Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Patio: Part II...

Okay, picking up where we left off (where I somehow lost track of my pictures) on the patio project.
The crew came on Christmas Eve to pour the slab and it only took about ten minutes to realize we'd be needing a new lawn.  In fairness, I had torn up a good part of it by digging up and moving a lot of the electrical, cable and water lines I had run in previous years. 
 It took a while to get the cement in and then, most of the evening to smooth everything.  I think they did a pretty good job, but I felt pretty bad that they worked so late on Christmas Eve.  As you might have guessed, there was no action until after New Year. 
The first step in adding the patio cover was to put up the posts. Once everything was straight and level, it was a matter of waiting for the I-Beams they ordered to come in.
I have always seen people build patio covers with 2X4, 2X6 or maybe 2X8's, but because we were going out 20 feet and tying into the roof, we needed longer, stronger wood.  I'm not gonna lie - seeing them cut into the existing rood and removing siding was making me a little nervous.  Eva said that I was coming home from work just to make the workers nervous, but honestly, I was just curious to see how it would all work. 
Aside from a few delays (which you just have to expect) the actual construction moved right along.
I was becoming more and more pleased with the way things were coming together in terms of finishing the corners and how the tie-in to the house looked.
Once everything was painted, they installed the ceiling fans, exterior lighting and we moved the hot tub into its new place. 

On the last day they brought in the electrician to run a new 220 line for our hot tub.  Because we had moved it into a new place, we had to pull the old wire and put a new longer length in.  I came home from work to find that they had just run the line but hadn't actually connected it.  Long story short, instead of calling them back, I just did the work since, I've wired a thing or two in my time.  I also figured out that the electrician didn't connect to the breaker properly so it was just as well that I did it.

All in all, adding this patio really improved our love of the house and our enjoyment of the back yard. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Patio Cover...

This might be a little late in the season to tell you about the joint Christmas present Eva and I got each other.  But, considering my track record in posting, I'm sure you'll understand. 

First though, let me happily report that I took the day off.  Oh, I had several errands to run including a stop at Big Willy to get some blood work done (routine) and then off to the old windshield place.

Yes, one of the downsides of living out here is that I have to take I-35 in order to get to and from everywhere, and with the abundance of trucks, I go through windshields like nobody's business.  Nobody's but Alamo Auto Glass, anyway.

So as they got started, the guy called me out to the shop to make sure I knew about some damage to the truck.  He said he just wanted me to know that they did not break the plastic thing between the hood and the windshield.

I said, "Yes, the Safelight guy broke the plastic when he replaced my windshield about a year ago, but I didn't notice it until after he left.  I figured it was too late once I signed for the windshield."
"Oh man, they should have fixed that." he said.  "Well, also, I just wanted you to also note this piece on the end.  That is missing."

"Yep." I nodded.  "That was what you guys broke about four or five months ago when I got this windshield.  I didn't realize it until I was driving home and figured it was too late.  Maybe you could fix that for me?"

There was a lot of unintelligible stuttering and stammering and I just turned around and walked to the waiting room.  Whatever.
Another thing I did today was replace the Tonneau cover on the bed of my truck.  These things only last a few years at the most and I've gone through several.  This one is a brand called Lund.  I'll simply say, you get what you pay for and I suspect I'll be replacing this one in six months.  Whatever.  I just don't have time to sit down and write an ugly letter to the Internet about it.

Okay, one other thing before we get to the real topic at hand, and that is what remains of one of my chain saws.   This blade is actually pretty good.  But while I was trying to cut down a tree, I blew the engine on one of the chainsaws.  I took it to a repair place and the man was really nice about it. 
He gave me a stern lecture on the proper handling of a chainsaw and actually explained how to tighten the chain.  Since he didn't charge me a dime for diagnosing the blown engine, I offered it to him for parts and he gave me a really funny look and said, "I'm sure it will fit in your garbage can just as easily as mine."  Not sure why I kept the chain, but you never know.

So back to the patio...

For a long while Eva has had this idea of us extending the back patio and then adding a cover.  Her idea involved a wooden deck and slapping on some aluminum as an overhang.  She'll surely argue that wasn't her plan, but trust me.

Anyway, we decided that for Christmas, that would be the present.  I love the idea of supporting local business so I contacted the husband of a lady I met through one of those Facebook garage sale pages.  He came over and looked at the project but after almost a month of trying to get a bid from him, I gave up.  We tried others and finally got a bid from a guy who was highly recommended who, as it turns out, framed our house when it was built.  That really appealed to me because I love the work he did on the house and I wanted the back patio cover to match our carport.

We decided to get started before Christmas in hopes that it would be done by the 24th or if all else failed, by New Years.  You may feel free to begin laughing now.
It was an adventure, but in the end, we are happy.  I took this picture today so you can see that we survived before I proceed with the pictures from December.

For those of you interested in dimensions, we made the patio 20 feet deep by 38 feet wide.  Yep.  No messing around here.  It gives us enough space for the hot tub and room for a patio dining set.

Eva called our contractor Menudo, not because he liked tripe for breakfast, but because like the musical group, he had different members of the crew daily.  Oh, and he gave Eva a run for her money in actual Spanish versus her more familiar Tex-Mex.  He and I communicated in English just fine.  He had to correct Eva on her Spanish more than once.
This was the start of the expansion of our patio.  Notice a few things.  One, I uncovered the electrical work going to our hot tub and two, notice the hot tub.  It took up a lot of the existing patio.
 By Christmas Eve, we had new concrete down and it looked like we would be on track for a happy New Year sometime in 2015.
We got a good laugh out of the cement work.  The thing is, I did not want a cement truck coming onto my driveway.  The last thing I need is a new patio and a cracked driveway at the same time, so I asked Menudo (and I swear, if that sounds racist when I call him/them Menudo, I promise you, his real name is Manual, and that seems just as racist to me in this context) to bring the cement in on Georgia Buggies.  That is, they park the cement truck on the street, then haul it in on these little carts with a bucket.  Instead, they used a Bobcat and totally destroyed the back yard.  This was a risk that I was ready for.  And they destroyed my little cement walkway, then repaired it.

 Unfortunately, I have to stop this post here.  In spite of the fact that I haven't posted anything in months, I'm really good about saving the pictures I take and I'm somewhat shocked to learn that I cannot seem to find all my pictures of the patio project.   I promise, I will find them and I will finish this little story about our patio.
As we patiently wait, I offer you a picture of a buck in the front yard.