Missions Trips Chapter 19: Teamwork

To read this story from the beginning, click here.

Friday, Day 7

We rose this morning to Work Day #3. Pat finished pouring the elevated and graded floor for the new shower while I ran the shop vac across the rest of the floor in preparation for the tile. Next, we laid out all the pieces to make sure our measurements had been correct, trimmed two pieces, numbered all the cut pieces, then gathered them back up again. Pat mixed some more thin-set, and then we went to work. He did most of the spreading and setting while I handed him the pieces as he called for them. Occasionally we switched places to give his knees a rest. We had half the floor laid by lunchtime, and the rest was done in short order afterwards.

With that floor done, except for the shower, we turned our attention to the existing shower, for those walls were as yet unfinished. The wall tiles were 24×12, and as all the cuts would be made on the short end, we were able to use the tile cutter almost exclusively for this project. We tiled one wall at a time, cutting the tiles to fit and staggering their placement so that the vertical seams did not meet, the back wall excepted, as it was exactly the width of two tiles. In retrospect, we realized that we should have cut one tile on the second and fourth rows (of 5) and placed the whole tile between the cut pieces, but by then it was too late.

Since the floor is graded toward the drain hole in the wall, we used 1×3 boards, nailed into place, to mark level all the way around. Later, the boards will be removed and we’ll cut tiles to fit, forming a baseboard of sorts. We’ll use the same tiles, but turn them the other direction (90° rotation).

With the exception of the baseboards, the entire shower was tiled and our mess and tools cleaned up by 5:00. Kawal was able to work with us on this project, and at times we were all three in the shower at the same time. Spacious as it was, I still felt cramped and hot. The island enjoys a wonderful breeze that blows nearly all the time, and the house is designed to take advantage of that breeze—but we didn’t feel much of it in the shower. To make matters worse, today was the hottest day we’ve had since we got here. But all that said, I truly enjoyed the teamwork we demonstrated on this project.

My feet have been swelling a lot, a reaction to a new medication for migraine prevention, and they hurt after a while. The knee that was injured in the car accident has also started hurting again, presumably due to the swelling. So vacating the work inside the shower, I sat down on the bathroom floor and cut the tiles to size as Kawal handed them to me. My feet and knee thanked me, and I was still able to be a productive member of the team.

The shower is out of commission until we finish tiling, grouting, and sealing, so we took turns with sponge baths when we were ready to wash ourselves up. As we freshened up, we retreated to the lounge area to rest. Well, the men sat out there and talked, but I excused myself to the bedroom and lay down flat in the air conditioned bedroom. I enjoy the heat probably more than most folks, but the a/c is quite refreshing after a hard day’s work. Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t also mention the fact that it simply felt good to lie down flat, with or without the a/c.

At 6:00 we pulled the leftovers out of the fridge and reheated them for dinner. Thank the Lord for leftovers!

As much as I would like to finish the shower and the other tiled areas (all still waiting for grout), Kawal announced that tomorrow will be a day of relaxation. But perhaps after we rest we will still have time to put up the baseboard in the shower. We shall see….

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