Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thursday and Friday

Thursday morning we got up bright and early.  My entryway looks more like a hardware store than a pretty little foyer.

 In almost no time at all, Mare had one side of the mansard roof shingled. 

And then he shingled the other half, and we put up a metal roof edge.

After that we wandered around a little bit while we waited on the lumberyard to deliver the roof decking and the rest of the roofing materials for the flat part of the roof.  We went to lunch while we waited.  We came back from lunch and waited some more.  At 1:30 p.m. the lumberyard called to say that they wouldn't be able to deliver our supplies that day. This is the third time in as many weeks that this has happened.  Grr. 

So I scraped some more paint off the east side of the house, and I wondered again why I left the most daunting wall on the whole house for last.  Why?  Why??  

Friday morning we got up bright and early again, because the lumberyard said they'd deliver the roof decking "first thing in the morning".  Apparently their idea of "first thing in the morning" is 9:30 a.m.  Grr.  

And then it started raining.  Sigh.

While it was raining, Mare and I stood in the front parlor and talked about how we were going to get five sheets of 5/8" roof decking from the sidewalk to the roof.  One at a time, obviously, but still.  In case y'all are also small people who aren't super-strong (or if you're just curious) this is how we did it:  we set up two ladders a few feet apart, picked up a sheet of plywood, leaned it against the ladder, and pushed it up as high as we could while standing on the ground.  Then I held up the plywood all by myself  and channeled my inner Xena Warrior Princess as Mare ran over, climbed up the other ladder, balanced on the rafters, and grabbed the top of the plywood.  He pulled and I pushed while climbing up a rung or two on the ladder until we had the damn thing wrestled onto the rafters.  This was not fun.  At all.

All hail the first sheet of plywood, nailed in place.

Four more times of wrestling plywood (only two more of which were full sheets) and the porch roof was decked.
See that roll of black stuff in the photo above?  That's rubber roofing.  It gets rolled out and glued down like giant strips of wallpaper.  Only a bigger pain in the hiney.

Especially when there's only about an inch and half between the porch roof and the eaves of the house roof.  So I made an applicator out of a paint stirrer, a sock, and a rubber band so that my son could get the glue all the way back to the edges of the porch roof.  The rest of the glue was rolled onto both the roof decking and the rubber roofing with a paint roller on a pole.

And then the wind came up and blew a flap of the rubber roofing over onto itself so that it stuck together, and without thinking Mare ran over to pull it apart, stepped in the glue, and nearly became a part of the roof himself.  I would've taken a photo but I was too busy laughing and trying to act like I was having a coughing fit so that Mare wouldn't get mad at me. 

Later I got this photo, though, which is even better.
Judging by the goofy look on his face, I'd say Marion is pretty happy that the roof's done.

I probably had a goofy look on my face too, after we stood in the middle of the street and looked at the porch for awhile. 

It almost looks finished, doesn't it?  Almost.  Except that there's no ceiling in it, it doesn't have spandrel, and it's not painted...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Say Hello To My Little Friend

I think the gable vent on the front of my house looks junky.  A few years ago one of the louvers blew off in a storm and couldn't be reattached (WTB tried) so it's had this big gap in it ever since.  Thursday morning I told Mare that I'd like to replace the gable vent. Instead of answering me, he went striding off and took a lap around the house.  I'm used to this by now; it means he's thinking about something before he answers.  "I've got a better idea, " he said.  "You've got two more gable vents at either end of the cross gables, so you don't really need this one.  Let's just take it out and side over the opening."  I thought this was an excellent idea, since I already had some extra clapboards that my neighbor Chris gave me and so this little project wouldn't cost me a dime.  Mare picked out a couple of clapboards that he could cut to the right length, climbed up onto the little roof at the front of the house, and yanked off the gable vent.  "Oh, shit!" he yelled.  This is never good. I ran over to the front of the house and saw him standing at the very edge of the roof holding the gable vent and laughing.  "We might wanna rethink this project," he said, "after you see what's up here."

I climbed up the ladder and looked where he was pointing, and this is what I saw:
That roundish object to the right of center is a bat.  A very small bat, about three inches long.  I think it's a Little Brown Bat.  (That's really the name of one of the most common kinds of bats in Missouri.)  "Aww, ain't he cute?" I said to Mare.  "We can't make him homeless.  Let's just put the vent back where it was."  So Mare very carefully, so as not to mash my little friend, put the gable vent back on and then he even more carefully painted the vent.  The bat didn't think much of this whole project and he grumbled a little bit about it (Mare heard him growling) but I think he's happier now that we're back down on the ground and he's all alone again.

Bats are so cool.  They eat thousands and thousands of bugs every summer, so I'm hoping he likes his little home in my gable vent and decides to chomp up a whole bunch of mosquitoes in my yard.  Porch-sitting will be so much nicer without mosquitoes.  

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Yesterday (Wednesday) was not a good day for me.  Too many days of not sleeping well caught up with me and I was in a mental fog most of the day, even after catching an unexpected three-hour nap Wednesday morning during a thunderstorm.  So thick was my mental fog that I sat here for several minutes comparing the photos from Tuesday and Wednesday and thinking, "What the heck did we do on Wednesday??" 

Here's Tuesday's photo, in case you missed it:

And here's Wednesday's photo:

Blink.  Blink, blink.  Oh, now I remember!  Wednesday we attached 2x4s to the header joists and then nailed small blocks to the 2x4s.  It's all part of the support for the soffit that we built today. 

Today we started out bright and early...and then we got bogged down.  The local lumberyard didn't have the lumber we needed but thought they could get it by noon, so Mare and I suspended the porch-building in favor of scraping paint.  I was on the east side (that big, yucky-looking yellow wall y'all see in my photos of the porch) and Mare was on the little roof above the stained glass windows at the front of the house.  He managed to get his section of the house scraped, primed, and painted.  I managed to get two blisters on my right hand while scraping eight clapboards.  When the lumber hadn't arrived by 1:30 in the afternoon, I went over to the lumberyard thinking they hadn't delivered it because I hadn't paid for it.  There I discovered that the lumberyard had been having One Of Those Days and they hadn't been able to get my lumber after all. That meant ordering the lumber from the lumberyard across the river and driving over there to pay for it, which meant the actual porch-building didn't start until 3:00 p.m. today.

It didn't take long to build the soffit.  I mean, the soffit and the fascia.

While we were putting that together, Mare informed me that I'm using the term soffit incorrectly and that it refers only to the boards at the bottom of the header joists and not to the whole "box" we built in front of them.  He says what I'm calling the soffit is actually the soffit and fascia.  Alrighty then. 

After that came the super-exciting part.  I'm not even kidding.  It really is super-exciting. It's so exciting that apparently I couldn't even focus my camera correctly, so sorry this photo is a little wonky.

We put 1x8s over the mansard rafters as roof decking, and now you can imagine what the roof will look like when it's done.  Doesn't that look great?!?!

I asked (because I wanted to know and because I knew y'all would want to know, too) why Mare decided to use 1x8s as decking there instead of regular plywood roof decking.  He said that the 1x8s are much sturdier and will make a better and sharper roof line.   I for one think the roof line looks pretty dang sharp. (I admit that he might not have meant "sharp" the way that I just used it.  Oh well.)

After we got the last 1x8 up there I ran out into the street to look at the porch.  I did in fact yell "Holy hell!" and jump up and down before I recovered my sensibilities. Then I ran back, got Mare, and made him close his eyes and walk out into the middle of the street while saying to him, "Don't open em yet, don't open em yet."  (Does this man trust me or what??)  When I finally said, "Okay, open em" and Mare saw the whole beautiful porch from a little distance, something remarkable occurred that's never before happened in the whole history of our friendship:  Mare was speechless.  We stood there in the middle of the street just staring at the porch and grinning like fools for several minutes.  Then a car came down the street and broke the spell and Mare said, "Go get us some of those doo-hickeys."  It's a mark of our 20-year friendship that I knew immediately that he meant hard cider.  So we sat on the steps of Mr. Carl's house drinking Hornsby ciders and staring at the porch until almost dark.  If y'all had been sitting there with us (and how cool would that be?!) this is what we would've been staring at:
The porch looks more finished than it really is.  There's no decking on the middle of it yet, just on the sloped part.  It needs shingles and rubber roofing, of course.  Spindles between the posts, too.  A little strip of moulding here and there.  And paint.  A whole lot of paint.  I'll get on that tomorrow.  Mare has other obligations, and I have work, so a week from today is the next porch-building day.