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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Visit to the Scrap Yard

I would like to state for the record that I looked cute yesterday. Navy slacks, navy blouse, black high-heeled boots. I looked professional and mature and real cute. Then I decided to visit the scrap yard with Jon at lunchtime.

I can not say my outfit served me well.

Jon and I were hunting for something to make gates for our back fence project. We need two pieces, both 6 feet tall, but one 5 feet wide and the other only 4 feet wide.

So on a rainy afternoon, we climbed through piles of steel and aluminum. We looked at old McDonald's doors, satellite dishes, a phone booth, highway signs and mailboxes, before we found a stack of steel punch-out sheets- industrial scrap. They were gloriously heavy and rusted. They were also the coolest.

The guys at the scrap yard graciously carved a path through the metal to get to the exact two pieces we had picked out. They even let us attach the chains to the metal sheets ourselves. Then we got to watch as the huge dinosaur-like machine moved our gates into the back of Jon's truck.

We hauled them back to the property and now they await our welder buddy, who will help us attach them to the fence to complete our project.

For those of you who have never visited Arcata Scrap and Salvage, might I suggest a visit? It is the best place of post-apocalyptic scavenger hunting in town. Even in heels.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Demo, Reinforcement, and Redwood Style

After the success of the interior barn doors and our fence contractor friend's schedule filling up - Amy and I decided to tackle the back fence on our own.

We agreed on Redwood and scheduled our contractor (Jason from Configurations) to come out and reinforce the awning.  He replacing the rotted wood with new plywood and pressure-treated 4x4's.  
Step 1: Measure the fence and go to the resale lumber yard to buy the wood and have them cut it.  Amy is supervising the cutting in the picture to the right.

Step 2:   Load the wood, how pretty!

Step 3:  Bring Amy to the airport for her wedding shower and second bachelorette party.  Yes, second one.

Step 4: Go to Redwoods and Rivers and lead a adventure park and zip line training.  The picture to the right is a zip line conscious rescue drill.  For more info look at North Coast Adventure Centers.
Step 5: Build the fence on Monday morning and night before and after work.

Step 6: Pick up Amy from the airport, schedule a dump run, then design and build gates!

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Labor of Love

I woke up on Saturday morning eager to demolish some bathrooms. I donned my (now) usual gear of respirator and safety goggles and set to work pulling up broken tile and filling bags with debris and garbage. Demolition is a blunt instrument. You don't have to be smart or careful. You just have to be a workhorse.

The mindless, repetitive movements of scraping, pulling, and bagging lulled me into a meditative state. I meant to spend an hour or so doing this, but the sun moved steadily across the sky as I lost track of time.

At 3 PM, Jon called me downstairs to help him with some carpentry. This annoyed me.

I don't like leaving a job unfinished and I don't like carpentry. I don't like the precision and focus it requires. I don't like the tools involved. I don't like that it's complicated and hard and usually ends with me feeling frustrated and disappointed.

But I love Jon and I like to think I'm a good sport so I headed down to the front of the building, where Jon was building a barn door. For real. Actually, he was building three barn doors. Enormous doors to be built from cedar planks and hung from steel runners on the ceiling.

Some people build raised beds as a weekend carpentry projects. Jon decides to build some barn doors.

For the rest of the night and into the next day, Jon and I measured, sawed, drilled, re-measured, re-drilled, and hung three beautiful, heavy cedar doors in the our storefront. During that time, I felt frustrated more than a few times. Carpentry is NOT meditative.

Fortunately, I was working with Jon. While I was cursing myself for sawing crooked and cursing Jon for making me do this stupid project that I wasn't any good at and keeping me from my bathroom demo, Jon was a sight to behold.
He was patient and focused. He moved quickly, even gracefully. When the barn door hardware didn't roll smoothly through heavy steel rails (that he had hauled up a ladder and painstakingly drilled into the ceiling), he didn't panic. He didn't curse himself or get disappointed and decide he hated carpentry because it never worked out the way you wanted it to.

He fixed it. He found a shim in the basement and he wedged it between into the rails until they were flush and held the roller hardware perfectly. He solved dozens of problems last night and woke up at dawn this morning to solve some more.

At 3 PM today, our barn doors were in place. They glide across the width of the storefront. They hide our tenant's furniture storage from the street and create a small, day-lit workspace for Jon.

We didn't get to gut a bathroom this weekend. Instead, we made something beautiful.