Thursday, October 10, 2013

Up, Up and Away

I think I mentioned that the last chapter in Adventures with Lawrence included loading and unloading more than three dozen 2x6 boards of varying lengths.

Today, we broke into this stash and began putting them to use. There is an incredible amount of difference between hefting 10-footers than 14-footers. (Just ask my shoulders. They'll groan to confirm.) We started out with 2x4s.

The 2x4s were left over from what we had purchased and used to build the concrete forms to pour the patio. Lawrence promised me that this almost $90 worth of lumber would have a use once we got to covering the patio. Today, he made good on that promise.

When we started, I was having a very hard time trying to figure out just what the hell Lawrence had us creating. We took two 2x6s and sandwiched small squares of half-inch plywood between them. That had me scratching my head. Then he explained that those plywood pieces, jutting out from between the boards, had a double duty. On one side, they would help serve as anchors to 20-inch cuts of 2x4 running vertically throughout the frame. On the other side, they would help anchor 28-inch diagonal cut boards. It was all Greek to me, but what I saw was that the combination of the vertical and diagonal boards spelled out my initials: NV. Take a look. See?

The picture doesn't do this thing justice. It's massive. It's about 3.5 feet wide and nearly 18 feet long! And it's not light by any stretch of the imagination. So, just how were Lawrence (who is in his mid-70s AND not a very big man to begin with) and I going to get this thing almost 10 feet in the air? I'll admit, I was skeptical. You'd think though, that in more than six years of working with Lawrence, I'd know better than to doubt him. He is almost always a man with a plan.

Using multiple ladders and an array of ropes and pulleys (and me pushing a 6-foot ladder through the middle of it all, hoping against hope that this precaution wouldn't be necessary), this monstrosity began to rise. I was terrified the whole time this was going on. I was afraid that a) this ginormous piece we'd spent almost six hours building would crash down or b) Lawrence, who was being something of a daredevil more than 10 feet in the air, would fall.

After carefully repeating the procedure on both sides and then alternating between the two, we got the frame to here.
 It didn't hurt that I had an epiphany and brought out some furniture sliders to lay beneath each side of the frame to help push it along a board Lawrence had temporarily attached between the posts. Finally! The huge frame was suspended between the posts closest to the house.

But that was just the beginning. Now, this beast had to stand up atop each of the posts! Let's just say I held my breath a lot today. More than once I envisioned this thing crashing down onto the patio and shattering.

The really good news is that that didn't happen. Instead, using the pulleys and ropes he had to help us get the frame up to the boards, he then repositioned to pull the monster into place. And, just like that, it looks like this. Seems rather small and insignificant sitting up there like that, doesn't it?

The day, however, wasn't without its downsides.

First, the mother managed to get a flip flop tangled in an extension cord in the carport and fell. I don't think anything is broken but she bashed the hell out of her left knee and right hand/wrist. Both are pretty swollen and bruised. Say a prayer that these injuries manage to heal sooner rather than later.

Second, the frame is sitting several more inches away from the house than it should be. Not sure where Lawrence miscalculated on this one but we're going to have to come up with something to bridge this gap. Ugh.

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