Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Round Two for Me

Some of you don't know about my early years, when I went to University out in Utah at Brigham Young. I was married at 19 to someone I met in the condos I lived in. We heard about this self help program from some family, and decided to apply a few months after we were married. Luckily I had stellar credit as a 19 year old and we were accepted right away and started building a home within the year. There were seven families in our group and we all helped each other. We built one house at a time, to completion and then moved onto the next. We were all in the same rural neighborhood on Utah Lake which was across from Provo, in the town of Saratoga Springs. 

Each house had a different floor plan, there might have been two the same. The floor plan we chose had a big open space and lots of windows with nice views. We had no trouble agreeing on a plan. We were both drawn to the same one. We chose the plot of land with a nice view and next to a few homes that were already built. 

Part of the program was to work on the house for 30 hours a week. And we were both working full time jobs as well. No babies yet. We went to bed dog tired every night. We would drive 30 minutes one way to work on the house 3 days a week and all weekend. Grandpa Dick (Pictured below) would come 45 minutes from Salt Lake City to come build with us one day in the week and every Saturday without fail. He was our biggest support. 

We had a foreman that was a student at BYU to ask questions to, but for the most part we were on our own. There was a lot of discussion on the proper way to do things. Grandpa and I would bicker back and forth for a few minutes and usually come to the best solution for any problem we faced. We worked so well together. I got really buff. And I could frame circles around most of the men, an some happened to do that for a living.  Reading plans came easily to me, and I loved to frame. Give me that nail gun and get out of the way. 

I also particularly enjoyed roofing. I contributed to every single roof. Even the Mexican families roof, despite the fact that they had all their family come out and do it in one day. It was very satisfying to put down the subfloor. It was a clean slate every time. Once it was done, the layout and framing began. Snapping chalk lines, measuring where the interior walls went. Reminiscing about building our house reminds me how much I really loved it! I learned so much. Not many people can say they owned a house at 20. And not many people can say they built seven houses by the time they were 21. It took us a year and a half to build those 7 houses. 

From start to finish, we knocked the pins off the foundation, then tarred it. We built up the load bearing wall in the basement, then put on the joists. Next came the subfloor, exterior walls and sheathing. Somewhere after that we did trusses, interior walls and sheathing on the roof. Then we would roof the damn thing. We did all the painting, finished carpentry, and rough plumbing. As well as yard work with the skid steer and sprinkler systems. I am efficient in all of these things. 

We did not do sheetrock, or finished plumbing or electrical. And our own home we had to paint twice. There was a heater left on with the wrong gasoline in it, and created black smoke residue all over our house. We had to scrub it down and repaint. That sucked. For homes down there in the dryer climate, stucco is popular for the exterior. We also did rock on the exterior of every house. Our home was done in the winter. That was a challenge for me to get that rock to stick! You have to have the mixture just right. 

Roofing those houses was either blasted hot, and the shingles would tear and melt all over the place and burn your hands and knees if you weren't careful. Or, in the extreme cold you could barely cut them or they would just break. And the shingles seamed so much heavier in the freezing cold. We built on that house rain or shine, snow or 100 degree weather. And if you have spent any time in Utah its only either or. ;)

And my partner in crime stayed my partner thru all the house building. The people who ran the program told us that if your marriage could survive this experience it could weather any storm. They were partly correct. We were one of two young couples who did the program when we did. The other couple divorced during, endured till the end, and sold the house immediately making $30,000 each. We may not have stayed together long term, but we sure became better people from this experience. At least I know I did. We stayed in our home for 5+ years, brought both of our babies home from the hospital to this home we built, and had countless happy memories within the walls that we raised. It is a phase of my life I can look back on and smile, and shake my head because we survived it. It was one of the most challenging experiences, physically, mentally and emotionally. Literal blood sweat and tears every day. All worth it. 

Now, it will be my second time around. But this time, I am going at it solo. I have had a lot of support so far. And love. And help. But, the brunt of the work and the worry I take on my shoulders. And as you now can see, my shoulders are broad and strong. And I'll be just fine. 

I have been collecting like a mad woman, and preparing to have all my ducks in a row to go full throttle. Im still puttering along making sure I start my foundation piece right. Bought my insulation today. Im ready for some help with a forklift to hoist my trailer on end and start securing the boards I've painted. All in due time. Pictures to come as always. Thanks for reading. Peace out. 

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