How I got introduced to construction Part 3

Finally, we are at the last post to this trilogy. We left off earlier with Reinaldo’s decision for a kitchen remodel, or addition rather than remodel. Prior to this I had not had any building experience but have been on a few construction sites with Brentwood plumbers in the past. Although this was a lot different as we were in the mountains of Puerto Rico with no electricity.

So throughout the  first half of the day I was cutting grass with a machete and composting/mulching the fruit trees with the cut grass for nutrients. This practice not only helped maintain the property but also offered natural fertilizers to the crops. The second half of the day, Reinaldo and I would cut down trees for framing the the addition the his outdoor kitchen. The process was extremely strenuous involving many steps for prepping the logs before dropping them in their designated post holes. Here is the process we undertook:

  • find trees that Reinaldo liked the looks of
  • cut trees down with a handsaw, luckily we had a chainsaw for a few
  • pull trees up hill with Jeep Cherokee
  • debark trees with machete
  • coat base of tree with used car oil
  • carry tree to hole
  • drop tree in whole
  • tree is now post
  • secure newly dropped post with tamped dirt

This process took about a week to fulfill. I felt like a man when it was over. Now we had to find some more smaller trees for the cross beams and rafters, debark and nail them to the posts. At this point in the process is when I received the most painful blow to my body I’d ever experienced. While nailing one of the rafters to a post, I was distracted by Reinaldo talking and missed the nail. Yep, hit my thumb. It was absolutely brutal. For 5 days the left side of my body in its entirety was aching. Hammer blows are like nothing you can imagine. I still cringe in fear when I think back to that rememberable day in the sun. I took the rest of that day off work, receded to the children’s playhouse I was living in at the time, and smoked some pot.

In short, this was my introduction to construction. More to come soon!


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