Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Opening a larger can of worms than I can imagine, I've begun to plan to build my deck. My big mouth is forcing me to get on with this project, as I've been telling people that we'll have a get-together on this figment of my imagination sometime in September. Post holes, stringers, doubled-up fifteen-foot 2 x 8 s and pneumatic tools are in my future. A few weekends ago, the missus and I sat down to formally plan out the deck and came up with a three-tiered monstrosity. My brother and father-in-law have both offered their help and advice (thank goodness), and I don't plan on letting them get out of it. I've even waved the plans under the nose of my retired-general-contractor-uncle, who politely didn't discourage me from doing this myself. Maybe he thinks there's a lesson for me to learn in attempting it. A quick trip to Home Depot this afternoon to get a price for materials turned into a two-hour lesson into deck structural engineering and a list as long as one arm of what I needed to complete this onerous task. I must admit, the guy who assisted me did a great job of itemizing every single board and bracket I'd need. I felt quite confident that I'd have the right materials. This kindly, older gentleman with an orange workman's bib, a baseball cap and a weather-worn face also did a good job of scaring me with regards to how much effort and time it was going to take.
    "So, you got the summer off, eh?" he kindly asks. "No, I plan to do this during my evenings and weekends," was my reply. "Hmmmph. <a pause to look down at my plans> Good thing you're starting early in the season."
As Jane later reminded me, he didn't know that he was dealing with a man who made a lifesize bust of himself out of Rice Krispies.

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