momzonroof

… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…

I Made This Thing

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You know that scene in Castaway, where a decidedly, surprisingly rotund and hairy-chested little Tom Hanks finally gets the fire to light because the “air got to it” and he’s dancing and celebrating and pounding his round little hairy chest like a cave man who’s, well, just discovered FIRE, and he’s all “FIIRE!! I! HAVE! MADE FIRE!!!”?  You know that scene:   http://youtu.be/IS7Og1zvdy8

Well, that’s kinda how I feel about this: 

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Arbor and attached “arbor wings”… 

Oh the lovely arbor wings…

And I didn’t really make it all myself, I had help. AdventureCroft helped me with assembly of lovely lovely arbor, which is sold at a lovely site called “HayNeedle.com” and I love them, they couldn’t have been more precious. Of course, I am judging their customer service against my most recent SEARS DEBACLE,  so really they didn’t have to do much to impress me… They shipped the arbor quickly, and when my  promo-code didn’t work at check-out, they refunded the difference in a pleasant and timely manner. This arbor is called “Vienna by Eden”, which is a charming and old-worldsy name for something so… shiny and made of environmentally-toxic PVC : 

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Gettin’ her Power Drill on…

Then Beane helped me wrestle the big, floppy, unwieldy thing into the ground (vinyl arbors behave a bit like a 48 lb cat without a backbone, and they make scary “WOCKA WOCKA WOCKA” sounds as you move them…  so Beane and I managed to get it in place and centered and plumb and level and square and all those vital constructiony terms… Here is why they are vital: If you make one mistake, if one thing is not level or plumb, and you think oh… it’ll be fine, no big… guess what, you will be wrong. Because somewhere down the road, that little mistake will impact something else. Something else will not line up and it will be very noticeable, especially when you have DONALD GENE visiting on a regular basis and checking out your jobs… I didn’t get any pics of Beane and me wrestling with the arbor, because at that point, I have to admit, I was not believing that it was going to work out, I had read too many reviews and horror stories by others who tried to install this arbor, and I lost sight of the vision… I admit it… I faltered… We had to set it in cement too, and that is nerve-wracking to me, because it is so friggin’ permanent. Permanent has not worked out so well for me in the past, especially when planting things in the ground. I usually have “location remorse” with everything I plant or build:  trees, bushes, fences, gates, rock walls, sheds, decks… 

So, no pics of Beane helping me, but here’s what she looked like a few weeks later, playing football at the Lake: 

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Chief Leveler in Charge of Plumbing and Squaring

I think you can see how happy she was to be doing something besides wielding a tamper. Also, in the background, looming, in his official Morton’s Fisherman Yellow Weather Suit, is the Inspector General, Donald Gene. He’s shown here, inspecting his boat for barnacles…

But what I’m most proud of, besides my amazing beautiful talented versatile daughterz… you see those two little pieces of descending picket fence off each side of the arbor? Those are called “arbor wings,” and they sell them for $270 at Hayneedle, which is more than the WHOLE DANG ARBOR cost! But I wanted them so badly! I wanted arbor wings with the burning desire of a thousand suns, and THAT is a sad commentary on my values at this particular moment in time, but there you have it. Arbor wings complete your arbor. They just do. And surely, in completing my arbor, I would then be complete also, right? It just follows.. 

So I got a little jiggy with the DIY, I had HomeDepot ship me  a single section of scalloped picket fence for $60 (free shipping! The box was 8 ft long by 1 ft wide! Assembly was easy. Home Depot! Why would anyone EVER shop at SEARS?! How many lessons do I have to learn about SEARS?!),  I cut the fence section in half with a hacksaw,  sunk two old wooden posts I had laying about, and then covered them with a sleeve of lovely vinyl 4×4 ($15), and plopped on a couple decorative vinyl post caps ($10).  Hardware was $30, and I really could’ve used less expensive hanging bracket thingies, but I didn’t want another trip to the hardware, so used what I had already bought…  I figure it out to about $115 for the whole job. Which is really interesting if you’re interested in that kind of thing. Less-so if you’re not. 

Here’s a lesson learned, I just want to document for future reference: A hacksaw is not a precision tool. If you only mark one side of your 4×4 vinyl post, and you think, oh, surely the hacksaw will cut straight down through the whole thing, nice and perpendicular and whatnot… guess what you will be wrong. But you will get a second chance, because you can strategically BURY both hacked up edges in CEMENT, upside down and at the base of each post, loooong before the Inspector General shows up for inspection!  

Getting this all to line up and have everything the same height, level, and in line, all the same angle, well, I’m not going to pretend it was skill: it was DUMB LUCK. Because my trash-heap posts were two different lengths, the ground was lumpy and on a 28 degree incline, the BRICK WALL was always in my way when I was trying to site down the line, I had to hack back 40 years worth of FORSYTHIA overgrowth to install the post on the right, the vinyl post sleeve kept slipping and sliding around until I had a stroke of brilliance and screwed it to the post… I was sweating, and cussing, and convinced I was creating a giant dungheap of wasted environmentally UNFRIENDLY building materials at every  step along the way… 

In the end, I stepped back and looked at the final outcome. And for a minute I took time to do the Tom Hanks hairy chested fire dance.  And then I looked closer… and wondered if maybe I shoulda angled the whole thing differently… and set it back just a few more inches from the driveway… 

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8 thoughts on “I Made This Thing

  1. Oh my! You are ingenious, and the Arbor With Wings is beautiful and perfect. It’s beautifully placed, expertly & lovingly installed, and pleasantly angled, I’m sure for even the most discerning inspector! I love it!

    • Thanks, Bestie!! Wish you were the actual inspector! Unfortunately, Donald Gene is always in my head, as Carl is always in HIS head, as Carl’s pappy I’m sure was always in his head…

  2. Gorgeous! And so clever! Proud of you. ~LA

  3. Nice wings! I didn’t know you were still writing here!!!! I didn’t get the memo! (((reunited and it feels so gooood)))) lol. Drop by my place and read all of my misadventures.

  4. Wish I were there to help with said hacking of forsythia and such . . .i am really good at hacking back jungles. it looks loverly sister!

    • My sista! I think of you every time I pull out the FISKARS!! lol! I hearby and forever dub thee “Chief Hacker and Slayer of Encroaching Wysteria, Privet, and Forsythia”!! And as such, no need to wait for an invitation to tend to your duties any time you feel the urge…

And what about Naomi?

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