Introduction (Akira, December 16th, 2020)
My name is Akira and my husband, Michael and I were accepted into the program for the Wyocena build in August of 2020. We applied because we knew it would be one of our only shots for owning a home anytime in the near future. We were paying a rent so high that other basic necessities like food, and healthcare were pushed to the back burner. This program has changed our lives and given us hope for the future. There are many times where Michael and I will drive by the build-site to daydream about our puppies playing in the yard, how we would have a place for family to stay and visit with us, or even having room for possible children one day. It sounds silly but those are images we never even allowed ourselves to imagine because that reality seemed so unobtainable and far off for a long time. Habitat for Humanity granted us an opportunity to change our future and I'm grateful for all the staff that has guided us to where we are now.
I was quite nervous when we began this journey because I felt like I did not know much on the process of building a home and was intimated by all the knowledgeable volunteers. But Bill, Larry, Herb and Joe have been so patient and kind to me that I know that I can handle most tasks thrown at me. So far we have learned how to seal windows, install vinyl siding, put together a railing system and many more skills I never imagined I would know how to do. The experience I have gained in such a short amount of time has been amazing. Everyday that I show up to the build site I feel more and more confident in what I'm doing. The first week I could not even tell you what an impact drill was and how that was different from any other tool! I look forward to learning even more as time goes on.
On a last note, I just want to say that Michael and I both greatly appreciate all the volunteers and the hard work that they put in. Especially now with the colder weather, it has not gone unnoticed. Thank you.
Mentorship (Lila Waldman, January 4th, 2021)
In case you are wondering who the woman is in this photo with Michael and Akira, Lila Waldman, Habitat for Humanity of Wisconsin River Area Board member is serving as their mentor. Family support mentors serve as advocate/liaison between the future homebuyer and the Board. Our Habitat affiliate provides homebuyer education in a number of areas which include financial education, home care and maintenance, and community engagement. Lila, a master gardener, also educates and assists Habitat homebuyers in designing and landscaping the property on which their new home is located.
Hello! Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season!
This weekend Michael & I were joined by his sister, Veronica as we worked on the drywall. We accomplished drywalling two bedrooms, the bathroom and started working in the living room. Seeing the walls close everything in made it feel more real that this will be our future home. You can start visualizing where you are going to hang family photos and really start planning future room layouts. Honestly, this was one of the more exciting days for us! Its a rewarding feeling knowing that I helped put these wall studs up and now I am covering them in drywall.
This upcoming Saturday, we look forward to hopefully finishing drywall and blowing in insulation. Meanwhile, Michael & I are currently working with Stephanie Kessenich to complete our Homebuyer Education. Can't wait to see what we accomplish this week!
Update - Drywall! (Akira, January 7th, 2021)
Hello! Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!
This past weekend Michael & I were joined again by his sister, Veronica, her boyfriend Nate, and Supervisor Joe as we worked on the flooring and trim! The flooring got completely installed in the kitchen and living area as well as the bathroom. We definitely learned that we were doing it the hard way when it came to installing it near the walls. Joe showed us how to easily hit vinyl plank into place with another board instead of trying to fit a whole hammer between the wall and the flooring. Way easier than how we were doing it! It's nice not only learning how to do these skills, but having a teacher who shows you all the tricks. With the skills I have learned so far, I was actually able to create a wooden watch box for Michael for Valentines Day. Now, I put the hinges on backwards at first and there is still a lot of wood glue on it. But, I was able to make something I had never done before!
Another task we started was installing the trim along the floor and around all the doors! I quickly learned how much of a perfectionist my husband is when it comes to everything being lined up perfectly. It was actually appreciated because I know he really cares about this home and seeing him smile when he took a step back and loved his own handiwork is not something I get to see often. He kept saying he didn't want to make a mistake and have it stare at him every day for the next 60 years! We will continue working on the trim this upcoming Wednesday. Luckily inside the home is feeling extra toasty with the cold weather. Hope to see you there!
Update - Flooring! (Akira, February 15th, 2021)
Update - Cabinetry!
(Akira, March 8th, 2021)
Hello! It seems we are getting close to the end of our journey! This week we really focused in on the interior of the home and finished all the baseboards and closet doors. We also accomplished putting the cabinetry in and seeing the kitchen layout for the first time! It has been a busy month, and we are now about one month out until the home is completed. Since we are in the last stages we have also begun purchasing items for the home. Michael & I purchased some new pots and pans, as well as cutlery! We were very excited to purchase items for the kitchen once we had installed the cabinets.
While we are thrilled to have a home to call our own, it also comes with a tinge of sadness as we will be separating from Michael's family. This past year we have been living with them and I have grown incredibly close to his two sisters, Michelle and Veronica. I am deeply grateful that I have had the opportunity to share a home with them and build such strong bonds with his family. It will definitely be a very bittersweet goodbye. But, at least they have promised to come visit us at the new home once it is completed!
The emotions in the last stretch of this process are much stronger. When the carpet was installed this week, Michael and I took a moment to lay down on it and appreciate the hard work that has been done, especially by the volunteers. So many people have had a hand in building a home for us and it is such an overwhelming feeling to see just how many people truly care. We want to extend our gratitude and appreciation, thank you.