Monday, November 12, 2007

Shed your extras

Brief dispatches from the weekend times:

Thursday night: We discovered that wood putty, though stinky, is a miraculous material. It covered our window-trim troubles nicely. Filled holes and cracks with that stuff, put some primer on it after it dried, caulked some gaps, and already our trim looked much much better. Just imagine it with a finish coat of paint! Yes'm.

Friday: I did some cleaning to get ready for a big family weekend, then dug two holes at the base of our porch steps so that we could put posts in there below frostline. Also, I received a delivery of more insulation (including R-21 for the kitchen ceiling) and a bunch of borate-treated lumber for the new porch steps. What's that white stuff? Oh yes, it's the borate. The guy told me we could wait for it to wash off in the rain, or scrub with a plastic scrubby.

John came home a little early from work and soon after, his parents and sister Sarah arrived after a day-and-a-half trip from Florida. My dad and brother Seth followed shortly after that and we all feasted on pasta and the usual libations. Then we did an art project where we filled every square inch of available floor space with air mattresses and futons and sleeping relatives. I'd say it was a success, but the
critics seemed ambivalent.

Saturday: While the stair crew tackled the front of the house, my dad and I returned to the scene of our earlier crime, where the shed was resting on temporary supports and, we thought, needing to be rotated until it was square with the house. Later Saturday night, looking back on our day, we would agree that basically what we had done was to lift the shed up and put it back down. But Saturday morning, full of coffee and ambition, we didn't know this. We thought we were going to pivot the shed.

Massive calculations ensued. For a four-cornered building to rotate on one of those corners until the other three land on predetermined points is more complicated than we thought. It's simple if you're just taking a piece of paper to represent the building and rotating it on the table. It's not simple when you have to set up skids and rollers on which the building will move, and jacking and blocking and dirt and
grass and a winch hooked to two young trees are involved. We sketched and jacked and visualized and winched, and this went on until lunchtime or beyond. We'd rotated the shed about 3 inches along a 3-foot proposed path, and the prospect of simply leaving the shed facing the way it was became more and more attractive. And so that is what we did.

It's not square with the house, but it does follow the line that marks the edge of our yard, so it actually works perfectly well aesthetically. Why torture ourselves? Building posts under the corners will make it official. We dug two holes under the front and then joined the stairs team. Welcome to your new home, Snoopy.

Sunday: We didn't have much time until Dad and Seth had to leave, especially after we took a nice leisurely walk and had breakfast. We did use Dad's truck to move stones from the old shed foundation up to its new spot, and I started to construct one of the new posts. Won't be a tough job to finish this up.

And meanwhile, as you can see in John's post, the porch stairs were really coming together. What a feeling to have another major item on our list mostly finished in one blur of a weekend! Thanks to all our wonderful helpers.

- Erika

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