Showing posts with label rot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rot. Show all posts

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to build a franken-deck

Our back step had gone from being softly rotting to actively dangerous. If you didn't step exactly in the middle of the step the whole thing would cantilever over to the side and pitch you into the bushes. We eat outside every night and we both started to feel like we were tempting fate, having someone as clumsy as me going up and down it in semi-darkness, usually with my hands full.

My sister came this weekend and took fancypants pictures of my dried-out garden! We ate crawfish and relaxed in the backyard and drank too much champagne. 

At one point she asked us, "Wait. You don't have kids. What do you DO all weekend?" And we were like, "Whatever we want. Nothing or a bunch of stuff." Actually, Sissy, this is what we do. We build franken-decks.

You'll want to remove the old rotting stairs, taking care to salvage the fern growing under them. You already have thirty ferns in the yard but that's not enough. Swear when a wasp comes flying out from underneath the deck. In case there's a nest under there, dig out the can of Raid from the basement. Put on a hoodie and gloves and watch as Greg arms himself with nothing but a hammer. Welding a hammer instead of protective clothing isn't stubborn at all, GREG. I'm sure that hammer will protect you against a swarm of stinging insects.


We're all good! There's no nest. There IS a pair of socks, a Pepsi bottle, a Ball jar, a broken coffee cup, a yogurt container (Yoplait strawberry), and a can of A&W cream soda. The former home owners were hungry and a little bit sloppy, apparently.

You know what else they were? Lazy. These posts aren't sunk into concrete. In fact, they aren't connected to the main platform in any meaningful way, they're just kind of wedged under there. Cheerfully remind each other than this is a stopgap measure, and that you're going to replace this whole deck next summer. Drive some extra nails into the posts.

Decide to use two of the old piers you found in the yard and two new piers, just to make the measurements more complicated. Start digging a hole and realize you didn't buy enough gravel, prompting your second trip to the Home Depot in less than an hour. Make sure to forget your phone! When you're en route and you're thinking, "He might need me to pick up something else, I should turn around and grab it," ignore that impulse. JUST KEEP DRIVING.

Get home and learn that you need a different kind of bracket. Head to Lowe's this time, just for variety. Take your goddamn phone this time, okay? Enjoy the fact that you're driving around in air conditioning while Greg is digging holes, tamping gravel, and measuring things in the blazing sun. This is kind of the best thing ever, actually. Get back just as he's finishing up the crossbeams for the new step.

Your timing is excellent.

Decide that you should actually help build this thing. Here baby, let me nail in the treads. Be sure to drift! Greg didn't labor all afternoon just to have you drive nails in a straight line. Also, don't pay attention to the boards moving out of line.

Decide to reclaim the facing board from the old rotting step, just to give it more of a shabby chic feel. Also: bragging rights. Oh, you bought new wood for your deck? We reclaimed wood from the old one because we actually care about the environment. Get an uncontrollable case of the giggles because it looks so franken-decky. That's okay though, because the new step is SOLID.

Eat so much chicken at dinner that you suspect Greg is wondering if you're pregnant. (dude. no.) Driving to the hardware store that many times and hauling bags of gravel is tiring! Never mind that he did most of the work.

Seriously though, I love doing home improvement projects with Greg. We always laugh a lot and there's nothing more satisfying than putting your arm around the man you love while looking at your completed project and thinking, "We built that fucked-up looking thing together."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The backyard fence

No joke, the day the house passed into my ownership a huge wind swept through the valley and knocked down a portion of my fence. It's like the universe wanted to welcome me to homeownership by crushing my spirits and taking all my money right away.

The neighbors put the fallen section in my yard. I met one of them this summer and I asked her if she knew who owned the fence, and was it a shared burden?

"Oh, we think the fence is yours!" she replied. Of course you do!

Ryan helped me jury rig the fence one morning using some rope. It looks classy, I know!

The posts (which are sunk in the neighbors' yard) weren't sunk into concrete.  The wood is rotting and the whole operation is ready to fall into their yard at any minute.


 I checked out a bunch of books on Oregon neighbor and property laws and promptly put them in a pile somewhere and forgot about them. I called the city and asked if they could just tell me if the fence was mine.  I was told I have to hire a surveyor who would figure out the property lines.  I need to spend some money just to (most likely) have someone tell me that the fence is mine.  I'm not thrilled.

Luckily it's wet and cold out and I don't think cement would dry in this weather, so I'm hoping I can hold off on a new fence until spring.  Last night was especially windy and I was convinced the whole fence was going to blow down.  Luckily, just that one part fell down again.  That, folks, is what they call the silver lining.

That looks sturdy, right?  Portland wind, KNOCK IT OFF.