Sunday, July 27, 2008

Who needs Bob Vila?

Well, I might.

So, this past Friday I had the afternoon off.  Tiffany asked me what I had planned for my free time to which I replied:
"I'm sure I can find something to do."  And that I did.

To the right is the "before".  Drab, boring, and poorly installed concrete steps.  I wanted them gone, replaced with a new cedar deck entry that is both larger and more in-tune with the style of the house.

After renting a jackhammer on my way home Friday, as well as a quick check of the health insurance status and location of the nearest ER, I got to work.  Rat-tat-tat-tat...the neighbors must really love me by now.  Tiffany may NOT since I called her later that afternoon asking "do you have my camera?"
Her response:  "yeah, why?"
Me:  "oh, I just wanted to take an 'in progress' photo"
Tiffany:  "of what?"
Me:  "of the changes"
Tiffany:  "WHAT changes?......oh no, you don't have any front steps anymore do you.  I'm not sure I like it when you have afternoons off."

Smart girl.  

This is the earliest 'in progress' photo I have, taken shortly after Tiffany came rolling into the driveway - earlier than usual.  I think she was in a hurry to come see the damage (ahem) progress.

Well, what I suspected would be the case indeed was.  Not only had water found its way between the concrete and cedar siding, causing it to rot, but whoever installed the steps piled dirt up higher than the concrete foundation so bugs and moisture rotted out the wood under the floor joists.  Wood which was so old it was not pressure treated and welcomed the invasion.

This job just went from somewhat routine to something worthy of a segment on the 'This Old House' television program.

Nice eh?

I stood scratching my head for a bit, wondering how I was going to proceed.  Then I placed a call to Tiffany's dad Richard who does this type of work.  A short time later he was standing in the yard telling me "all we need to do is this, that, check this, jack that up, cut this out, pound that in."  OK Richard...what are you up to Saturday? Lucky for me he wasn't busy so we agreed to set off on the demo and rebuild.

I was a bit nervous.  Seems every project on this house ends up being more involved than anticipated and this particular project is more than I've ever taken on in terms of home improvement.  Plus, when I start cutting stuff apart on this place it usually reveals additional problems which then forces the debate of "well, if I'm into it this far is it better to just fix it all correctly and not shortcut it?"  I always cave, wanting to fix everything which makes the job even more complex and time consuming.

I'm happy to say that thanks to Rich's help and knowledge, this time the repair was free of surprises and problems.  First, we jacked the house up to take the pressure off the area we were going to cut out and replace.  

Yeah, I was the lucky one who ventured into the crawl space to do this work.  It's not fun laying on your side, jacking a house up right above your nose, and hearing it creak.

Once that was done we systematically cut out the old and rotted wood and built everything back up with pressure treated lumber that should be good for another 100 years.  We were even able to lift the corner of the house up about 1/2" to make the front door level.  Of course, now the door frame has some funky gaps but that's a project for another day.

This is how things looked before we covered it all up with felt paper, marking the end of the rebuild.  All that's left now is to source a few pieces of 1/2"x 8" beveled cedar siding and get them primed, painted, and installed.

Oh, and to build the entry deck which was the target project when I started.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rachel & Terry's Wedding

A few weeks ago Ryan and I traveled down to Portland to celebrate the marriage Rachel and Terry! It was a wonderfully personal backyard ceremony. Rachel and Terry were accompanied by thier children, MarLeigh and Adam. Bowman and Taylor were beautiful bridesmaids. Bev made delicious chocolate rum cakes with real whipping cream.
Everyone had a wonderful time!!!

pic1...Rachel & Terry......pic2...Bowman, Rachel & Taylor

pic3..."The Leigh Grin" Bowman, Ryan, Rachel & Taylor...pic4...Bowman, Me & Taylor

pic1...Rachel, Terry, MarLeigh & Adam......pic2...Bev & Tim

pic3...Yummy Rum Cake......pic4...Colorful Flowers......pic5...Nancy, Dennis & Donna

If you would like, you can check out a few more pictures here.