Archive for September 19th, 2009

Monday was Work Day

Most of you know I was a person who offered to work for free (V) for a house build in the area on Monday.   You know…. the show where they build a new home for a needy family in 7 days?  On the alphabetical network.  🙂

(I’m not naming the show so this doesn’t come up on a search.  🙂 )

The site was about 35 mins away and I was lucky to get signed up for the V spots within 5 minutes of the start time for sign-ups.  We were only allowed to sign up for two 4 hour segments and all the spots were taken in 5 hours!  I was also on the on-call list for days but so were about 500 others I heard.

We were to report to the V check-in about 3 miles from the site 45 minutes before our time began.  I actually got there an hour before.  Signed 2 papers of fine print that I had taken with me from the website, got my blue tshirt, and hard hat.  She said, “Run to the bus before it leaves!”

Since I knew I had to wear the tshirt, I had worn a tank top so the extra layer wasn’t on top of another tshirt.  So there I went running to the bus.   It seemed like maybe 6 or 7 others were on the bus.  But sure enough, as I sat down the bus pulled away.

I chatted with the woman across the aisle.  This was her 3rd day at the site but she gave massages so not really V-ing at the build.   As we got off the bus, there were no instructions AT ALL but another gal & I saw a sign across the road for Vs so we headed there.

We had gotten there just after 11 a.m.  Probably the bus crowd was light because we were early for our shift.

At the top of the hill, the massage lady was coming back down and she said we weren’t to go there, we were just to go down to the house and ask where they needed help.

Sounded odd, but we had no idea what we were doing so turned and went down the long lane to the house.   As we walked, we introduced each other and I had my new friend, Jen.  🙂  She had driven an hour to work on the site.

At the house, there were lots of people in blue V shirts just standing around.  I asked 2 if they knew where we were to go and they said no.  I recognized them as the letter-writers that had nominated the family.  I asked another place and they said at the top of the hill across the road, follow the V signs!  Argh!! That is where we were heading the first time!

So back up the hill.  The lane was not finished yet so rough with large rocks.  We had to watch for motor vehicles… usually little golf carts transporting someone else back up the hill to tent city.

Finally at the V check-in table, we were given charge of the table while the coordinator went to the house to get a job list.

just arrived

Thankfully no one came to check-in because all we could do was tell them to wait!  The head of the food tent came and requested the first 6-8 people to go help her.  (Jen & I confired with each other that we didn’t want to serve food, we wanted to go to the house!)

The coordinator came back just as 10 blue shirts headed up the hill!  After several went to serve food, she gave us a job.  We were to go find brooms and “sweep the steps”.   So down the hill we went again!  We tried the barn, no brooms.  The next building (also for livestock) netted one broom but we both wanted to work!

house 3

(The paperwork included rules that if you aren’t working you may be asked to leave.)

Off to another area where there were work tents set up and there a PILE of brooms so we took our pick!  🙂  We each took a regular broom and then we also took the push broom from the first building since we didn’t know what we’d really need.

Now back to the house.  And where do we find the steps that need sweeping?  So we wandered down the hallway to the kitchen/great room and in the center were steps.  Nice, very nice, hardwood steps with people working there, work crew steps to the upstairs were beside them, and then basement steps.   All were dirty.  We swept the basement steps.   Took 2 of us about 2 minutes!

We checked the nice steps and decided to sweep them.  Not so many men on them at this point.  The railings weren’t up yet so it was easy to sweep over the edge.  🙂  Just what your mom would love!!

Done with our job!  And we were now upstairs so we swept the hallway a bit.   Soon a security man from the production crew said he needed me to keep the hallway & steps clear of workers.  😀   OK.  A group filed out of one bedroom and once they were down, no one else came by.   Jen stayed in a room at the end of the hallway, still sweeping.

If needed, Roger would tell me what to do.  Roger (from the production crew) was holding a huge tray of electrical equipment and had a few ear pieces in.  They did a few dry runs with the female star in pink.  You know who I mean, right?  🙂

Then Roger said the next one was “it” and we’d have to step back into the doorway to the bathroom for that.  I said OK.  Then he had a thought and asked if I wanted to be in the filming.  🙂  He suggested I go stand in another bedroom doorway and sweep.  “Keep sweeping in the doorway until they are done.”  (It ended up being the cleanest 3′ of the whole house!)  Three takes later, they were done.

FYI, this was all the work the stars do.  Just pop in for filming and then are gone.  They don’t build the house.  (sorry to pop your bubble!)

Jen & I then continued sweeping because it was all we had found to do.   In that  room where Jen was sweeping and I did the doorway,  the girl who hand painted the wall design was there working.   And she was secretly hoping we’d leave so the dust would settle!  We were sweeping up drywall sanding dust.  :\ (which then settled in my lungs)

We went to the next room and swept there.  It was the sheep room where they had just filmed.   The family has some sheep and I assume the crew took this picture after the family left for vacation and they had it made into wallpaper.  Quite cool!

Jen & me in sheep roomJen & me in sheep room.

Jen & I then swept the kids’ bathroom and the last bedroom.    Looking for more work, we went downstairs to what is now the dining room and swept.  After another worker emptied the large trash barrel there, we picked up more trash.  We got trash from the workers in the kitchen and took out some boxes to the dumpster.

While we had been inside all this time, the contractor and some of his workers had built scaffolding on both sides of the center staircase and hung this “chandelier”.   (I got this pix off FB by someone else.)

inside house

Nearing outside again, I found a contractor worker and asked her if she had a job for us.  We were given new rags and sent up to the bedrooms to wipe the baseboards and clean out the window sills before they shop vac’d the room.

We ended back in the “science” room again and the painter agreed to pictures with us.  🙂

in science room(L-R: Me, someone I knew from swim but can’t remember her name, Jen, & the painter.  She has done other houses for the show.  But alas, is a V as well; not paid.)  The beakers on the shelves will have paint dried in them.

Finally we could wipe/dust no longer.

Outside, we wandered a bit looking for a job.  Soon the head V coordinator found us and sent us to the sheep barn for painting!  Yeah a good job!!

We missed being found 1st & put in charge of the job but as #2 & #3, we wereher first workers.  We got buckets of red paint & new paint brushes and started painting the posts.   After a while as others came in to paint, another worker said she had been working in the food tent.  Food was dwindling so if we hadn’t eaten, we should go soon!  It was 2:30 and I was getting hungry so Jen & I begged our “boss” to not give away our paint tools and promised we’d eat fast.  🙂

Back up the hill to the food tent.  I had some roast beef, salad, & 2 thin slices of cantelope.  Another bottle of water.  They served our proportions and I didn’t beg for more.   There were also tables in another corner with cookies and some place had ice cream treats.

Down the hill, back to painting.  The building was nearly done, we had done 2 coats of red on the posts and others were painting the walls a warm cream.   (For the sheep!!  I knew Phil would just LOVE this!  Not!)

The production crew came in the sheep barn and while we painted a few more coats of red to look busy, they filmed a male star (not THE star) along with a guest actor “painting”.  Then they went outside of the ‘barn’ to demo the solar curtain along the south side.

sheep barn

Finally, after we had put on the 4th if not 5th coat of red paint and all the cream brushes were busy on the walls, we headed out of the sheep barn.   They were now filming those 2 near where the real workers were laying sod for the front yard.  What a difference that makes!!

before sod

house 2

house 5

Jen & I headed in the house, hoping to find a job.  We swept again and then I used a poor excuse of a shop vac on the great room floor.  No attachments so basically on my hands & knees.  Oh brother!!  My little shop vac here in the basement does a better job.  Maybe it needed emptied.

The hardwood floor men had come in and started in the other side /parlor area.   (Parlor in a farm house???)   It is beautiful dark mahogony hardwood!  There had to have been 8 – 10 guys… nearly tripping over each other.  I’m sure they had the downstairs done in no time.  I wonder if the upstairs & kids’ rooms got the same flooring.

house 4(From the west end of sheep barn.  VIP tent on the left.  Tent city across the highway.  Horse barn on the far right.)

It was about 4:20 so Jen & I figured without much to do, we should leave before they read the marks on our hands that we were done at 4.   We walked back up the hill for more drinks and then waited at least 15 mins for the V bus to arrive.

volunteer sign

It was so great to have Jen to hang out with all day!   Very fun & nice!!

I got home just after 5:30 and was thrilled to see my back door in the skid loader bucket!  My carpenter had arrived to put in my new door.  🙂  Bliss on a small scale.

My thoughts:

  • the house is small and very modest.  Totally not over done from what I saw.
  • learned later that the wife asked for a not huge house.
  • there is a story behind all the yellow that we’ll hear when the show airs.  Good to know!  (outside now has shutters that match the trim)
  • baskets as kitchen cupboards looked cute.  Then I thought about it and wouldn’t want to use a basket for green beans & peanut butter, mixing bowls, or pots & pans.  I’d only need 1 basket – for towels & dishcloths.  Do you have baskets instead of cupboards?
  • the kids’ bedrooms are small.  Anxious to see them on the show with furniture.

The show will air in Dec 09 or Jan 10.

I was really glad to be able to help.  I enjoyed (in the past) watching the show but not because of the stars.   I’m not so sure I’ll be so keen on watching it now.  But I’m anxious to see this house.   It was great to see so many V come together for the project.

I worked another day as part of this and I’ll post about that later.

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