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Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Rotten Deal

Once more unto the breach, my friends, once more
— Shakespeare, Henry V

Shooting straight up…
and it’s shot, all right!
I always thought FAR Manor was a rotten deal from the get-go. Of course, my opinion means nothing; I’m just the one paying the mortgage. But when I saw the rotten soffit and trim above the back porch, I knew I couldn’t ignore it anymore. This was above a little decklet off the back porch, so I could do half the work on a stepladder on the deck itself, and the extension ladder off to the side let me reach the other half. It had been there for a while, but a warm and dry spring weekend meant I had the opportunity to do something about it.

So, after taking certain measurements yesterday morning, I scrounged around and found a sheet of 1/4" plywood (amazing!). The 1x8 trim boards needed a trip to Home Despot when we went that way for lunch, anyway. Now, I embarked on my favorite part of these repairs: taking implements of destruction to FAR Manor. The white trim board was only rotten on the end, but I found it was split in the middle, and my enthusiastic crowbar work finished it off. Thinking the plywood would also be rotten only on the end, I figured to cut it off halfway back… but when I misjudged the length, and cut too much, I found it was rotten along the edge almost all the way up, anyway. So more crowbar work was applied, and down it came.

During the up-and-down that goes with measuring, getting tools, running back to grab the thing I forgot, that loose step finally… got really loose. This was an annoying distraction, one I hoped I’d have time to deal with after the main event. I’ve always been one to take steps two at a time when I can, so I just stepped over it.

So… the rotten wood was ended, but the nails lingered. More crowbar work, hooray! Fortunately, the underlying wood was okay; it was the just the outer layer that needed replacing.

Then the fun begins: measure twice, cut once, curse when it doesn’t fit, and cut again. Hoping to avoid doing this again in a few years, I found some primer and slapped a coat on the backsides and edges of the replacement pieces. This took me to “it’s getting dark” time, so I knocked off for the day.

All you need is paint…
After church, lunch, and Mason’s nap, I was able to finish the job this afternoon. I drove in the last nails, and went to get the paint. Now one of the cosmic rules of FAR Manor is: things are supposed to be in one place, but they’re usually in three. And that was the case here. The paint is supposed to be in the basement—and some of it was (including the primer coat from yesterday). The ones I needed were in both the attached garage and the detached garage. But I found the paint, found a roller (I used a brush for the primer), and had at it. The new paint doesn’t quite match the existing surrounding pieces, but I figure that’s because it was still wet. I’ll have a look tomorrow.

My enthusiastic crowbar work had split trim up above the replacement, and I had to climb onto the roof to address that part. Using the stepladder, I put the tools up on the roof, then took the extension ladder around to the garage where it’s easier to climb up. I cleaned off the screen over the chimney while I was up there, then sawed off the broken parts and pieced them together. It’s ugly, but it’ll do until I can carve up a proper replacement.

Finally, with all that taken care of, I got the drill and some screws, and took care of the step. I do need to pressure-wash and repaint them, and if it’s nice next weekend, I might get to it.

The wife then recruited me to help with feeding the cows (and other things that somehow never get mentioned until I’m in the truck), and that took us to dusk. So that was a weekend at FAR Manor—at least it was shot to hell in the way I wanted it shot to hell for a change.


  1. "So that was a weekend at FAR Manor—at least it was shot to hell in the way I wanted it shot to hell for a change."

    What a perfect way of putting weekends like that -- I sort of had that too, although I didn't do any home repairs.

    Impressive crowbar-wielding skills!

  2. I have spent way too many weekends like that. My workshop is still a mess from the cumulative effect of weekends spent rewiring the attic (so I could install ceiling lights in two bedrooms) and building new cabinet doors for one of the bedrooms as part of a remodel. Gotta spend some evenings cleaning it all up.

  3. Thanks, Katherine. Much of the crowbar stuff is enthusiasm—when the chicken houses were operating, taking a crowbar to them was one of the few things I enjoyed more, though.

    Tony, attic work is always a little scary! The outside door to the basement needs re-doing as well… I might just use an actual door there if the dimensions are right. (not a given here)


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