Tuesday, June 30, 2009

house of rock 4

saturday june 22
it was another nice morning. i had a couple of visitors this time. a male and female duck had discovered the pond across from me and were spending their saturday morning bathing and dining together and alone. quite sweet. i enjoyed watching them bob for food while i ate my breakfast.

sunday june 23
so, by the good grace of god, cainin showed up to help with the roof. the saturday before, i had taken all my measurements and gotten all my wood cut and ready to install on the rafters. this would be the first layer to the roof; the second being the tin. we were so busy trying to get it done before the sun was beating down on us, there wasn't time to take pictures until the work for the day was done.

roof from the inside

and outside

a few days later i met bonnie after work to pick up more plywood and also by the good grace of god, she decided to come back up and lend a hand and bring her brother! i cut wood and they screwed it to the railing and in 3 hours the exterior of the railing was completed. by 9:30 that night i was home. this was a huge relief. it's one thing when something is heavy, it's another all together when, by mere dimension, it just flat out takes another person to hold it up.

the following night i went up and starting cuttin my tin sheets for the roof. bonnie came back again and lent a hand. it just so happens that the landscaping crew had been doing some watering and finally gotten the sprinkler systems working and working they were! i'll attach a photo to demonstrate the efficiency of their watering. but first...... anyone who knows bonnie, knows that she wears flip-flops year round. everyday. even doing crazy construction work. obviously she's never dropped a sheet of plywood on her foot, but that's neither here nor there i guess. regardless, i'm getting ready to get up on the roof when i hear a scream followed by a scream of laughter. i came around the corner to find this-

if you look closely- bonnie's flip flop is deep in the mud after being sucked right off her foot! must have been a foot deep!

while she was off washing her foot, i climbed up on the roof to begin screwing down the tin. after many laurel and hardy moments of hilarity, we were wrapping it up by dark. the very end of the roof cap required some monkey maneuvering on tippy toes on the top step of the ladder so i was relieved that the younger, more adventurous of us two happened to be the one in that position. and again, too busy to snaps photos while trying to beat the sun. even after, somehow i didn't get photos of the roof. after cutting my leg and then noticing what this sticker said, i did stop for this one.

sat. 27/sunday june 28
the following saturday i woke up not feeling well. i had injured my arm/neck/shoulder a couple of weekends earlier. the tick tock of the clock and having to push on through was really taking it's toll on me. both mentally and physically. that, coupled with a heat advisory and warnings on the news, i decided to stay in and get some rest. the best thing i could have done for myself. i woke up refreshed and ready to go.

the essentials

bonnie had concerns that i was making more work for myself by not doing my measuring and cutting of my plywood before attaching it to the railing. i was relieved to see that i was right and it was indeed easier for me to do it after it was up~ as opposed to~ on a work mate, trying to hold the sheet with one hand and cut with a saw in the other. this way it was attached and i could just drill my holes and cut away. almost like carving.

at least this picture includes the tin roof

i got the sides cut, the scallops cut, and the holes cut. i attached the finials, belt sanded the rough edges on plywood and cut (32) 8ft. strips of molding, all cut from my scrap cut aways. can't tell you the satisfied feeling to have gotten that much work done in one day, without injury, and still have enough energy to stay up and enjoy dinner. good day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

house of rock 3

well, as with many break ups, i could not leave well enough alone. i had to go back and check on things,...see what i could do to make it better. friday night was a big storm that tore through town. i was so worried about the state of the playhouse. and, even though i had decided that i really needed a break from this project, i knew that the clock was ticking and time is already too short. so, after checking the weather and getting the all clear for sunny weather, and since we had no power at home, i go back to the park for more work. i was relieved to see that the storm had done very little damage. actually, no damage- just a little bit of warping that could be remedied with a few more screws.

after that, i begin to cut and install the walls. i have to say, i was not in tip top shape. i had to take several more breaks than normal and could not seem to conquer dehydration. but in only a few hours, i had the walls measured, cut and installed.

i leave there feeling exhausted but so glad that i had gotten that part out of the way and there was nothing but sun ahead.

boy, was i wrong. early the next morning i woke up to sirens, alarms, and an awful storm. the amount of wind and rain was unbelievable. i couldn't sleep for worrying about my decision to put those walls up. they would have been much safer left alone and covered with the tarp.

finally i convince myself that what is done, is done; and that if i have to tear the walls down and start again, that is just what i'll have to do. with the scale and elaborateness of my design, coupled with the budget for this project, i'm already working for lunch money and a pat on the back. what's having to buy more wood going to hurt?

i do my best to enjoy the rest of the day and night. finally after nearly 48 hours, our power is back on. i get a good night's sleep and wake up ready to face the state of the playhouse. the whole drive i'm praying for a break and some good news.....
everything looks good from a distance. and when i get up to it, i can see that it's actually all okay!! some bowing of wood in between screws but no real damage and i can move forward with getting a roof on!! yea!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

house of rock (the breakup)

well, it looks like me and the playhouse are gonna have to break- up for a minute. this morning i woke up to rain and remembered that i needed to cover the wood i had stacked so that it didn't warp. so, off i go with two tarps to do my duty. i arrive to find that some of my wood that i have put up has already warped where i had not yet screwed it in. as for the remainder, one stack of about 12 sheets of wood is leaned up against the wall inside the house and the other outside. inside the house, i begin to pull the stack away just enough to drop the tarp behind and the momentum of the stack gets away from me. the entire stack falls, slams into my leg, scrapes its way down and takes me down with it. before i even knew what happened i was on the ground with a backache, the breath knocked out of me and my leg pinned underneath 12 sheets of 4x8 plywood.

i really wanted to cry but i didn't. instead, i pulled myself together, went to my car for the drill and screws and proceeded to save the work i had done last weekend from further warpage and destruction. even though it's not the playhouse's fault, whereas i usual walk away feeling proud and fulfilled, this morning i walked away hurt and with this-

i just think it's time we took a break, that's all.

Monday, June 8, 2009

house of rock 2

well, another weekend of work behind me and i'm feeling pretty good about it. i was able to resolve the key situation and gain access to the entry i needed. i put together another material list and, with the help of some good friends, was able to load them up on a trailer and drive them right up to the front steps. thank you bonnie!!! and cainin!!! luckily i had gone over earlier in the day to check on things and was told by the lady at the gate that @ 5 they were closing off the streets and would not be allowing traffic back in until 6 and that would only be for the concert that night in the gardens. narrowly escaping a nightmare stuck in traffic with a load of wood while the wife and mother in law wait at home to go to dinner, we were in by 5 and out by 6.

the next morning i went back by home depot for wood for the roof frame, another ladder and screws. a lot of screws go into something like this. i unloaded everything and started marking, cutting and assembling the rafters for the roof.

after cainin arrived, we began to put the first one up when i noticed.... because of the angle i had cut, the pitch on roof was really high. it looked as if we were building the steeple on a church. earlier, i had ignored my intuition that maybe i shouldn't assemble them all until i checked one...but as usual, i was impatient and wanted to keep moving. so, needless to say, we had to take them apart, figure a different angle for a lower pitch, re-cut them and re-assemble them; this time, checking the first one before moving forward with the rest.

cainin coming by was a blessing. not only was there really no way to climb a ladder, stand one of the rafters up on top of the walls, measure each end to be in the correct spot, and attach it- there was definitely no way to so it safely. and, in addition to that, having an extra hand kept me from falling behind schedule and i was able meet my goal at the end of the day.

the complete house frame was done and i was off to mom's for a visit; yummy home cooking and porch sitting. .....can't think of a better way to end a saturday.

sunday morning i was sore as a m.f. but felt refreshed and ready to go. i was early to the park, and it was cool and quite. i climbed the ladder and checked some things out...then sat in the shade and planned out the next step.

views from the ladder

aside from a couple of injuries, the day went pretty smoothly. i framed in where i wanted my windows to be and began one by one bringing the sheets of plywood up, measuring and tracing the frames where i needed to make my cuts.....i carried the sheets back down to cutting center (which was my tailgate and a saw horse) made my cuts, carried the sheet back up and nailed the sheet in place; creating my walls. later i will go back in and apply many many screws to what is now just nailed.

first wall in place

second wall in progress

i had just gotten my first wall up and was on to the second, when the wife and kids came by. soon, there'll be an addition of the talking kind to the photo.

you can't really tell by these photographs that it was quite breezy sunday. which, i must say, there really is nothing like a breeze when you're working in the sun. unless, you're carrying a 4ftx8ft sheet of plywood. then, suddenly, usually by catching wind, you become aware you have a big wooden sail in your hand.
some of the injuries that could occur while battling wind with plywood. it can; fall while you're not looking and hit you in the back, (remedy- temporarily nail in place while taking measurements.) it could, catch wind and slam you right in the forehead while carrying it, it could get caught by the wind while trying to set it down at cutting center, making it slam down on to the tailgate, thus, making it bounce and land on your ankles, scraping it's way down to your feet, leaving a nice cut and bruise in it's path.

photos don't do pain justice

after this happened i decided to take a break and walk around a bit.

then i put up one of the front walls and stopped for a quick photo before finishing up and heading home.

feeling pretty proud

Monday, June 1, 2009

house of rock

well, it's been nearly a year and i'm finally blogging again. it's been a whirlwind time. lots of exciting things happening. i've been to the american craft buyers market of philidelphia to inform and prepare myself for taking my jewelry to market. i have applied for 4 more public art pieces and have won two of them. i am now playing drums for Giant Bear, an incredibly fine group of musicians. this has involved many nights of practice, gigs and studio recording. we are currently applying the finishing touches on our recordings before going into the final stage of engineering. and the new cd is slated for release this summer. in addition to this, my partner and i are having a baby! she will be the birth mother, as i am not only too old, but too terrified to take that journey. so, needless to say, i have been up to my ARSE in things to do, deadlines to make and emptying out the studio to make room for baby.

the first of my two public art pieces is, a 12-15ft sculpture that will be installed at the entrance to the new "legends park" downtown. we're in the early stages of this one. just now signing the contract and will begin building the model in the next few weeks.
the second, is part of the memphis botanic garden's build out for children of all ages, and is well underway. "my big backyard" is an amazing environment full of all sorts of visual delights to interact with and learn from. my particular piece will be on "playhouse lane". i'm calling it the "house of rock". it'll be a brightly colored, inviting playhouse that will be full of musical instruments to bang and play on. my hope is that my playhouse will spark an interest in music for these kids and that they will learn you can make music on just about anything.

here's a photo taken of the site in february. much work has been done to the surrounding areas since then and i've just begun my part.

since my initial plans i submitted, some things had to be changed with my design due to concerns the board had. so here is the revised blueprint. no tree trunk to climb into, no slide to exit the playhouse. instead, it is only 2.5 ft off the ground with a deck surrounding it.

....lost some of it's funky charm but i think it'll still be a success.

the deck w/ railing and steps are finished

saturday morning i went to home depot and loaded up the materials i needed to begin framing in the playhouse. this included 55 2x4 boards. 35 of them were 8ft. long, the rest were 10ft. 5lb box of nails, box of screws and a back brace. i later discovered, as with many things, the back brace was not designed for a woman; as it has your boobs positioned directly around your throat.
when i arrived at the gate to unload, the key i had been given didn't unlock the gate i needed to go in. after retrieving the security gaurd, his key didn't unlock the gate either. two more men came by with rings of keys and neither of them had the right key either. after deciding that the construction crew must have changed the lock and didn't give the garden a key, and that clearly i was not getting through that gate, i had no choice but to throw my boards over the fence. did i tell you there were 55 of them? and did i tell you they were 8 and 10 ft long? heavy. and hot.

so i go to the other gate, unlock it, pull my car in and begin carrying loads of the rest of my materials. by the time i had gotten all my things to my site, i then had to commence to picking up my boards; like 5lb, 8/10ft long pick up stix. remember those? yeah, not fun. all in all, i think it took about 3 hours to get my things to where they belonged. i was 2 hours behind schedule and exhausted! but after a break in the shade and two bottles of water, i was ready to begin. i was able to get a plan of attack and one wall built by time to go; which was about one minute before passing out. here's my first wall.

the view from the deck

packed up like a mule and heading home with my wheel barrel of tools

the next morning, since i already had everything that i needed there on site, i was able to load up my tools and get an earlier start. i was delighted to find that i was early enough to still have some shade! i took a few minutes to sit and listen to the birds and enjoy the breeze, put on my ipod and got to work. in no time i had the second wall built.

just as i finished the second wall, the sun started to move in. i spent the next 3 hours pretty much the entire time in the blazing sun. hammering away. and not just the nails. had to hit my finger a time or two. it's numb and a little purple today

more measuring and i built the back wall, the two sides on the front, cut in the windows and connected them to make a doorway. one by one i stood them up, got them positioned and prayed they wouldn't fall before i could secure them with the first couple of screws. remarkably, i was able to do this and everything still be square.
finally, in spite of the set backs on day one, i was able to reach my goal of having the house framed in by sunday afternoon. i tidied up my area and stood back proudly looking at my accomplishments.

quickly followed by a voice in my head, "what the hell are you doing?! get out of the sun before the salt burns through to the bone!" and then i remembered, ahh, yes.... a friend, a beer, and a pool. on my way!
now, let's see if they'll have that key situation worked out for the load in next weekend. please please please.