached to the studs.
- While the roofing is going on, I am figuring out the windows. Because guess what, they're too big. First thing I learned as an intern: "Always measure your windows because they may not be normal size." One of the only times I didn't measure them, they're half an inch too big on all sides. Tear out part of the wall (which already has blackboard and chicken wire on it), make space bigger for window. Install window a couple hours later.
- My dad is an electrical king, so that went really well AND worked on the first try.
- Realize we have no more insulation and need more. So, back to the warehouse I went.
- Begin drywall, realize we have no rasps. Warehouse.
- Put the door in. Door fits (yay!), but outdoor light has been placed too close to the door. Cut the trim down so the light doesn't hit it. The only thing wrong with electrical!
- Begin stuccoing. Stucco goes well, but slow because we're so cold. My friend David shows up and knocks out an entire wall in like 10 minutes. Had to laugh our heads off; he came because his wife told him we were having "muchos problemas" with our house. She had stopped by earlier that day and it was seriously SO awesome to see her. She is such a blessing in my life, though I've only spent a total of maybe several weeks around her. We seriously had a great team with amazing attitudes. We laughed at just about everything.
- Stucco, because it's rainy and cold, is still too wet by late afternoon to sponge it.
- Wait till the next morning to sponge. Pretty much pouring freezing rain while we are finishing it. We go hide in the van because we can't take it anymore. Joke about how we can't remember what clothes we have on because we were always cold and there was no way we were changing clothes.
- At the dedication, nail the plaque up and stucco falls off the front of the house.
And that, my friends, is what happened during our week. Add to that laughing about non-working toilets, enjoying the blessing of a semi-heated church, hot water, and hot food, and you have yourself one pretty amazing week with family and friends.