The guys promised me that they'd have the porch off the house by nightfall. I was skeptical.
They started by knocking down the last big piece of the roof.
That's my son, Dylan, on the right and his friend Steve on the left. Here's what they said, in case you can't hear them over that incessant bird-chirping:
Dylan: Well, that worked out better than I thought it would.
Steve: I'm most impressed with the fact that it didn't kill us.
Encouraged by their success with that, they decided to start removing the "edges" of the porch--that rim of clapboards above the porch posts--by using a chainsaw to cut through the clapboards on either side of the porch posts, and then lowering each chunk of clapboards, porch post, and brackets to the ground with cord so the porch posts and brackets wouldn't be damaged. It was a beautiful plan.
Now might be a good time to mention that neither Dylan nor Steve is a structural engineer.
I had such confidence in this plan that I didn't even bother to watch. I thought it would be boring. So I went out to the little strip of garden between my front sidewalk and the street to pull weeds.
About ninety seconds later, after a brief burst of chainsaw buzzing, I heard a giant CRRRRAAAAACCCKKK and Steve yelled, "It's going! It's going!" I turned around in time to see Dylan leap off the porch and into the side yard as the entire structure of the porch slowly twisted and began falling towards the house. Towards the house. I screamed like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Dylan and Steve were yelling, the porch was making a horrible splintering noise and--
And about this time my elderly neighbors arrived home from the grocery store and heard the screaming and the terrible noise of the porch falling. Floyd shouted from their back yard, "Everybody okay?!" Of course, we couldn't hear him. Because we were still screaming.
I ran towards the house and yelled, "Door! Door!" Steve raised his arms up in front of him in a sort of Wonder-Woman-golden-cuffs pose. Like that would stop either him or the door from being smashed.
WHOMP!! The porch hit the floor. When I stopped screaming and my hands stopped shaking, I took this photo.
The only casualties were Dylan's bottle of Gatorade, which took a direct hit and burst open, and the charger to his Sawzall. The porch twisted as it fell and somehow missed hitting either the house or Steve. Miraculously, not a single one of the porch posts or brackets was damaged. In another stroke of incredible good luck, the brackets separated from the posts, and the posts from the top of the porch, so we didn't even have to knock them apart.
The three of us were still laughing about our good fortune when Floyd's wife Gwen crept around the side of the house, her eyes wide. "I heard a crash and yelling, and then I didn't hear anything, and for a moment I thought the three of you had been mashed," she said. Gwen looked around at the front yard, with the porch posts splayed out and Gatorade streaming down the sidewalk and said, "Well, that went not exactly as planned." Um, no, not exactly. About two-thirds of one cut with the chainsaw and the whole thing came tumbling down.
But hey, the porch is gone! And in far less time than anyone predicted.