Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Deck is finished and a pre-blog story about construction and the Disabled Guy

So, the deck is done.

But first... the pre-blog story...

When we first moved into this house, it had a three-season porch on the back of the house. It was added on to the house decades after it was built. There was a door at the end and one would have to walk all the way into the porch to get into the house through the kitchen. Because of the whackadoo who built this place, there was no room for our fridge in the kitchen. And since the disabled guy lives here, we put our laundry appliances on this enclosed porch instead of down the narrow and harrowing basement steps.

Eventually, somewhere between the shelves and clothes dresser he built, DG decided to cover all but two of the windows (the walls were all windows) and put a wall up in that porch. He'd have to turn a window on the house into a doorway, but that was his plan.

If you've followed this whole deckscapade (see what I did there?), you know that DG uses vise grips and other clamp-like things to hold stuff in place. Well, back then, he didn't have as many of those things as he has now (which is dozens). So, he used to hammer a scrap piece of wood and use that for his bracing/holder/whatnot and then he'd just fix the hole it left after he was done. No problem.

A quick bit of background about me- for those who don't know... I have pain issues (I bitch about them liberally on my fibro blog). Back in those days, my pain problems were limited to Carpal Tunnel syndrome and I would randomly lose the strength in my hand grip. When I worked nights as a security guard (aka: uniformed receptionist that walked a pre-determined route twice a night), I was in charge of a rather large switchboard. During the day, the office lady wore a headset because she fielded thousands of calls. We didn't get that many, so our switchboard had the handset. But, being that it was a switchboard, we didn't have to literally hang it up. We had to hit the "disconnect" button and we could set the handset down on the desk. Well, my carpal tunnel problems- I was known to be in mid-disconnect and I'd lose my grip on the handset and it would scuttle across the desk and off the end. All because of my hands.

So, DG gets all up on this little stepladder to try and drill a block of wood in place. But he can't do it. He gets me to come out there and hands me the drill. He tells me to use the drill to drive this long screw into the block of wood and into the wall behind it. He'd hold the block of wood in place for me.

I held the drill in both hands, poised over the Phillips-head screw. I said, "Do you really think this is a good idea?"

He replied something like: "It has to be done, might as well be you."

I actually did put the drillbit into the screw, but I stopped before pulling the trigger. No, I said. I wasn't comfortable doing it. What if I lost my grip on the heavy drill and dropped it, breaking it? Or what if the drill started spinning and I lost control of it and it slipped off and hit the disabled guy's hand? He's on blood thinners. If you've ever tried to stop someone from bleeding while they're on blood thinners, you'd know that's not all fun and games. Even if it isn't serious. And I told him so. "You take the drill and I'll hold the block of wood." He said fine and we switched places.

Now, another factoid about me- I'm short. I'm actually perfectly average for a woman (five foot, four and a half inches). DG is around five-ten. And he was standing on a stepladder. I'm standing on my tiptoes, arm stretched as far as it can go and I'm holding onto the block of wood. I can't look up because I'm pressed against the wall (between the stepladder and the wall, actually). DG is behind me, getting ready to drill the long screw into the block of wood.

"Hey," I recall saying, "Don't drill into my fingers. I can't see what you're doing to move out of the way."

He replied, "I won't." And we both chuckled.

The drill fired up. I could feel the block of wood vibrating with the impact. Now, this all happened fairly simultaneously.

DG said: "Oh shit!"

The wood made a strange sound (of the drill smacking into it and skipping off it).

And I felt a searing pain in my index finger.

Then I let out a shriek.

That's right. The disabled guy jammed a Phillips head drillbit, which was spinning under the force of a power drill, into the tip of my index finger. I had a flat wart on my finger too, right on the smushy pad- when they fingerprinted me for the security guard job, it looked like a smudged snowflake.

Blood gushed from my finger and I let out the appropriate amount of swear words and I did that automatic "hand shake" one does when they hurt their finger. Blood arced up against the wall and onto the ceiling. I was swearing, crying and laughing. DG was apologizing and laughing.

And we discovered a new and rather effective way to remove simple warts.

Why did I bore you with all this?

Because today, he finished the deck. And it is glorious. He's just got to put fencing along the bottom so our over-excited Chihuahuas don't run right off the edge. I know, that was a tad redundant- "over-excited" and "Chihuahuas".

I was outside with the dogs and didn't take my camera, so there are mobile phone photos of the completed deck. If you're in the Facebook group, you've seen these photos.

The deck!

The opposite corner

The other end...

Then, it poured down rain for about an hour. The sun came out and he went outside to put one of the porch swings together. He said he'd need my help, but I had just gotten home from the store. About a half hour later, he came in to tell me he was ready. When I got outside, the entire A-frame was already put together. It turns out that he can use those clamps and such to hold the frame up while he was able to put everything together. So, all I had to do was help him move it to where we wanted it and then put the bench on the frame.

He of the gimpy leg, me of the "wide-spread pain"- we lifted the frame and shuffled along a few feet to put into place. Then we took the bench and lifted it up. That's right, him with one arm, me with my "grip losing" hands lifted up the solid wood bench. Now, if you've seen his photos or the videos, you know his arm is fairly muscular and strong. There isn't much he can't do, even with only one arm.

I was holding the bench with one hand and I lifted it up so I could slip the chain-link over the hook thingy (it isn't a hook, I don't know what its real name is). Just as I got the link up, DG lost his grip on his chain. He didn't drop it, but it slipped. I didn't drop my end either, because I'd just gotten the link up over the hook thingy, but it did drop a bit. My left hand was suddenly and searingly painfully twisted into the chain. (it splits into a Y). I let out a string of swear words and lifted up the bench. I got my hand loose, still swearing, and shook it (no blood!). Then I quickly lifted the chain up over the hook thingy for DG so he could let go of his end.

I immediately iced my hand. Currently, there are three odd-shaped bruises forming. The part that caught the chain-tangle is that smushy, fleshy bit in between the thumb and index finger. You know, right where the utensil sits when you eat. Or the spine of a book while you read. Or the key chain when you pick up your car keys. And in my case, where the mouse for my computer rests against my hand when I'm mousing on the computer.

If the bruises darken to a lovely shade of black and/or blue, I'll take photos.


Lettie said...

Ouch. Never a dull moment!

rengawk said...

Blood, sweat, AND tears!

The decks look great, you guys did a great job!

Pahz said...

It was all him. I did nothing except hassle him while he was working.

Daylight Dreamer said...

Oh owch! You get yourself into all kinds of pain, don't you? But the deck is BEAUTimus and you both did a fabulous job.