I’m a naturalized ATLien. I wasn’t born there, or in the south at all, but I lived there from early high school on. Nearly 30 years, all told. From there I moved temporarily to Phoenix, another large city. And from there I moved to my current hometown of Bend, Oregon, population roughly 90,000. Prior to moving here I anticipated what “small town” life would be, including its difficulties. Limited restaurants, limited stores, limited entertainment possibilities etc. Among the things a wise person doesn’t do in Bend are purchasing a car. Cars old and new are easily 30% more here. I’ve debated having a buddy back east flatbed me cars sought after here to resell. Even with the cost of ‘bedding them I think a decent profit could be turned. Thrift stores here will surprise you as well. Continue reading
Needed more workspace, so I built some with leftovers and wood recycled from what I’ve torn off the house:
Made some numbers for the house:
It’s terrifying that the previous owners had a hot tub up here. The railings, especially on the sides, are held together with a million brads and wishful thinking. Time to make it less deadly.
This side doesn’t have a top ledge at all. Nope, just a 2×6 hastily nailed into a scrap that’s nailed into the siding.
That looks sturdy, right? It’s not like you’re nearly 20 feet off the ground. Oh. Wait.
The other end is a ridiculous hodge podge of thrown together shittitude.
See? I don’t even… I can’t… I mean what…
In a stroke of genius the original owner of our home poured a huge cement stoop right up against the house. By right up against I mean right up against. What separates the house siding from the cement stoop? Not a damned thing. That’s right – it’s poured against the hardiplank siding. Brilliant!
Unsurprisingly over the years water from rain and, more likely, snow has sneaked its way between cement and siding, and then between siding and OSB. I tore out the siding and tore out the effected OSB. Thankfully (amazingly?) the rot has not penetrated further than the first layer of OSB. The dream is to either tear the cement stoop out and replace it with a deck or deck right over the stoop (and in the process redirect moisture correctly). There’s no money in the budget for this sort of fancifulness right now, so a repair job was in order.
Cleaned it all out, cut out all the rotted siding, trim and underlying OSB and replaced with new, and installed flashing in the affected areas down to the slab.
Sided, sealed and caulked. Ready for paint. Those pillars remain on my to-do list.
Here’s a surreal and nauseating run around Pilot Butte.
Fire be damned. We’ve got this scaffolding that we’re paying by the day for, we need to use it.
Getting the dryer vent *close* to the outside is good enough, right? There’s a lot of half assed work we’re having to correct on this house. Not as much as on our old Atlanta house, mind you, but that house was some 40 years older and had been a rental.
Funny – the day prior to this pic being taken she yelled at me for using a ladder up there. You can’t see it from here, but that ladder isn’t just resting on the roof. It’s a a sheet of OSB with a 2×4 lip secured to it. The whole sheet’s nailed to the roof. So this isn’t quite as sketchy as it seems.
Framing out for a railing on the Door To Nowhere. Eventually it’d be nice to do a deck, but we definitely don’t have the money for that, and I don’t have the skills to build a second story deck myself.
Tearing up the steps to get the scaffolding where we need it.
The upstairs deck is shit. Shit I say! I can’t believe they put a hot tub on this thing. There’s a lot of work to be done here, but for the moment it’s just about exposing and fixing rot so we can paint.
Last Tuesday the 9th, in the evening, I was in the kitchen doing dishes. Amanda returned from a pet sitting gig and said “Are the neighbors in back burning stuff again? There’s some smoke.” We looked outside just in time to hear a massive “whoomp!” And their garage essentially exploded.
And thus we ran around like headless chickens. We, along with probably every neighbor on the block, called 911. We evacuated our ancient cat and the dog and bird that we were boarding at our house. Various and sundry items were tossed into the car , just in case the fire climbed the fence to devour our house as well. Luckily for us the wind was blowing southward, keeping the fire away from our yard… but only just. Lots of explosions and what sounded like fireworks were going on. Explosions were things like propane tanks for camp stove. Fireworks = ammunition.
It felt like forever before the fire department arrived, but it was probably only 15-30 minutes. During that time the flames managed to climb high enough to be seen over my house from the street. Another neighbor has video that I need to get. At the time I wasn’t thinking much about documenting the scene.
These pics are from my street. I did not go to the cul-de-sac where the burning house was – they’d roped it all off.
They put the fire out quickly, though disconcertingly they left a bit of the roof burning for quite awhile.
Because it’s Oregon, and because it’s the east side of Bend, the talk inevitably turned to meth. I tried to give the neighbors the benefit of the doubt. Besides, the house didn’t seem to get kind of traffic you’d expect a meth lab to have. Investigators pored through the place for the next 24 hours and came to the conclusion that it was a carelessly discarded cigarette. Basically the guy had flipped a burning butt into a can of butts in the garage and left. A half hour later the neighborhood was in jeopardy.
We spent the night in a hotel, as our house smelled terrible. The folks who installed our heat pump loaned us a big air filter that we ran all week and it made a huge difference. Other than the house in question the damage seems thankfully limited to the house next door to it, which had their fence burn down, what looks to be some siding damage, and their windows melted(!), and most of the surrounding houses suffered from smell and soot and ash.
Riley, and the rest of the neighborhood kids too, was quite shook up by the whole experience. One little girl was in my house crying. On the plus side, we met a lot of neighbors. Nothing like a house fire to bring a community together!
The next morning we came home from the hotel and I did my best to work and try to feel normal. It wasn’t easy. Thankfully we had/have our never ending painting project to force us to focus. Indeed it has.
I actually finished this awhile ago, but I’ve been engrossed in things other than posting to sites no one sees.
After opting to forgo fancy wire cabling deck rails in the name of being frugal, I decided to go traditional with the two unsafe areas of the lower deck that needed railing. In the process I managed to recycle a lot of materials from that left at the house by the previous owner.
The other side. The railing here wasn’t missing, but what was there wasn’t tied in correctly on either side, and was wibbly and loose. It was also constructed by the ubiquitous brad nailer the previous owner so loved to use on everything.
So I tore it all out and redid it, including redoing the stair bannister. It’s much better. You can get an idea of the “quality” of workmanship I’ve been dealing with by scoping out the rail on the upper deck. It really seems like the railings were total afterthoughts. I’ll be redoing the upstairs next. Then I’ll put a sloped ceiling above the lower deck to divert precipitation and we’ll paint the whole mess something purty.
Completing the privacy barrier on the back deck. We doubled up on the fabric because the single layer was just a bit too thin. The cat isn’t going to appreciate us cutting into her deck sun rays. She’s gonna have to learn to go into the yard I’m afraid.
From the deck…
From the other side. I’ve abandoned the idea of replacing all those slats with cabling on the railings. While I think it would look groovy, it’s just too expensive. It’s stunning how much that stuff costs… I averaged it at around $60 plus a cable a side. Since code requires there to be no more than a 4.5 inch gap between them… well, you do the math. It’s just some damned metal wire and grommety ends. I don’t know why it’s so expensive. THE COST OF DECK CABLING IS TOO DAMN HIGH!
Aaand, if that’s the worst of your problems you’re doing a-OK.
Next projects, not necessarily in order: redo the deck railings, fixing and or replacing all the way around, building a fence hanging raised bed for some herbs, building a privacy structure for our dining room window that overlooks the neighbors dining room.