Zippity Do Da

I kind of feel like I missed the boat. This post is like 8 days old and I only had a title inserted. It’s now obsolete as we’ve moved way on beyond what it originally was about. Which means the dilemma is if I do it as two posts or one.

Now to the average reader it doesn’t matter a hill of beans worth. But I’ve often said that this is our record. So projecting ahead to when I do our coffee table book about the house project I can see that both posts (if I did two) are about the same subject. Presumably I would break the chapters into projects and a time line and it falls concurrently so I just decided it’s one big happy post.

Well actually four posts that make me happy. Like, literally four posts. Now the last blog entry called Building the Base left several readers slightly confused so hopefully it will all start to make sense as we build upwards. You can see the footings better in this photo as they are built to the required grade level.

We then proceeded to fill the cinder blocks with concrete and back filled with sand. The reason old house verandas tilt and disintegrate is because they weren’t built on a proper base. No such chance here because we have modern technology and a good level of knowledge combined, I might add, with an old-fashioned work ethic. This was a lot easier to type than it was to actually do although the heavy-duty concrete mixer definitely made it easier. I did cover some of this activity in the last blog but didn’t have the pictures to explain what we’d done.

You might wonder about the title but it’s because I was so happy when we went to pick up all the wood for the veranda and balcony. This has been a line item on the master budget for 10 years. Now I seriously doubt that the project will come in on budget but I’m so happy to get it started. The song has been stuck in my head for days so I hooked up a link here in case you need to review the lyrics before it gets stuck in your head. Have a listen here at The Original 1946 Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. It’s pretty cool that it features the original Brer Rabbit. Note also, because I don’t have a formal editor, that I actually learnt that it is zip a dee doo dah not zippity do dah like I’ve been titled it. Turns out I’ve been singing it wrong all these years.

Anyway, back to the wood and what we did with it.. The four posts went up quickly but with a lots of measuring. Once the posts were up and braced then it was time for the beams. It was nice that Alyssa and Taylor showed up part way through this because it was easier for tall people, which they are. It looked easy when they did it and was a long reach for me.

The next day we had a tall, strong man with big hands again. Besides seeing Annabelle for two days in a row it was easier with three people. You can see our heavy equipment being used in this “photo shot”!

Once the beams were up, and we had done final measurements we then started with the ceiling joists for the veranda (which in essence are the floor joists for the balcony). Now if this has left you confused I think the picture will help provide some orientation to where we were at.

We had made a start on the joists but it went easier with Spencer around. Turns out his dad had sent him a text knowing I was struggling to reach. One person could stay on the scaffolding while the beam board was passed up. A nail gun would have made this part faster but we are still flying old school out here with a hammer and nails.

There was a lot of discussion, prior to much work occurring, this day as there were some dimensional lumber discrepancies in size. It was helpful that the tool belt also came with a good thinking head. This discussion now necessitated a trip to the city to exchange lumber and all boards be ripped down to size. It was that or bracing and changing the angle of the roof line of the veranda and we didn’t want to do that.

It did go up quite quickly after this. I wish I had thought to take a photo from the same spot every night but alas I just thought of that now. We then moved on to a few week day items, one of which was quite exciting!

It needs a minor modification to the flow rate but it’s pretty terrific even if I think it was a lot of extra work.

We started up again this weekend after the World Cup match between England and Sweden; where our team won and I was pumped!!

At this point in time we had hoped to put the sub floor on the balcony but it turns out we should have been working on our procurement list a bit earlier in the month. We have a few undecided items and only so much research time. The decking material for the balcony floor comes with a month long wait list, much to our chagrin. There are still undecided items like what flooring to use on the veranda and what will the actual stair tops be made of. Sometimes it’s difficult to juggle all the details of the project, work our jobs, keep the yard and garden in shape, attend our sporting events and sleep. But hey it’s the last year and we have to push hard so somehow we will pull the flooring, lights, decking cover and the railing out of a hat all by the time the house celebrates it’s 100th anniversary this fall.

Now where was I? Oh yes; we couldn’t proceed to do the subfloor for the balcony so time to work on the foundation for the veranda. We are pretty lucky that Peter keeps lending us his awesome equipment. This weekend it was a bobcat and a tamper so we could excavate the area, put in base gravel and then tamp.

Once we added the forms we were ready for the pour. It’s always strikes me as strange that a whole mornings worth of work is one sentence. It involved a lot of pounding in stakes, cutting and tying rebar, inserting pavers under and then outside back filling. Repeat x 5 as that’s the number of footings we had to do.

Out of all the jobs I’ve done at this house rebar tier sits at the bottom of the list. I can’t believe guys do this for a living. I wonder if there is such a thing as an Oschner Wire Tightener in their world. Using the tool we had (needle nose pliers/cutter) is so much harder than an Oschner would be but hey the handiwork in the photo below is all mine.

It seems crazy that 50 bags of premixed concrete was required and it was still cheaper than a concrete load from the city. Of course it was way more work than a truck rolling into the driveway, that’s for sure. The engineer obviously was trying to make it easier than the last go around by elevating himself to the same level as the bags and above the mixer. This large mixer made short work of mixing and we got into a groove.

I’ve watched Ron do the finishing work enough times that I knew what to do. It may not be professional grade but I spread and levelled the footings pretty decently for a rookie. We could have done without the dog wandering through them twice. Forget the dog house; he ended up inside. I, on the other hand, was allowed to leave our marks in it.

One can only hope that this is the last really hard job until we get back to the masonry work. I’m quite looking forward to picking up a paint brush!

The icing on the cake was the last-minute supper invitation from close friends of ours. It was such perfect timing as we were both tired at the end of the day. During construction season a housekeeper/cook would be so wonderful but this was the next best thing!

I’m not convinced that one post was the right idea as I suspect 75% of the readers didn’t get this far. But it’s done and I’m hitting publish without any “polishing”.

And one last photo of a sunset moment — the one where I stop and take 5.


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6 Responses to Zippity Do Da

  1. Janice says:

    One post worked for me – I liked the continuity! LOVE LOVE LOVE the work being done! It is going to look magnificient!


  2. Helen Johnson says:

    Hey Cuz, why do you always think we don’t read your entire blog? You two (with additional helpers) are doing (and have done) a fantastic job! You make me tired just reading about your progress, however, I then remember that I am a wee bit older than you! Love you all!


    • bernielynne says:

      People often mention “it was so long I didn’t read the whole thing” to me. Hence I wasn’t sure who the heck would read the whole thing but I do have some faithful favourites who always read and leave comments!


  3. Alma D says:

    I enjoyed every word of this blog. You and Ron are amazing!! So excited for you two to be so near the end of this project. Doing a book is n awesome idea.


    • bernielynne says:

      A book has been on my radar for quite some time. Retirement and the project completion will occur close to each other so seems like a good time to be thinking about it.


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