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"siding" Category

Over the Side(ing)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their congratulatory comments on the as-yet-to-be-named babe. If it’s a girl, we’re thinking “Duchess” or “Ethiopia” and if it’s a boy we’ll probably go with “Galactico,” though “PowerEd Pro” is still in the running. The pressure is now on to finish this house by December. At our current pace, that is highly unlikely. Feel free to send meth via snailmail.

We are FINALLY done siding the house. Man oh man I’m stoked that that phase is complete. See the photos for some action shots. We used redwood all around, but the front is painted and the back is just oiled. The whole process took ages and for a while there it felt like painting, staining, cutting, fitting, nailing, etc, would never ever end. It was a bit like being at sea. At first it was an exciting yet challenging endeavor. Then it became rather ordinary, like a mindless ritual. Then it slid into monotony. Finally hopelessness set in – as though we were sailing in circles and would never see land again. Are you starting to get a sense of my relief?

Another big deal is that our new sidewalk got poured and massaged in place. The crew who did the work were true artisans of concrete. They did it all in one day and they worked like a precision drill team. Without really even speaking to one another they economically moved from task to coordinated task. Il Maestro was Rudi – he was the chief of the crew and the man responsible for making the curb cuts. See concrete wants to lay flat, not descend gently like a driveway does. They poured the concrete and immediately set to work on it. It was basically a five-man sidewalk massage. They just kept troweling and floating the mass until it stopped resisting and relaxed into their desired shape. Construction is not a nuanced practice. But these guys were an exception. So if you ever need a sidewalk or a driveway, let me know and I’ll send you their digits.

A side effect of the sidewalk installation was the removal of our gawd-awfully ugly fence. You’ll notice that besides the electric blue port-o-potty you now have an unobstructed view of the moneypit from the street.

Stop! Thief!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I’m not exactly sure what’s happening. It feels like I just ran into a waist-deep lake of sludge. Things are progressing very slowly at the house. On Saturday, I was primed and eager to really start kicking ass on the siding when I was surprised to find one of our windows ajar. Now, I’ve been known to be a bit flaky here and there… on very rare occasions… but I usually don’t leave the windows open. And especially not this window, which is towards the back of the house and which, because of the clutter, would be difficult to access anyway. So, first I thought, hmmm. And before I could come up with a plausible scenario I turned the corner and saw the back doors wide open, fluttering in the light breeze. Oh snap! We’d been burgled. The robbers stole all the tools I was using to put up the siding – a miter saw, a compressor, a nail gun, and some minor hand tools. Being the love-thy-neighbor sort of person that I am, I tried to put myself in the robber’s place and think what might motivate them to steal from me. The most obvious reason is that they were jealous of my good looks. Additionally, they might be out-of-work construction dudes desperate to make a buck and feed their families. Maybe they’re on dope. And so a part of me thought, aw shucks, those poor guys had it so bad they resorted to stealing. And maybe in some weird way, they needed those tools more than I, and gosh, I feel fortunate to be able to do this project, etc, etc.

Then I noticed that my tool belt was missing. Oooooh, then my temperament turned. My tool belt? What kind of dirty low down golem worm takes another guy’s tool belt? You know how long it takes to make a tool belt feel comfortable and right? How long it takes to train your hands to mindlessly reach for the right pockets and to put your tape measure in the right place? To steal someone’s tools is generally regarded with the same contempt that one levels on a traitor or a snitch – kind of a lower-level sort of criminal. But then to add the insult of stealing a tool belt? That’s like a child molester or something. Okay, okay, stealing a tool belt isn’t as bad as molesting a child, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the person who stole our stuff ogles the underage.

The thieves used a crowbar in an attempt to pry open the back door. They were rebuffed there and then tried a window, where the expensive yet pliant nickel-plated Marvin clasp snapped apart like a fortune cookie. The door and window are significantly marred and will require the attention of some bondo. Overall the damage isn’t bad and I feel that if they had a bit more time they could’ve gotten away with much more. And of course we’re lucky they didn’t feel the need to vandalize the place.

But still. Thievery is low. I hope the court of Karma metes what is due.

We’ve since installed battery powered alarms that make a shrill frequency when they detect motion. Hopefully they won’t be set off by cats  chasing squirrels or the motion of the moon at night. Our neighbors were all very empathetic and most of them being contractors of one sort or another traded fantasies with me of what ills would befall the burglars if we’d have caught them red handed. It’s surprising what weaponization you can achieve with a tape measure and a caulk gun.

Don’t lose hope gentle readers. We have retooled and today we were back at the siding game. Our front door finally comes tomorrow and we should have half the siding up by sometime next week. At that point the front of the house will pretty much look like it’s final self. Many photos will be taken and beers will be peeled and toasted and upended.