When we moved into this house, the front door swung inward toward the porch which was awkward from both sides of the door. My father in law and I fixed that little issue, but in doing so, created essentially a "short" first step. A strategically placed 4 X 4 closed the gap we'd created, but made the top step 4" shorter. As a result, we have been telling people for the past 15 years to "watch that first step, it's a killer."
Well, the steps are aging and starting to list to one side, so we needed to shore them up. My friends Claude, Steve and Brad have offered to help with the project at some level. I've said it before, I am NOT handy. But when I am in the company of handy people, I tend to rise to the occasion and work well with others.
A perfect example of this was when the same friend Steve, my brother Rob and I all built a fence for our backyard about 12 years ago. I put an all-call out for help, and these two guys carried the day. I ordered the materials and set the date for Memorial Day weekend. Rob drove down from St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife and two girls and Steve drove in from Milwaukee on Saturday morning.
The rain started shortly thereafter and continued for two days.
We worked hard, shoulder to shoulder and got it done. In the rain. There were numerous, well earned beers during the process, but frankly we had a lot of fun with it. It gave ALL of us a sense of accomplishment to see it come to completion. We corrected each others mistakes along the way and it turned out textbook. As much as I hate the phrase, it was really a bonding experience. We laughed hard, picked on one another and had fun in the rain and the mud. Overall the construction of it still stands as one of my prouder accomplishments with this house.
So when Claude drew up some plans for the new steps, I followed his lead. Last night he came over and we staked out the plan and talked around terms like "rise" and "pour" and "framing." I hung with him for most of it. He's a very handy guy, so I tend to get a little star struck when those kinds of guys get to talking. I'm actually handier than I give myself credit for. I just don't "think" handy and so when I get around handy thinkers, I'm usually just along for the ride.
The schedule is set. With any kind of luck within the next three weeks, we'll have new steps and a new walk out to the driveway. I'm sure there will be numerous beers consumed along the way (or at the completion of each phase) because I'm fairly certain that is the key to getting anything big done around the house. Beer and boys.
And power tools, of course.