The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

The Goddess Hangs Drywall

on October 21, 2013

Today I volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Challenge number two is complete.

My friend Fiona lives in Kitchener so with her friend Laurie we volunteered in Kitchener on Habitat for Humanity’s 100th house.  It was actually a row of four of five houses, but we worked on the end unit hanging drywall in the upstairs bedrooms.  Richard, a retired commodities broker, was our team leader and he and Gary, a retired city employee, walked us through the finer points of drywall installation. I learned how to measure and cut drywall, how to fit it into place and how to drive in drywall screws.

I have to be honest, by the end of the day I was wiped out, but Richard assured us that we all worked hard and that when one isn’t used to physical labour it can be exhausting.  I was glad to hear this because I had seriously considered cancelling this morning because I really wasn’t sure I could hack it.  My back is acting up again, I was worried about the physical demands of the work, and since my lung infection this summer I’m still experiencing some breathing difficulties  plus it was clear in the instructions that the only facilities were Porto-lets which are not made for big girls.  But I’m not a quitter and so at 6:30 this morning I set off for Kitchener and by 8:30 we were gathering our tools, donning our hard hats and readying ourselves for some hard work.

There was a break and snacks at 10:30, lunch at 12:30 and although the instructions said we had to stay until 4:30, Gary and another man lovingly dubbed “Uncle Ray”, who volunteer regularly, left at 3pm (I don’t think they encourage that, but for people who come regularly they are willing to make exceptions).  We were starting to lose the light, but we wanted to complete the room we were working on.  We finished the main walls and we were ready to call it a day, but Richard wanted us to learn how to install a piece of drywall on a ceiling.  So in a third room we put up one large sheet of drywall.  We were all tired, and to be honest I could have learned that lesson another day, but we managed and Richard told us how pleased he was with how much we had accomplished and he was genuinely impressed with us.

I am pleased with me as well.  I hung in all day long, I did my share and despite some sore muscles and a bit of wind burn I feel pretty good.  Oh and thank goodness they had a proper bathroom in the house next door which was used as an office and where snacks and lunch were served. I was worried that I might be treated differently or handed a broom because of my size, but I was treated just like everyone else which meant that I was challenged to learn new skills, but not overwhelmed.  I was encouraged to use tools and lug supplies, but no one questioned it or made me feel bad when I said I didn’t do ladders or when I handed off the drill for someone else to screw in drywall screws closest to the floor. I’m not sure given the time and the physical demands if I will run back to volunteer immediately, but I will definitely volunteer again sooner rather than later.

Collage of H4H 2013

That’s me on the left, top right Fiona, and bottom right Gary, Laurie and Richard.

– the Goddess


7 responses to “The Goddess Hangs Drywall

  1. Good for you! This is something I’ve always wanted to do but never made the time for.

  2. Good for you! This is something I’ve always wanted to do (volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, that is) but I’ve never managed to make the time for it.

  3. […] leave of absence was cold turkey. It’s not as though my job is physically taxing like, say, hanging drywall. But it can be mentally exhausting. Today it was that in spades. You know those days when you […]

  4. Well done! It must feel great to have that item from your list accomplished, and to have done so well at it. It’s so hard to step out of our comfort zone, but you’re so good at it!

  5. nancytex2013 says:

    Kudos to you Cynthia! You not only crossed an item off the list, but you also pushed yourself physically, and gave back so much in the process. Nicely done girl!

  6. Thanks everybody! I really did have a lot of fun. I’m hurting today, but it was worth it. And seriously it’s only a day off, so anyone can make the time with a little planning.

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