Sunday, October 26, 2008

carport: part 3

Real progress on the carport project this weekend! I got my little "work area" set up under a dining canopy borrowed from our camping gear and set off with Mark and Dean early Saturday morning to do some shopping. They didn't sell ten-foot 4x6s at Lowe's so I ended up with more 12-footers then I wanted to deal with, but that's the way it goes. The van was really weighed down with all the lumber and bags of concrete, but we made it back home okay, dragging our bumper all the way. Okay, not really, but you know what I mean.

The posts were heavy, but once the holes were measured and marked (tougher then it sounds since I'm building into a slope) holes were dug. I rented an earth auger from the True Value to get the digging done ($41 for a half day including insurance) and drilled holes for my gate posts, too. Totally worth it - I never would have been able to do the job with a regular post hole digger. 18 holes in all, eight inches in diameter.

Then, some gravel borrowed from the driveway, some scrap wood for supports, and all 18 posts got set in, down to the bedrock, and surrounded by concrete. I went for the expensive no-mix concrete (dump in the 50 pound bag and then put a gallon of water on top) which was another time-saving extra expense, but also one that truly made the job easier considering the price difference was only about $2.40 a bag.

The next step is to figure out the height and angle of the roof, lop off the posts at the right height, and get the roof beams installed. Hopefully some of that can happen during the week this week so I can get a roof on this thing before it gets much colder!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

halloween decorations

Not a lot of decorations, but three pumpkins, a spooky litte fence with little mini pumpkins, a goofy light up plastic pumpkin (thanks Tris' mom!), and a couple big inflatable pumpkins (one from a super after Halloween sale last year and one from craigslist a couple weeks ago). Oh, and a little 4 foot skeleton on the hickory tree (what, not another pumpkin?)

But the real point of this post is that it's lots of fun being on a busy road. Back at the townhouse we were tucked in our little corner and only the few folks on our little dead-end row of townhouses ever got to see our super-sweet Halloween set ups (like the castle photo below!).

But now, we get literally thousands of cars every day! Mark and I were actually getting the occassional honk or yell of approval as we were setting things up. It's great to know my "work" is appreciated! Haha!

Of course, moving in and taking care of some home improvements left us with a fairly minimalistic set up, I'm already scheming for next year. I'm hoping to have a couple of flying Axworthy ghosts, more pumpkins, a large graveyard set-up with a crank ghost in a mausoleum, and maybe even a gigantic spider attacking the house!

Of course, Halloween decorating is fun, but what really has me excited is Christmas! I've maybe doubled my count of lights since we moved (thanks to the healthy Indiana yard sale industry), so it should be a massive display worthy of those who travel down Union Valley Road.

Monday, October 20, 2008

indiana limestone

We've had some visitors lately - my mom and dad and Vicki and Ron (on back-to-back weekends, no less!) Plus Tris' Aunt Mellon and Cousin Colleen. So we've been doing some touring and doing our best to share what we know of our new Indiana home (ooh, look - there's the stadium! And we have two Bed Bath and Beyonds!). One of the things I attempted to describe was the significance of Indiana Limestone - specifically how it relates to Ellettsville, whos Welcome sign proclaims that they are the "Builders of American History."

The only things I could say were what I've kind of gleaned from talking with folks at work and what I've read in the paper - there's lots of quarries around, lots of IU's buildings are built out of limestone, and I think they repaired the Pentagon with limestone from Ellettsville after 9/11. Turns out I was mostly (vaguely) right. Read what I read at Wikipedia to find out more - there's actually some interesting stuff in there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

carport: part 2

I never get permits for any of my home improvement projects but after discovering that I could get some engineering consulting along with my little orange window sign, I decided to do it. Of course, the fact that I was planning on constructing a 32 x 20' building less then 40' from a main roadway made this seem like the kind of project I should let the County know about.

So not being a professional or having blueprints or real plans of any kind, I simply handed in a couple of my Google Sketch-Up printouts, a rough materials list, and a scrap of paper with a little drawing on it. That apparently was enough for them and they approved my application. When I picked up the permit down at the Courthouse (and handed over $80 of my hard-earned money), I made an appointment for a consultation. And that brings us up to today.

I had a great conversation with an older guy, Bill, who looked at a couple of my drawings. He was really cool and took the time to understand my ideas as if he was actually enjoying looking at them. As a matter of fact, everyone at the Courthouse has been this way on my couple of visits. So we went through, step by step, and talked about the depth of my footers, the size and spacing of roof beams, how I should create windbreaks to prevent updrafts, and lots of other things.

Bill could have blown me off and stuck to a hard line of "we can't help you design it for liability reasons" but he didn't. We spent about 40 minutes together - me the novice do-it-yourselfer and he the experienced public servant and engineer. I've never had such a pleasant experience interacting with government.

But anyway, now I am fully armed with confidence that I can accomplish this project. I think I might be able to get started next weekend - should be fun!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

dining room / extra room project: part 4

The project is long-done, but here's a late photo update!