Home designers describe a deck as ‘an extension of your home; an outdoor oasis for entertaining your friends with summer drinks and canapés.’ Makes a guy want to puke!
Your wife describes your deck as ‘a place she won’t put her Pier 1 eight-piece rattan furniture set with sun-resistant fabric cushions that match the brick mortar until her husband once and for all GETS OFF HIS DUFF AND FIXES THE ROTTED BOARDS! DID YOU HEAR ME??”
WHOA! Message received!
The professionals have a rule of thumb about home handyman projects: measure twice, and cut once. This is easy for them to say because they actually have their thumbs! On the other hand– I couldn’t resist!– home handymen are ‘all thumbs’ both literally and figuratively after accidentally power-stapling their thumbs installing engineered hardwood flooring renovating the kitchen.
But I’m here to say it doesn’t matter how many times you measure. Not when the most important tool hanging from your tool belt is a bottle opener! Believe me.
I asked– okay coerced!– my friend Rick to help me with a ‘little’ deck repair job last week. Every baby boomer who owns a home knows a ‘Rick’… a person with more tools than Bob Vila and still has seven fingers!
Ring. Ring. Ring.
“Hi Rick. It’s Gary. I’ve got a little deck repair project. Want to help?”
“Do you have beer?”
“Sure Rick. Can you bring your variable speed circular saw with aluminum base, soft grip handle and rail guide system for enhanced accuracy? And your portable table saw with telescoping legs and attached sawdust collecting sock and noise eliminating muffler?”
“Sounds good Gary. How much beer do you have?”
“Gee Rick. I just remembered. We’ll also need your cordless, heavy duty drill with extra lithium-ion battery packs and assorted 317 piece drill bit set.”
“Gary I’ll bring my portable, party-size, stainless steel, subzero beer cooler. It’s got NFL logos on the side and has it’s own beer cap catcher and holds two cases of beer.”
Before beginning a deck makeover couples have to decide on a design. This is accomplished by watching HGTV where a complete multilevel deck with an overhead pergola, sunken spa, and an outdoor kitchen with granite countertop is built in 30-minutes flat! Okay, an hour if your wife wants to add a fire pit for the grandkids to fall into while toasting marshmallows.
One of the first decisions is to choose composite deck boards or the type of deck boards that began this whole mess: real wood that you applied a semi-transparent, deep penetrating Cape Cod Harbor Lighthouse stain. Of course by the time you cleaned the brush and applied harsh chemicals to dissolve the stain you dribbled on the patio stones- the stain on the deck boards was already peeling.
Any project worth doing is worth doing well. So Rick and I prepared a list of the materials we needed: lumber; nails; and beer.
At the ‘More Savings, More Doing’ store it was a breeze. We quickly guessed how much lumber we may need. We were in and out in no time flat.
Over at the beer store we took our time strolling the aisles…
Eventually we decided on what we figured was a good summer sipping beer– Corona. For a beer at the end of the day, Rick checked his phone app and we picked out a craft beer called Dead Elephant. This baby comes in large, double-fisted size cans with a whopping alcohol content of 6.5%!
Any home handyman with baby boomer knee pads and up-to-date proof of Tetanus Vaccine knows there is only one thing you need to work outdoors: oppressive hot weather!
“Rick let’s have a beer before we get started, okay? We may as well try one of these Dead Elephants. Cheers!”
Well who has ONE beer?
An hour later it was time to begin. “Gary, before we get started I’ll go pee.”
Today’s tool belts keep everything you need right at your fingertips: your hammer, a retractable measuring tape that rips the crap out of your fingers when it retracts at warp speed similar to a European high-speed train, and a beer holder. Now that’s convenience.
“Rick can you toss me the screwdriver? You may as well grab a couple of Coronas while you’re at it.”
“In a minute Gary. But I have to pee first.”
By mid afternoon the sun is beating down. It’s wicked hot! The ground is cluttered with old rusty deck screws and broken deck boards. Everything is covered in sawdust.. and beer caps!
“Reeck. I tink I neade ta go peeee.”
“Sher Gerry. I um goink too cutt a fu more bords– afta I guzzle one more Dead Skunk!”
“Jerrie. Let’s orduh Chinease food. Sum goo goo pan. Goo goo guy pan for Garryy and rots of rice for Reeck!”
Cost of supplies: lumber and nails: $235.
Cost of U-Haul trailer with EZ-Load hydraulic ramp to return empties: ‘OMG!’
Happy wife: priceless!