Murphy’s Law of Home Improvement Bites us on the ass.

The porch project is crawling along at the typical glacial pace. It’s not that I didn’t expect something to go wrong. Being the veteran of many home improvement projects (grew up in a 100 + yr old fixer upper that is still being fixed to this day), pills it was a question of what would go wrong.

So Mr. Unreserved gets the decking off the porch only to be attacked by angry hornets. The good news is that he wasn’t stung. One bottle of bee killer and an hour later, asthma and we’re back in business. Only to find that the joist that is attached to the house – the joist that holds one entire end of the porch up all by itself – is completely rotted. We’re not talking a little soft wood. It crumbled out of existance at first touch. Exactly how this porch hasn’t collapsed yet is a mystery. Next issue – the steps. The stringers we had bought to replace the splitting existing ones have a 10″run with a 7″ rise (apparently fairly standard). Not ours, medicine nosireebob. Ours have an 11″ run with an 8″ rise. Which totally changes how to rebuild the steps.

We chose to fix the existing stringers rather than try to fashion new ones ourselves, as switching to “standard” size would change the number of stairs needed as well as the distance they protrude from the porch, which would mean pouring a new concrete pad at the bottom of them. The non-standard stringers also mean that we must exchange all the 1×6 riser boards with 1x8s that are placed behind the treads rather than on top of them as planned. Which meant that the treads have to be removed and repositioned. A calculation error meant that the top tred, whose stringer has a different depth than the rest, was cut too short, which meant getting another 2×12 board.

The railings have been my project, but they can’t go up until the decking is up, which can’t go on until the crumbly joist is replaced. After completely assembling the two side rails Monday, I realized that the baulsters were 36″ high, which was our desired top rail height. Add to that 3″ for the top and bottom rails and another 3″ for a space between the porch and the bottom rail, and we’re talking a 42″ railing height. I disassembled the railings, cut 6″ off every baulster, and put them back together. Am not looking forward to cutting 40 miter cuts of an angle to-be-determined for the stair railings, but thank merciful heavens for Dad’s compound miter saw.
I am in love with my father’s saw. I may hold it for ransom. I want a compound miter saw for Christmas. Other women want jewelry – I want a saw. I’ve already appropriated Mr. Unreserved’s orbital sander and cordless drill (shamefully, I’m the one who bought him the drill as a gift a while back, now the poor man must fight me for it).
Normal women clean when they nest. I get out the power tools.

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