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A weekend of ow

So on Friday after work, I headed down to ez2beve's in KCMO
(actually Independence) to fix her sagging front porch roof.

Friday:
Got down a little after 9:00, and we decided to go and see Blade:
Trinity
, which turned out to be a whole lot of fun. Great
vampire-explody effects. Got back and slept.

Saturday:
Slept in, got a late start to the Home Depot to get supplies.
A little more running around than I probably should have done, helping
Bryan get his wheels changed out on his Camaro. Meant I didn't get
started on the porch until it was starting to get dark, so I basically
did demo. That involved a lot of jacking up the roof, bracing it with
4x4 posts, lowering the jack, moving it, lather, rinse, repeat.
Decided to go see I, Robot at the cheap theater. Again,
pleasantly surprised, and happy to find that the lead robot was played
by Alan Tudyk (if you watched Firefly, you'll recognize the
name).
After that, dinner at the Olive Garden with a bored waitress, tasty
wine, and pretty doggone good food.

Sunday: The Day of Reckoning
Got physically started around noon. Most of the day was spent measuring,
cutting, drilling, gluing, and nailing wood, which is really pretty
boring unless you have a thing for architectural engineering, so I'll
leave off most of the boring bits. There was a cute little time when I
went into the bathroom, and realised that my face was absolutely covered
with dirt and dust from the demolition, and I looked like Al Jolson in
blackface.

Decided to make a little change of plans after tearing off the old wood
revealed an old beadboard roof complete with rotted patches. The change
involved the geometry of the beams: originally there were going to be
three 2x6's side by side like so:

+--+--+--+
| | | |
| | | |
| | | |
+--+--+--+

Instead, I changed it to two wide and one spanning the top:

+-----------+
| |
+--+--+-----+
| | |
| | |
| | |
+--+--+

Which made a lot more sense in the context of what was there for
support, and probably saved me an hour of careful cutting. The thing
that I forgot to take into account was that this now made the whole unit
7 inches high instead of 5-1/2 inches. That did come back to bite me in
the butt.
And for aesthetic reasons, I made 45-degree mitered corners.

The side pieces went in more slowly than I would have liked. It involved
a lot of custom cutting to fit with the house, and it was starting to
get dark by the time I finished. So we took a break and got Subway, and
headed off to K-mart to get some additional lights (where I managed to
knock bulbs over and break them on the floor, but that's not important
now).

Okay, the big outer beam is slightly over 20 feet long. The longest 2x6
boards that I had were 12 feet. So I designed them to be assembled out
of six pieces, and staggered the seams as much as possible to distribute
the weak points the furthest possible distance. Combine that with 16d
ring-shank nails, construction adhesive, and reinforcing nailer plates,
and I was pretty convinced it would be dandy strong enough to handle the
load of the roof.

Of course, this beam was now a one-piece unit that probably weighed
250-300 lbs.

Um.

I finished the cutting and assembly part sometime around 9:00 or so, and
I was starting to get fatigued. And I didn't know how I was going to get
the last piece up there and in place. I had moved all of the support
posts so that I had a clear shot from the front of the house, but no
ladder. And that extra inch of height was turning out to be a pain in
the ass, because I had to raise everything at least another inch.

Finally I got it nearly into place, and Eve came out to help.

The bastard didn't fit.

It was catching on something, and I couldn't see what it was, but it
kept twisting and not dropping into place like it should have.

Hours went by.

We finally got it up on two of the supports, and while I was thinking of
what was wrong with the third one, it slipped and fell off, and caught
me in the arm.

I wanted to scream.

We talked about calling it, and I would just come down next weekend and
finish, because it was now after 11:00. But I had also found what the
problem was, or at least I thought I had, and ended up jacking up yet
another part of the roof and decided to give it one last shot.

By this time, I could barely lift the beast. We got one end up on the
support, and started bringing up the other end. It seemed to be going
smoothly, and it almost fit. So there was some more
back-and-forth juggling, and suddenly it popped into place, and with one
last hammer whack, it locked in to its groove, and we were solid.

I think they heard the cheer for miles.

Lowered the roof back down, and she's all pretty. It's solid and high
and proud, and it even looks better stylistically (or at least I think
so). And after cleaning up a bit, I hopped in the truck a little after
midnight and made it back to DM a little after 3:00.

Only to have to get up at 7:00 for work.

Dear lord, shoot me now.

My left arm is bruised from elbow to wrist, my right arm (the
hammer-swinging arm) feels like spaghetti, my back feels like somebody
trampled it with a garden weasel, and I'm just damn happy.

It was a good bit of work.

And Eve, bless her heart, gave me a really nice massage chair.

Now all I need is a masseuse.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
windelina
Dec. 15th, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you for fixing my mommy's house.
magicmarmot
Dec. 15th, 2004 07:46 pm (UTC)
Just a small part.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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