Category Archives: SOWER Projects 2020

Tomorrow

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are heading out for our Christmas Getaway – 12 days at a “Gulf View” condo in Orange Beach, AL.
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Even as I dig out the beach towels and bathing suits from under the bed(rather optimistically since I’m pretty sure the temperatures aren’t even supposed to hit 70 while we are there!), and organize the power cords for packing, I must admit I am a bit conflicted. Oh, we’ve had several years when we haven’t been with family on Christmas Day, but I cannot think of a Christmas Season where I wasn’t kissing little faces or snuggled up with a slew of kidlins watching Christmas Story or playing games around the kitchen table at some point. We would be the “Phase II” Christmas, and it worked pretty well (plus the kids loved having two Christmas mornings!). But this year, long before the huge up-tick in COVID-19 cases and the “stay home” recommendations, we had decided to do Christmas just on our own. (We actually had considered taking a cruise. But you know…cruises and pandemics….no. Just no.) We have no agenda for our time at ‘the beach’ =). I’m bringing books and my cameras and my computer and I’m sure the days will fill up just fine! Along with the beach towels I’m also packing hats and scarves and warm jackets so we can take long walks on the beach regardless of the ambient temperature! And with today’s wonderful technology (and WIFI at the condo) there should be lots of opportunities to be part of the family festivities without anyone actually having to find us a place to sleep!!

Before we head out tomorrow, though, I wanted to give you a quick wrap-up of the work here at Teen Challenge. With the help of that fine tool (the Gecko Gauge), the section we were working on went up like a dream. We completed the entire section in just 2 1/2 days,
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and that left plenty of time for clean-up and fine-tuning some of the ‘mechanical’ areas around back.
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Next month there are three SOWER couples coming so they should be able to finish off the front with no problem (we’re leaving them that miracle tool). I don’t know if they’ll tackle the end of the building, but once it does get all done, everything will get a fresh coat of paint so it won’t have such a patchwork look (from the different ages of the siding). We might have to stop back next year to see how it all comes together!

Praying you all have a blessed Christmas week! I know there is a lot going on, and for many of us it will be a Christmas like none we’ve had before (kinda like 2020 in general!). Don’t know how the blogging schedule will develop over the next two weeks – but just in case –

Steph

Random Photos and Mini Stories Part One

Sometimes, when I look back over pictures I’ve taken recently, I can’t quite fit them into a blog post, but I still want to share them. So here goes –
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Little did I know that the small town of Bonifay, FL is home to a beautiful Mediterranean Revival Style mansion built in the 1920s.
Nor did I know how beautifully it is decorated for Christmas! Thanks, Joe and Diane, for driving us by! I may just have to check it out in the daytime!

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This is our view most afternoons. After school each day, the students/cadets head out to the field for a time of exercise before they break into some basketball or soccer games. Love watching these young men!

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These young men in maroon are also pretty handy when we have to move that heavy Hardie board! (And they’re usually happy to get out of class for a bit!)

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I wonder what these are all about?

Turning the Corner

We’ve turned the corner to the last week of this month’s SOWER project. Man, these go fast! But we’ve turned the corner on our siding job too!
By the end of last week the entire back of the building was complete. I’m really glad that we started on a relatively easy stretch of siding (as Gary was training his trusty assistant (me)) because the last part of the job had some major challenges.
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See all those things coming out of the wall??? Yikes! Measure twice, cut once (worked most of the time), and don’t forget you have to lace the boards behind the pipes!
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Oy! What a time we had! But by the end of the week – with a little help from some of the boys with getting the top boards up – the back side of the building was complete, the windows and doors were trimmed out and we were ready to move on!
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It was time for us to turn the corner. Actually we turned two corners!
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Gary took a little time over the weekend to get the siding off the first section of the front, so once we got our supplies moved around to our work area, we were able to get right to work this morning!
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(Are you coughing yet, just looking at that dust??)

UntitledRemember that picture of me grimacing as I was holding up a board? That prompted a sweet text from a SOWER friend alerting us to a TOOL that is actually designed to not only hold up the board, but also keep the reveal constant. We did a little more research and found just the thing at a local Lowes, so we were able to test it out today.
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Thanks, Larry – that set of Gecko Gauges has made all the difference in the world!! Especially on those 12 foot boards. They haven’t replaced me completely, but they have certainly made things move much more quickly! And with much less drama on my part! =)
It was a good start to our last week (and made being able to complete at least this section of siding more likely!).  And that’s a very good thing!

Since it’s Monday, if you’d like to check out a “Mondays are for Memories” post, HERE is one from the last time we were here, back in 2008!

As always, thanks for stoppin’ by!

Steph

Your mission, if you choose to accept it…

is to finish installing the Hardie Board siding on the Gateway Academy education building.
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Gary is always up to a good challenge, and with me as his trusty helper, we got right to work!
First, you have to remove the old siding.
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and hammer in any renegade nails, etc. that would get in the way of the new siding.
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That went pretty quickly, and by the end of the work day, the first section was ready for its new siding!
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Of course, Gary handled all the power tools (I can use a power drill, just not through concrete Hardie board), but I was still pretty useful as an extra pair of hands, tool fetcher, level looker, ladder holder,  and general go-fer girl.
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Tuesday went well, and when we woke up Wednesday morning to this view out the front window
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we decided to shift our work hours to a little later in the morning. Brrrrrr…. We’re working on the north side if the building so it’s never going to be in full sun, but we thought it would be good to let it warm up a bit. At least our saw horses could (mostly) be in the sun!
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It was a beautiful and bright day, and even with the chill in the air we still got a fair bit accomplished.
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Since getting the boards up is really a two person job (three person if it’s one of the 12 ft. boards), Gary’s been cutting the pieces to the correct size in the afternoons (when I’m not working), and then when we start in the morning we can get right in to putting up the siding.
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Here I am holding up my side of the board (with some extra grimace for the camera!)
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And then there’s the great Ladder Straddle that happens sometimes….
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By the end of this morning, we had finished up to the doorway, except for the very top row.
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After lunch, (so I’ve been told) Gary ripped off the next section of old siding, pre-cut some boards for next week, and even got some of the students here to help him with those long 12 ft. boards on the top row. I’ll verify that tomorrow!

It was a good first week. Oh, it was a little colder than we had expected, but then again, that was frost on the grass, and not snow! We dug out our hats and gloves and dressed in layers. Lots of layers! And we were please to ‘accept our mission’!

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

 

 

New Month – Familiar Neighborhood!

Today was another ‘on the road’ day for us as we officially moved from our November project in Mississippi to our December project in the FL panhandle. Here’s what I wrote over on the “So where are we now?” page –

Nov 27 – Dec 22

Gateway Academy/Teen Challenge
1213 Hope Circle
Bonifay, FL 32425

We worked at this location on our fourth SOWER project, back in March of 2005. Wow – over 15 years ago! After that first time we returned for two other winters as an SOA (SOWER on Assignment – extended months usually for a particular purpose) to help set up the air conditioning in a new building. Although we may have stopped by a time or two, the last time we worked here was May 2008. So while some things seem familiar, others (like almost all of the staff and of course the boys!) will be new to us! And we do like that aspect of things. Hopefully we’ll get to connect with some friends from those good ol’ days and get reacquainted with the area. I’m counting on it being another blessed month!

We getting settled after a full day’s drive and looking forward to doing a bit of exploring over the weekend. Or maybe we’ll just take some naps! But this I know – no alarms for the next two mornings! Yippee!

 

Oh – Here are the answers to Wednesday’s geography puzzler. Sorry, Doug, you only got 50% correct! But thanks for guessing!

Kansas
Montana
Arizona
South Dakota