Saturday, June 15, 2013

May June don't judge

Ok, so I've been absent for a few weeks. I hate it when I do that. I know you do too. Part of our time was spent in the land of no internet connection a.k.a. West Virginia. The renter in our downstairs apartment hints heavily that he would really like wi-fi. I would too!!! I'm going to join that naggy bandwagon.

Of course, I would also like a deck.

Wait, what? Don't you have three huge ones, Amy? 

Well, yes, we did. And then our contractor came in to take a look at the possible rot under the doors and windows that hadn't been flashed properly. (I have no idea if flashing (noun) can be turned into a verb like I did, but it sure does sound funny, so I'm keeping it that way. If you are a builder and it gives you the heebie-jeebies, kindly ignore my ignorence. Thank you.) He pulled off a corner of the siding and found what he nicely called "significant rot." As in: holy crap, your house may fall down. 

Ok, no not quite like that, but the decks were "compromised" and to me that just sounds dangerous and scary. To Beau it sounds dangerous, scary, and expensive. 

He's right. Despite that, we have opted to replace all three of the back decks to prevent them from pulling from the house and falling. (Gulp.)

As of right now, we have no decks. (An ironic twist since I was most looking forward to hanging out on the deck this summer when temperatures at home were in the sticky 90's.) Instead, we now have a sheer 40ish foot drop. Not a big draw.

Over the past few weeks Beau and I (but mostly Beau if you are looking for full transparency…) have  been staining the new siding that will go up when our contractor gets the OK to tear all the old stuff down and get back there to fix all of the rot. The OK has to come from the architectural review committee--heretofore the ARC. (Surprise! We had no idea they existed until they called to tell us to cease all construction.) Our contractor has worked with them before, but since we are making no changes to the aesthetics of the building, he didn't realize we'd need to go through the review process. We do. It is important that the deer, birds and bears that see the west facing wall have a view that is cohesive with the rest of the structures on the mountain. Or something.

All snakiness aside, there is a good reason for the ARC and we don't begrudge their diligence. I just really hope we can get a speedy thumbs-up.

In anticipation of the enthusiastic thumbs up, Beau and I stained. Did you know when staining cedar siding, you need to stain both sides in order to really utilize the protective properties of the stain? We didn't know that when we first calculated the gallonage we'd need. Nor did we anticipate how much those panels would suck. They were thirsty little buggers. As it was, we bought out the stain we needed (Sikkens transparent in Mahogany) from two different Home Depots. We quickly discovered our folly and after using up all that we brought from home, Beau took a three hour scenic tour--one way!-- to the nearest Home Depot to pick up three more gallons. (We were told they had more in stock when we called, but the sales guy was mistaken. It was a long trip for three gallons…) In that weekend we managed to stain quite a bit, but it was still less than half of the siding we have.

All that reddish stain all over the place made me think that we looked like the West Virginia version of Dexter.

We had to get back home for someone's big FIRST BIRTHDAY! (Post to come!) So Beau decided to come back a few days later with more stain,--he bought out two more Home Depots and an ACE hardware!-- elicit the help of the South African who was crashing in the basement apartment and stain like its 1999. He and Chris (the random but amusing crasher) finished the job while Little Man and I hung out at home and enjoyed life without stain fumes.

Speaking of that, when Little Man and I were there, we had a pretty elaborate and genius (if I do say so myself) staining set-up that was 100% outdoors. It was a clear breezy day, so the fumes wafted away (sorry mother nature) and didn't touch Little Man's delicate lungs. We were lucky enough to have Beau's amazing sister Betsy in town and she spent some quality time with Little Man. They took long walks, napped together on the leaky air mattress, read some great literature and played all kinds of games. I can't express how wonderfully helpful she was. (She also got to do some demo, so that was a bonus! More on that in another post.)

To most efficiently stain and dry multiple pieces of siding at a time, we set up two railings from the old deck and laid out quite a few strips. we'd stain, flip, stain, and shift. By the time we got  through half a dozen or so, the first few would be dry-ish, so we'd move them to another drying station down the driveway and would repeat the process. I think it was a pretty efficient process. At first we were bummed that the contractor hadn't left us any sawhorses, but once my brilliant idea of old deck railings came to fruition, we realized we were better off!

Since this is getting pretty long, I'll save the demo days for another post, but to tease, I'll tell you that (some)hardwood, carpet and a wall are gone, baby, gone! 

Are you folks taking a pair brush to anything? Anyone want to come take a paint brush to the pink and mauve striped walls that seem like they'll be that way for a while?


  1. Brilliant idea just came to me! We 5 fly out next year and some of us babysit while some build decks! Fun fun! Is there a river or lake near the cabin? The 5 plane tickets might be a sticking point, but I will pencil it in! Love you!

    1. C!! Yes! There is a small lake, a river, hiking trails, deer galore! Pencil, pencil, pencil. I'll donate a kidney to help raise funds!! Think of how much nerdy fun the guys can have at the telescope and on the train!! We won't even need to build decks (I hope!). Love to all!!! AJ


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