Wednesday, August 27, 2008

O Brother Where Art Thou

Rain was expected Sunday night so Ed skipped church in hopes of getting a big chunk of the roofing done before the storm. All morning, it was getting darker and darker. Finally at 1330, the skies opened up and it started to pour. Totally frustrated, Ed came down from the roof where it was just too wet and slippery to work any longer. He spent some time tarping plywood and tools, and setting buckets under drips inside the garage, and gave up for the day. Good thing it doesn't really rain here all the time, or we'd be in trouble!

Another 1/2" of rain overnight, which brings the total to 4 1/2" since Dan and Abraham left 2 1/2 weeks ago. Ed started up again to see what he could get done in the morning, as we were expecting company. Ed's brother Paul and his wife Cecilia, whom we hadn't seen for two years, were scheduled to arrive Monday, and Ed wanted to get some work done before they got here. He was working on fitting the plywood radius (radiui ..radiuses?) for the eyebrow dormer. Cut and fit, cut and fit, cut and fit.

Finally family arrived, and after Ed came down from the roof and the dog stopped barking, we went inside to visit. Ed was pretty good about first things first, but it didn't take him long to convince Paul that he would just love to climb up on a really high roof and help Ed build stuff. Yeah! You'll never see that on a vacation brochure! There was a lot of joking and laughing and male bonding going on up there. Both Paul and Ed seemed a lot happier up there working like donkeys than sitting around talking on the porch. Go figure.

Tuesday they were back at it bright and early, and managed to get 8 sheets of plywood up on the roof. Having Paul here to work with Ed really underscored how much easier and faster things would be if Ed had another carpenter here to help him. Things just went so much smoother, and safer, than with Ed working by himself. Next time Paul and Cecilia come to visit, maybe Paul will bring his toolbelt and a framing hammer!

During the day a roofing company came by to give us a bid on the shingles. Another company will be coming by Wednesday. It will be such a relief to get the roof on this beast. Wednesday morning everything was wet again. Ed went back to his "real" job and Paul and Cecilia, went to have a "real" vacation. Thanks again, Paul for the help, and Cecilia for keeping me company.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Slow Curves Ahead

Ed is starting to get nervous about the upcoming winter. The roof needs to get up and water-tight and it's alot to do by himself. And just to add a punctuation mark to the sentence, we had an early fall-type rainstorm this week that dumped 1.74" of rain . Just a little wake up call.

Ed started Sunday by working on the arched fascia boards for the eyebrow dormer. He was worried that he would have to splice two boards together to get the width needed, but that wasn't the case. He made a template, and cut out four pieces. Then he primed all faces. See all that lumber stacked to the left of the photo? That is one of two stacks of spruce that are drying. Last winter a 100+ tree came down in hurricane winds, right across the driveway. We had it milled out, and Ed is going to use it to make all the interior doors, window trim etc in the new house. Cool, huh?

Monday morning, we watched the weather report. Of course all we get is Portland weather so we have to tweek it for our area...usually 2-3 times the rainfall expected for Portland, or twice as much as Astoria. We were pretty sure we could get through most of Monday without major problems. This photo is of the back, having learned a valuable lesson on the front, and that is.... I reeeeally don't like standing on wet slippery plywood, especially when it's at an angle, and my arms are up over my head and full of fascia board. So when we got to the other side, I decided to use the scaffolding that was still up on the inside and lean over. Much better! That's first blog appearance.. I'm doing my version of Wilson on Home Improvement.

The fascia boards define the curve of the eyebrow dormer, showing the graceful line and fluid motion that attracted us to the house plan in the first place. To us, this is what sets the house apart. And it is historically appropriate for the area. There is a beautiful old house just down the road that was built at the turn of the century..the old one, not the new one. It has that same line. Ok, so this photo doesn't show off the curve like I wanted, but you get the idea.

Tuesday we had company for the day, so while I sat inside and yakked, Ed was keeping one eye on the storm clouds and another eye on wet slippery plywood. He started working on the roof sheeting, and spent most of the day figuring out how to get the darned plywood up on the roof without injuring the new fascia boards or himself. Then he had to figure out a way to get the plywood to go down properly over the curve of the dormer. He says he's got it figured out now and next week he should be able to make some significant progress. By 1500 it was pouring rain, and didn't let up all night. Ed tarped things as well as he could, but with just under 2" in a day it gets soaked anyway. We are supposed to have sunny weather by tomorrow (rains here all the time), and then possibly some more rain next Monday. As soon as Ed gets the plywood down, we will sub out the roofing (composite shingles). They can get it done in a day, and it is money well spent. After that we have to get the windows in and the exterior wrapped, and then Ed can take a breath.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bruises, Blisters and Bees

Ed has worked very hard all by himself the last few days. After church on Sunday I helped him put up the east fascia boards. That pretty much consisted of me staying down on the safe part and helping steady the end of the "outrigger" and Ed climbing out onto next to nothing, lifting the heavy part and nailing it in. Then he started nailing plywood to joists, for the new roof. By the end of Sunday he had 3' of plywood on.

Monday he finished the plywood up to the ridge. After thinking for it a bit, he decided to put the plywood to the walls between the side roof and the eyebrow dormer, because getting that plywood cut to fit and installed AFTER the roof is on would be darned difficult!

Tuesday was a lot of hard work for stuff that doesn't photograph well. He finished all the blocking from roof to dormer, and all the vent blocking. Then, bless him, he quit two hours sooner than he would have liked to do a project I had asked him to do before he went back to the "real" job. By the time that was done it was time to pack and say goodbye to a week's worth of vacation time. Some vacation. Bruises, blisters, bee stings! Ed says he has to go back to work to rest up!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

All For One, One For All

Tuesday morning, it was like elves had come in the middle of the night and left us a building, only these elves are almost 6' tall and eat like lumberjacks. But man, can they put hammer to wood!

The guys started by installing the 4x4 posts in the back. Those eventually will be finished with stacked rock and painted posts. Learning how to do the rock will be my job.

Dan and Abraham started on the back truss overhang. Here they're setting the 4x10 beam.

Notice the teeeeeny board they're standing on. It was making me seasick just to watch. The guys just laughed at me.

By the end of Tuesday, the four back posts were in, the big beams were across the back and the shed roof joists were in. Tomorrow....the front. I may refuse to give Abraham or Dan a ride to the airport just so I can keep them here working....

........... or not. They were pretty bushed at the end of the day. Nobody suggested a game of tag football. After a restorative dinner, a few beverages, and some roasted marshmallows, they perked right up.

Wednesday was a repeat of Tuesday, on the front. Four posts, 4x10 beams, and shed roof joists.This time though, they were able to use the tractor to help lift stuff.

By Wednesday afternoon, the guys were at a good stopping place. The shed roof joists were up, front and back, and the posts and beams. It was just amazing how much work got done in three days. Ed works really hard on this project, but by himself, it's pretty tough to do. We are both so grateful to Dan and Abraham for coming up to help us. But Abraham had to go back home, so off to the airport they went. Dan gets to stay until Saturday.

The Three Constructioneers

Thursday it was The Dan and Ed Show. They put joist hangers and tie downs on the front soffit. Then they put up fascia boards and plywood. Those joist hangers take a gazillion nails!

After the workday on Thursday, Elicia asked Dan what she could do to help, so he told her if she would like to go topside, she could pick up the extra nails and water bottles, and help clean up. Yeah! that sounds like fun (?!) The next thing we know, she has her "construction" outfit on. Gloves, hat, toolbelt, buckskin boots. She's ready! So, very carefully supervised, up she went to do her part.

Friday and Saturday were spent working on the fascia boards on the ends. Very Scary Stuff. And to make things interesting, it started raining Friday night, and then again mid-morning on Saturday. By 1300 the guys came down from the roof. Dan and Ellen fly back to the Bay Area this afternoon. Elicia will stay another week.

What a week this has been. A lot of fun, a dicy moment or two (at least for those of us on the ground), a lot of very hard work, and an enormous amount of work done.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's All Good, Truss Me

Yea! Saturday night Ed came home with my daughter, Ellen, my son-in-law Dan, his buddy Abraham, and my granddaughter, Elicia. Once they got into PDX, they realized Dan and Abraham's checked luggage, with all their tools, had been put on a later flight. Sooo.. Sunday morning at the crack of dawn, Ellen and I drove back to Portland to pick them up.

Dan and Abraham are both in the construction trade, so we wanted them to be here when the trusses arrive on Monday morning. We were hoping the trusses would be here bright and early to give them all day to work on them, since Abraham has to fly home Wednesday and we want to squeeze every ounce of work out of him we can get! Poor guy doesn't know what he's in for.

So like the Earp brothers (Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil) they head out to the OK Corral to scope it out. (Doc Holliday shows up Monday)

The guys went topside to check out the catwalk, and after they stopped snickering into their sleeves, they told Ed they wanted to do a little reinforcing. Ed mumbled something about never expecting an ox on scaffolding, but he got his hammer anyway. If girls ribbed each other like guys do, somebody would be crying.

Here's something I didn't know. If you want your scaffolding to be strongest, you don't put the nails in straight, you angle them down. It makes sense when you think about it..I just never thought about it. And of course if you just took the nailbags and boots and weighed them, they're probably ..I dunno..30 lbs? Danny and Abraham are still growing boys, and I don't send them out with empty stomachs, so yeah, a few extra nails and braces in the scaffolding is probably a good idea. And you should see those guys! They scamper around on that scaffolding like squirrels in an oak tree.

Sunday evening, after a little liquid refreshment, we had dinner. Elicia was in charge of setting the table (everyone works!) BBQ roasted prime rib, baked potatoes topped with everything, fresh asparagus, and birthday cake and ice cream. Another bow to the catwalk.

Monday morning at 0630 I said to Ed.."Think we ought to get up in case the trusses get here early?"

"Nah, " he replies, "I'd be surprised if they get here before 0800."

"Well, I think I hear a truck coming up the road.."

"Probably a logging truck." he says.

About then we hear gravel crunching in the driveway, so we jump up and start throwing clothes on. Sure enough! The trusses have landed!

Once all the trusses were loaded and the crane truck left, the guys noticed that the two end bundles were loaded backward. Please note how I have graciously declined to mention WHO orchestrated that error. That's because it's not polite to ridicule and point fingers at free help!

About that time, our neighbor Dennis showed up to help too. We really have nice neighbors! So Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers all go topside to sort things out.

Abraham thought of a ropesling system to re-arrange the order of the three trusses on each end. After some sweating and swearing, they got into the groove.

This was the first day that there was little or no wind, which is a plus when you have all the trusses stacked but unsecured on the roof. It was also the warmest day we've had in a while which makes for hot hard work. Finally! It's like watching a butterfly emerge from a cocoon. After a very long day and a lot of hard labor, the day's work is done. The guys find a chair on the back deck and put their feet up. They have earned their leisure, that's for sure. Dinner was roast turkey, dressing, baked sweet potatoes, and green beans. After dinner we lit a small bonfire in the firepit and roasted marshmallows. A true thanksgiving as there ever was.