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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends…

May 31, 2011

Okay…I admit to being a Beatles fan…hence today’s post title. But I’m a bigger fan of my BFFWWW and her wonderful hubby whose company guarantees a good time, lots of laughter, yummy yummy food, and, on occasion, completion of a much overdue project.

With their assistance during this crazy, overly-scheduled, too-many-people-in-and-out-and-over-here-all-weekend, we managed to go from this…

…to this…

(Disclaimer…the “before” picture isn’t really accurate. We had managed to get the concrete footers poured and the permanent support posts in place and the temporary braces removed, but for some reason I can’t find that picture.)

I’m doing a very silly but very happy dance right now.

Way back in mid-March I discovered that our porch supports were failing, and despite The Hubster’s objections I set about remedying the problem.

He was not happy with me.

And in his defense, I have to say it wasn’t a good time to begin this project.


I mean, otherwise there’s no explanation as to why it took us two and a half months to get the darn porch rebuilt. (The delay had more to do with his crazy schedule than mine, and his insistance that I was NOT to nail a single nail or screw a single screw without him.)

And despite the fact that we had an extra day due to the Memorial Day holiday, this weekend probably wasn’t the best time to attempt it either.

But when I looked at our calendar, when I saw that every weekend from here to the end of August is already booked with other events, I thought that it was now or never.

And frankly I was just tired of opening my front door and seeing a four foot drop to the ground.

So despite the fact that I had a landscaping job I had to wrap up Saturday morning, despite the fact that my parents were coming over Saturday afternoon for lunch, despite the fact that my BFFWWW and her lovely family were coming over Saturday night for dinner, despite the fact that The Hubster’s hunting buddy and his family were coming over Sunday evening for dinner, and despite the fact that The Hubster’s parents and siblings and their spouses were coming over Monday for our annual Memorial Day grill-a-thon, I decided we were going to build our porch.

For a time it seemed like all the fates were against us. After my parents took their leave on Saturday, the BFFWWW and I borrowed a trailer (because mine is full of plants for another landscaping job I’m starting today) to hit my local Blue and pick up the hundreds of pounds of lumber we’d need for the new porch.

On the way home one of the tires on the trailer blew, and The Hubster and the BFFWWW’s Hubster had to hunt down a spare and bring it to us. We wound up unloading lumber in the dark and eating dinner at 9:30 that night.  (BTW…if you were the woman who was tailgating us when the tire blew and starting throwing alligators, I’m sorry that you had to lock up your brakes and practically put your little car on its nose, but there’s a reason why you’re supposed to leave AT LEAST a two second following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.)

We didn’t make much progress on Sunday. By the time we got in from church, and The Hubster got a new tire mounted on the borrowed trailer and returned it to its owner, we got exactly five boards in place before our Sunday evening guests showed up.

Yep, five boards.

Though we were running on a little more than fours hours of sleep (why oh why don’t our guests know how to leave at a decent hour?) The Hubster dragged me out of bed early Monday morning, and we hit it hard. By the time my BFFWWW showed up, we had all the rim and floor joists in place.

The rest is easy, right?  I mean, you just throw your decking boards on top, drop a few chalk lines so you know where the floor joists are so you know where to set the screws for the deck boards, and viola! Right?



Especially when you throw the first decking board on top of the joists and you realize that when you calculated the length of your decking boards you failed to take into consideration the doubled rim joists you’d installed, and now your deck boards are about a half inch too short.

So you and your BFFWWW take all 147 plants off your trailer because there’s no way in Hades you’re borrowing the other trailer again, load up all 40 of the 8 foot deck boards, head to Blue, unload all 40 boards, go through the return line, load 40 ten foot deck boards on the cart, check out, load 40 ten foot boards onto the trailer, drive home and arrive exactly 20 minutes before your in-laws are due to show up.

Thank God for my BFFWWW.

The Hubster and his family prepped and cooked dinner while she and I laid out the boards on the deck.

It wasn’t as easy as you’d think, because we were building this structure to fit inside the footprint of the old porch and working with very wet lumber. In a perfect world, we’d have purchased the lumber a few weeks early, left it out to dry, and planned the porch dimensions so that we didn’t have to rip a board down to fill an odd space.

To say she and I shifted boards back and forth a few times would be a gross understatement.

But after much trial and error we got a good layout, notched the boards to fit around the posts that support the roof, ripped down a board to fit the odd 2 1/2″ space we had “left over” and made sure we put that ripped board on the side farthest away from the front door where the handrail will hide it.

And while my BFFWWW and I were out there sweating and getting splinters in 95 degree heat, The Hubster was out back sipping a beer and socializing with his brother-in-law and dad. And I just happened to overhear him say, “Yeah, she’s watched two DIY shows and she thinks she knows how to do something.”

He’s very very lucky I knew he said it very loudly so I would hear it, that I knew he was trying to be funny, and that I have, on occasion, a sense of humor.  Otherwise I might have had to grab the framing nailer and show him that it would shoot more than just lumber.

We’ve still got a long way to go.  I only managed to get the deck boards screwed into the front and rear joists so I’ve still got lots of screws to put in. We’re going to drop a chalk line across the front of the board and rip off the extra length with the circular saw tonight. I’ve got a few ideas to dress up the posts a bit, and then I’ve got priming and painting and staining to do and lattice work to install under the porch.

This project is by no means any where near completion, but it’s so much closer than we’ve been since March.

And it’s really really really awesome to be able to open my front door and walk out on a porch that is safe and secure and sound beneath my feet.

So today I’ve feeling very very grateful for The Hubster (as aggravating as he can be), my BFFWWW (who makes my world a better place just by being in it), and those two DIY shows I watched that have made me think I can do something.

Woo Hoo!!!

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