Back in early April, I took a leap of faith and headed north to participate in a joint training exercise/community service project with Team Rubicon and Habitat for Humanity Omaha. MOBEX Trigger was my first real foray into Team Rubicon and I had no idea where it would lead. Actually, I'm still trying to figure that all out. All I know is that I've found my tribe. That's really I need to know right now.

This past week, The Girl and I were able to head back up to Omaha for Olympic Trials and we had time between the morning and evening sessions to head over and check the progress on the house I worked on. And I was able to show my girl some of what I had been involved in and give her an idea of not only what kind of impact it had on me, but more importantly what kind of impact it (and everything that HFHO is doing in the neighborhood) had on the community.

When we were there in April, the tentative plan was to have the redo of the house complete sometime in late May. However our site lead, Mona, cautioned us that these old houses often have surprises waiting for the teams so that timeline was very fluid. And she was right. Here it is the end of June and progress on the old house hasn't gone as quickly as was anticipated - partly because of the house itself and partly because HFHO was really busy with their mission of completing FIFTY homes in the North Omaha area by the end of the summer.

The transformation in the area is remarkable. Just in the 2.5 months since I was there, the neighborhood's feel has changed significantly. What used to be empty, barren lots filled with brush and debris are now home to brand new homes with bright windows and wonderful landscaping. There were kids out playing everywhere and an energy present that wasn't as strong last time I was there. The transformation is remarkable.

The back side of the house. They finally peeled the LAYERS of siding off and got down to the bones.

The garage was on its way to completion.

The front of the house. That upper story and front porch were almost the death of us. Literally.

Back in April, we were given a tour of this house and, while standing in the upstairs front bedroom, you could see the slope of the upper floor toward the front of the house. As we're being given the tour, part of our crew was at work demo'ing the porch. Thankfully they didn't get very far. Come to find out, the upper floor/porch wasn't really support by footings of any substance - just the pillars that they had been working on with sledgehammers. Additionally, when the floors were torn into upstairs, it was found that, at some point, someone had poured CONCRETE into the floors - possibly as an insulation attempt.

All of that to say that, had our team actually succeeded in demoing the porch at that point, things would have ended poorly for us.

When all was said and done, they had to jack the upper floor up about 5 inches using three jacks - a 5-ton, a 3-ton, and a 2-ton (L-R in the picture) and even then, the 2-ton jack kept kicking out. Craziness.

But she's coming along nicely and Mona says they do have a family selected for this house. They didn't have a timetable for completion yet. The kids and I are going to head back up to Omaha at some point before school starts and hit the zoo. When we do, we'll make sure to swing by and grab an update!

Cool side note: one of the gentlemen that was working on the house the day we went by, and who gave us the 10 cent tour, is actually from the town I currently live in and still has family here. So the invitation was extended to have him swing by and at least say hi or sit down for a mean with us when he's in town next.

Small world! I love it!

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