Thursday, October 21, 2010

Down to the wire

We're in a horse race.  We're coming around the 4th turn and we can see the finish line.  We're whipping our horse's behind and galloping as fast as we can--we're coming down to the wire.

That's pretty much the way it feels here on 12th Street this morning.  We have a full plate of homeowner chores that simply must get done before the storm hits this weekend.  We don't have the luxury of procrastination.  It's all or nothing in this race against the changing seasons.

Once again we spent the entire day on the porch project.  Chances are we will spend all of this day on it, too, but the light at the end of this tunnel looks brighter and bigger and we know we can finish our part of the job today.  No doubt about it.

Meanwhile, there's numerous other pressing projects that have been impatiently tapping their toes while we have devoted 100% of our energies to the porch project.  For example:  the garage door needs a total makeover before the wet weather hits.  It simply can't be sanded, primed and sealed when it's wet.  Since it's in the shade, once it gets wet it won't dry out again until sometime in 2011.  It's the original 1939 garage door--a real artifact--and, believe me, it NEEDS attention right now, not tomorrow! 

And then there's the lawn.  All of that fertilizer we put on this fall was like giving HGH and steroids to a football player--the grass has been on a growth rampage.  While all the other neighborhood lawns have gone to sleep, ours continues to flourish.  Idaho turf grass has to be put to bed cut no more than 2.5 inches high.  Any longer than that and you're going to have significant winter kill and maybe some dreaded mold thrown in for good measure.  The last cutting of the season has to be done with the grass is dry.  If you cut it wet, you really mess up everything.

Susun's been battling the basement window casements on her breaks from the tag team porch project.  Those little puppies have to get done before the wet weather rolls in.  There's a lot more but those are the biggies.

You can see why we're hyperventilating about this stuff.  This long, calm fall has been a genuine gift and now we're coming down to the wire.  I think we'll win by a nose but we can't let up until we do!

Speaking of Susun, she created a genuine miracle yesterday.   Miracles are things that happen that have no explanation other than to say they are miracles.  Here's how it happened:  I spent several hours getting the sill plate mounted to the house eave.  Then I painstakingly plumbed and squared the two porch posts so that all surfaces of the header were precisely 52 inches from the sill plate.  Then I spent a long time preparing a template for the seven 66-inch rafters.  And then, of course, I cut all the rafters.  Ok, here's where the miracle thing begins.  I hoisted up one of the rafters to begin connecting the sill plate to the support header.  It fell one half inch short.  I asked Susun to push as hard as she could on the south upright to take up the slack.  She pushed, she pulled, she groaned and she grimaced all to no avail.  We simply couldn't make up the half inch.  I then realized I had cut the rafters too short and was going to have to go back to Square One, to to speak.  I was truly disgusted and took a break to go to Lowe's to buy some nuts and bolts while trying to restore my blood pressure to something resembling normal.  Off I went.

OK, I came back from Lowe's feeling a little better but still pretty bummed out for wasting time and money.  Meanwhile, I figured I would plop the rafter back up on top and see how much I needed to add to the new rafters I would have to cut.  Surprise!  I stood dumbfounded on top of the 12 foot ladder staring in disbelief as the rafter now fit perfectly with no pushing or pulling!!!!! Honest.  By perfect I mean to within sub-millimeter perfect!  So I asked Susun if she had touched anything while I was gone.  She said no.  I then showed her the perfect fit and asked how this could possibly happen.  All she said was, "Well, I prayed a lot and asked God for some help.  I really prayed hard."  I was speechless.  It was as if the Master Carpenter had somehow sneaked onto the job site and made everything okay.  I couldn't believe it.  So I went to the other side of the structure and plopped on that pivotal rafter and it, too, fit perfectly as if it was a match made in Heaven.  WTH happened here?  I have no clue.  I only know it was an outright miracle and Susun had something to do with it.

Have a great day & Cheers!  jp

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