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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 - Comments (16) in House, Life, Projects

When we were shopping for a house two winters ago I had a list of things I was looking for. There were some deal-breakers that I absolutely had to have like a flat driveway and two car garage, and some would-like-to-haves like a basement you can do more than just store stuff in and a shed. The shed was just about the only thing I didn't get when we bought our house, and I finally got around to building one this past week with the help of my parents.

I shopped around for a while before deciding on a specific shed. I looked into having the Amish build it on their end and deliver it, but for a 10'x10' it would've cost around $2300 not including delivery at around $2.50/mile. The other option I didn't go for was a guy in LeRoy (ShedGuy) who will come out and build a custom shed onsite including leveling. The ShedGuy wanted about $1700 for his services on a 10'x10', so I ended up buying a 10'x12' kit from 84Lumber that was 'precut' which included everything from a floor to roof shingles for $500+ cheaper.

Little did I know that 'precut' meant just the trusses were cut and assembled, everything else I had to measure and cut. It's a good thing my dad brought his circular saw because I didn't have one and without it we would've been dead in the water. We still ended up having to borrow some tools from friends and neighbors to get the job done.

The place I wanted it build it in the yard was relatively level to begin with, but there was a tree by the back corner, so we had to do a little leveling. I bought some small cinder blocks (16"x8"x1") and a bunch of crushed stone to use under the pressure-treated wood in contact with the ground, hopefully that'll keep it from rotting too soon.

shed 1

shed trusses

Once we got the ground level we were able to put up the pre-made trusses to form the general skeleton. Then came the most time consuming task: laying the floor. It took all day, from 9-4, to get the floor cut and placed. I had to ask my neighbor Steve for a sabre saw to enable us to cut notches in the floor boards to lock the trusses in place.

shed floor notches

Since the shed is 10'x12' and the flooring came in 4'x8' sheets we ended up having to rip one of the floor boards in half to fit down the middle. It was incredibly difficult to do this by hand with a circular saw so there was no gaps in the middle of the floor. It's one thing to make a straight cut a few inches long by hand with a power saw, but making an 8' cut was practically impossible. We did a good job, but it's not perfect. Once the floor was in we put up the side walls to steady the trusses and then framed out, cut and installed the siding for the front and back walls.

shed walls

Next came the roof sheathing, which was a bit of a puzzle because we had to figure out which pieces in which order to put up so we could screw them down from a ladder. If we didn't pay attention and did it out of order (which they didn't tell us) we would have had to get on the roof to screw them in which wouldn't have been secure enough to hold our weight.

shed roofing

The second longest part was shingling the roof. It took probably 4 or 5 hours to nail all of the shingles. The plans called for laying shingles right to the edge of the front and back of the roof, but we wanted a bit of an overhang to keep rain from dripping off the roof onto the top of the trim so we ended up having to cut a bunch of shingles which took even longer. I'm really glad I now know how to shingle a roof and have done it, but I'm even more glad that I don't have to do it again. Then the doors were hung, then taken down and hung again correctly. It was a bit tricky getting all the grooves in the siding to line up correctly when you're cutting them from different pieces of wood in different orientations; I think we did a good job though.

shed doors

Finally it took an entire day to cut and mount all the trim for the whole shed.

shed trim

Sure it doesn't sound that bad listed out in a few sentences, but it took 6 full days outside in high 80° weather. Even after the fact it sounds like it took way longer than it should have, but they only give you exactly the right amount of wood, if you cut something too short, you're screwed. So we had to double and triple measure everything and cut very precisely. I'm going to need a vacation just to get over this vacation.

Amazingly there was only 1 incident of blood-shed (pun intended) the entire time, not including some massive splinters. When my dad was putting a piece of trim on the front, the screw he was driving tipped off the end of the driver sending the phillips-head bit right through the edge of his thumb. After we bandaged him up, we just continued using the driver with the thumb meat stuck in the bit. By the end of the day it looked like a little piece of beef jerky.

finger meat


People Love Free Stuff

Thursday, July 10th, 2008 - Comments (0) in Computers, Email, Life

Yesterday Rachelle put a bunch of stuff on Craigslist in the free section because we really just wanted to get rid of it fast. She listed one of those low-profile dual blade window fans, an old busted laptop (that was ancient when she got it like 6 years ago), some zip drives and something else I can't remember.

People go crazy for anything free! Within about 30 seconds of the fan post getting listed on the site she had about 10 people asking for the fan. It probably helped that it was about 90° outside. I love when people include their sob stories in their CL emails:

"Help, I really need this X for my Y, if I don't get it my husband/wife is going to Z!!!!11!."

One woman felt the need to tell us that she, her husband and her cat were melting and really needed the fan.

The laptop got a bunch of interest too. It didn't exactly work, when you hit the power button it would let out a beep code and blink all its lights at you. But someone could've fixed it or used it for parts. Since it was going to be free I took the hard drive out because Rachelle had used it for a couple years when we lived on Rosedale and who knows what was on it. Our old puppy Miles chewed on the power cord (or course!) so I had to solder the connector back on and tape it up. It was looking really frowzy. The laptop was gone in about an hour. I still don't know the name of the kid that took it though, he didn't say in the email to me, he didn't say when I talked to him on the phone (even after I introduced myself) and he didn't say in person when he picked it up. Strange.

Speaking of staying somewhat anonymous, one of the people who emailed about the fan simply said "If it's still available please call me: 867-5309". At that point the fan was already gone so I emailed back (like the nice guy I am) saying that it was gone already. But my email bounced back because the from and reply-to addresses in their email were <something> even though the email originated from a Frontiernet connection. At first I didn't understand this, but the only conclusion I've come up with is they don't want their real email address getting out and wanted to work over the phone. Pretty slick, but I like to operate the opposite way; I'd rather work over email and not talk to people on the phone.

Mr. Brownstone

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008 - Comments (1) in Books, Life

SlashA while ago I mentioned that I was reading Slash, the autobiography of Saul Hudson (aka Slash) from Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver, and I finally finished it.

The last hundred and fifty or so pages took me forever to get through since I wasn't anywhere near as interested in the recent part of Slash's life as I was in the late 80s and early 90s. I can remember being totally obsessed with GNR when I was in third grade just after Appetite for Destruction came out; I just couldn't get enough. Back then there just wasn't any information available on people you wanted to know about. You had to read magazine interviews and watch little bits on MTV in between the videos (yes, back when they actually played music videos for hours at a time). Now with Wikipedia you can find out anything you want instantly. The kids these days have no idea how good they have it! So this book filled in that section of my brain that wanted information on GNR so many years ago.

It was nice to finally read an official record of what happened to GNR. There have been countless stories online, in magazines and in unauthorized biographies that either speculated or just elaborated on third-party accounts of what happened. I can remember hearing stories of Axl Rose displaying very strange behavior: diving off the stage onto some guy in the audience, consistently starting shows hours late and all sorts of other shenanigans. I was a big fan of Metallica in the earlier 90s back when their black album came out around the same time as the Use your Illusion albums. I remember seeing a bit on MTV News about James Hetfield getting burned by some pyrotechnics on their tour with GNR. Guns had the chance to save the day by going on early, but they ended up going on late and cutting their show short because of Axl. Needless to say a rather large riot ensued. It was neat to read about that whole event and others from a different point of view.

I always wondered by Axl was able to keep the name Guns N' Roses and put it to no use whatsoever when multiple ex-GNR members were in a different band with a different name. That question was also answered: Axl had legal contracts written up and signed by the other members of GNR that gave him unconditional rights to the name. <sarcasm>It's nice to see he's doing something cool with that name.</sarcasm>

Oh yeah, he also tells the story of how and where he got the top hat that has become as much a part of his persona as his moniker.