Learning patience…again.

So a few weeks ago, i gave my aunt a quote on repairing a deck for the back of a mobile home she has up in Calabasas. I tend to be the resident handyman in our family and when I am not busy, I love doing small things like repairing decks, installing shelving, building closets, redoing sinks, installing new toilets. It is the handyman in me and I love it because it keeps me focused.

Well i did the estimate and gave it to my aunt and she loved it and said go for it. I told her I would come up in the next few weeks to get started. After looking at my schedule (I am not busy for months), I decided to drive up and begin the process of what I thought would be a quick day job. I figured that I would demolish the old deck, repair the few pieces of wood that were bad, lay the new deck down and voila…good as new, right…wrong!

[caption id="attachment_670" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is what it looked like at first"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_671" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="After 2x6\'s were removed"][/caption]

After really getting into it, I began to see that the dry rot and termites were worse than I had initially inspected and expected. As it turns out, every piece of lumber on the deck was basically bad. I said to myself, well its not too bad, I can just replace the wood and use the existing foundation. Wrong again!

[caption id="attachment_672" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="End of day 2"][/caption]

Upon removing the lumber from the piers, I realized the piers were bad as well and to top it off, whomever put the old piers in place, cemented them to the foundations, rather than just setting them on the foundations. Without having the correct tools and it now approaching dark, I became frustrated, tired and ready to quit. When I left the trailer, I was dirty and overwhelmed.

I fell asleep way too early. I think I was in bet by 7:30 and true to form, I was awake by 12:30. I said to myself, "This cant be. I need more sleep". I couldn't fall back to sleep and read for an hour and a half finishing up "Honeymoon with my Brother" . As a side note, if you haven't read this book, please read it. It is a fantastic story told by a fantastic writer. Anyhow, I finally fell asleep at 3 am on the nose after emailing Franz and telling him how awesome his book was.

I woke up rested at 7:30. I kind of regrouped. and thought about the task at hand (the porch). I sat down over some toast with cheese and some coffee and began to write out the list of all the things i will need. I left at 8am and grabbed a thermos of coffee and stopped at Home Depot for some work gloves. Arriving at the workplace, my attitude changed slightly because of the 10 pound mallet i wielded, taking out the foundation one pilar at a time.

After Lunch, my uncle and I made the journey to Home Depot and began our spending spree on lumber, lumber, and more lumber. After purchasing all the necessary items to basically build a brand new deck from the ground up, we headed back to the job site. We unloaded everything. We were starting to lose light, so I told my uncle to bring the truck back and i would clean up and head home.

On the second to last day, i began to set the piers. If you don't know what that entails, trust me it isn't fun. You have to find your highest point and work backwards. Level each base, make sure the pier is under the level line and move on to the next one. I had to do this 11 times. Finally got it all set and began to set the 4x8's. To my surprise we only needed to shim one or two of the piers. Now we could fasten the 4x8's to the piers with bolts and begin to set the 4x6 stringers, however, this would be a project fo the last day.



I arrived at the scene at at 7:45 and began working. Put the stringer fastners on each 4x6 and we were off to a quick start, that was until the Trailer Park manager stopped by and started getting huffy about what I was doing and why the deck was only allowed to be out 4 feet, instead of 8. After things settled down, he finally agreed to let us keep 7. I ate a power bar and worked through lunch.

Exhausted from not sleeping well and the sheer physical demands of the project, I was ready to quit, but I kept going. Seeing the project slow completion was my reward. Finally the last deck board was laid and i began cutting the 4x4 bannisters for the railing while my uncle don fastened them in with lag bolts. We called it quits at 4 pm on the nose because I had to drive back to Encinitas.


[caption id="attachment_675" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="the deck"]

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Looking back, it was a true test of patience. I wanted to walk away and tell my aunt to hire a contractor, however that is the easy thing to do. Instead I muscled it out and persevered and finished (all but the railing mind you). My point is that not all things are easy. Sometimes they are a struggle and you have a choice, walk away, or stand and fight. I decided to stay. Needless to say, my aunt was thrilled and her tennat will be too now that he can use the deck to sit out and enjoy the weather.


Until next time

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