Porch Repair and Sin City: A Busy Week

This last couple weeks were away from the ranch. Five days were spent in Las Vegas. Hey, I know what your thinking, but there was no gambling going on for me. I’m smarter than that. One look around and I just knew all the glitz and glamor was not built because people won fortunes. No, no. I had a Grand daughter that was graduating from high school. She will soon be 18 years old. Oh boy, I don’t even want to think about how close I am to become Great Grand Father. Sheesh, that sounds old.

Since we are into sky pictures, here’s one that my sister took last May from her back yard of the Las Vegas lights. She lives in a town to the South of Vegas that’s called Boulder City. Just over those hills is the valley that Las Vegas resides in so the picture is taken facing North toward Vegas. What you are seeing is not the sun going down but the lights of Vegas reflecting into the sky from the other side of the hills.

After returning from Vegas, my friend’s parents in Iowa were having a 50th wedding anniversary. For some reason his parents took a shine to me and made sure that I received an invitation to the celebration. Of course during that three-day stay my friend roped me into a tree-sawing experience. I always carry work clothes, gloves, and a set of basic tools everywhere I go, just in case.

About once a month I travel to our Capitol city of Lincoln Nebraska to help with odd jobs at a place called Nebraska Family Council. It’s a nonprofit organization that watches over the Nebraska lawmakers and gives them advice about family issues in Nebraska. They acquired a hundred-year-old house a couple years ago and made it their headquarters for the organization. The building is in constant need of maintenance and repair. So, the task for this week was to raise up a sagging porch, lift up a sagging porch ceiling and paint over the slippery porch surface with porch paint that had sand in it.

Here’s where we had to crawl into to gain access to the sagging porch under side. We always have to make a home improvement store run before beginning any project. This time we gathered up two short building jacks, screws for the sagging ceiling boards, and paint. Now for a base to keep the jacks from just sinking into the ground we reused a cement slab that was two inches thick, and two feet wide and four feet long. Al the fellow in the picture facing the camera was helping me with these projects. I would like to say that the two of us alone carried the ready made slab to its final resting place but neither of us could lift an end of the slab. Al and I canvassed the neighborhood and convinced a couple healthy young men to give us a hand with moving the slab. Once we got the slab to the entrance of the crawl space, we formulated a brilliant plan.

We placed the slab on an old skate board with plywood pieces under the wheels. As we slowly moved the slab along under the porch the piece of plywood from the rear would be placed up in the front and rotation of plywood pieces continued until the slab was in the proper place. I felt like I was an Egyptian moving a building block for some great pyramid.

We didn’t find too many surprises under the porch, only two bits of fur from some critter’s lunch. Everything went off without a hitch and it was time to tighten up the jacks and lift the porch up. A treated 4X4 piece of wood set on top of the jacks and spanned several floor joists. We turned up the jacks as far as possible by hand then used a wrench to lift. It’s truly amazing how much lift can be applied with screw jacks.

One of the perks to helping around the house is to spend a night 30 miles out in the country on the farm. There’s nothing quite like seeing the stars in a completely black sky while hearing the croaking frogs on the pond singing bass to the chirping cricket’s song. Early morning breakfast on the patio with Folgers in my cup is a great way to wake up. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

That’s about it for this week. Thanks for dropping by and leave a comment to let me know how your week has been.

  • Published on Jun 22, 2010
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