Buffalo Trace

Buffalo Trace
From a few years ago, me mugging with the bronze buffalo sculpture at Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ah, the Joys of Home Ownership

Well, my one-day "Gone Fishin'" blog break turned into three. With the temperature in the 70s again on Saturday and nothing but blue sky as far as the eye could see, I decided to embark on a couple of projects around the outside of the house that I thought were going to have to wait another six or eight weeks.

The steps that lead from my carport down to the backyard have wood railings on both sides. One of those railings had been in need of replacing for at least two years. I can pinpoint the time because my sister and her husband were here for a visit and I mentioned it to him. Ultimately my goal was to try to nudge him into fixing it during their 8-day visit. He is a master carpenter (From back in the day when there was such a thing.) and he could have made short work of it. I didn't come right out and ask him. That would have been impolite and ungracious -- certainly not character traits of mine. No, I attempted to finesse him. I phrased it as a request for advice: "Do you think that just the railing can be replaced or am I going to have to replace both the upper and lower railings and all the supporting spindles?"

Five years ago, that simple question would have been sufficient to motivate him to leap into action. He always found a project or two to accomplish during his visits. Some jobs were as minor as cleaning out a flower bed of weeds and dead plants at a condo I was renting in West Palm Beach, to enlarging the master bedroom closet in my home in Boynton Beach. Over the years he replaced a window in the master bath with a door that opened out to the pool deck. He dry-walled over an extra doorway from the living room to the hall. I guesstimate that he was responsible for adding about $15,000 to the equity of my home in Boynton. He was always busy, busy, busy when visiting. Ah, the good old days.

This last trip, however, he wasn't having any of it. He was on vacation and that was that. He glanced toward the damaged railing, replied, "You can replace just the top railing," and kept on walking. I had obviously lost my mojo.

I looked at this rotting railing for the next two years. It was so bad, it was actually crumbling in places. Time to fix it. Buying the materials and doing the actual work occupied my Saturday afternoon. In fact, because more of the structure was rotted than I first believed, an extra trip to Home Depot was required to buy more wood. The job dragged on.

Although the sky was overcast and the temperature about 20 degrees cooler Sunday than Saturday, I was committed to getting the job finished. I had to paint the new sections and old sections as well. Then it was on to project No. 2.

One reason this railing was uber weathered is because rain runs off the roof right on to it. The spot on the railing where the trouble began is immediately below where water cascades off the roof. Some guttering was in order to prevent the same thing happening again.

Long story, short: After three more Home Depot runs (Does anyone get everything needed for any home project during the initial trip to the home improvement store?), and four hours of working and cussing, That job was completed as well.

After all of that, I just didn't feel like blogging. I figured you could wait another few hours to learn how I spent my weekend.

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