Monday, June 15, 2020

Staycation Night Away

Jimmy took on full kid duty for most of our vacation.  I decided to give him some much needed time alone.  My mom had been out of town on business and my nephew was staying at him mom's, so my parents house was pretty empty.  I packed up the kids Saturday afternoon and headed out there to spend the night.  We got to do all of favorite country activities and some new ones.  Freezies and twister rides are a must!
We brought Parker's 4-wheeler and he was really able to expand his comfort zone.  We figured out that he loves following the Twister, so we took him through the trees and in to some of the taller grass.
The hot tub is a must when visiting the country too.  This will probably be the last time we get to use it for a while because my dad is going to be replacing his deck boards as well.
We took one last Twister ride and visited the cows before taking our annual tree pictures.
We took them a week earlier than normal since we won't be able to see them for a couple weeks after my mom get back home.

Esme's Tree Pictures: 2016 and 2017
2018 and 2019
Parker's Tree Pictures: 2012 and 2013
2014 and 2015
2016 and 2017
2018 and 2019
Esme crashed back at home just before dinner.  She needed the rest for our return to reality today.  Jimmy and I were back at work and Esme returned to daycare for the first time in 2.5 months.  Her and Parker are in desperate need of some time apart and it will be much easier for me to work with just Parker at home.

We have another week off scheduled for the end of August.  I may decide to save some vacation and work, but we will see how the rest of the summer pans out.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Staycation Project: Fence Conversion

We have been thinking about converting our chainlink fence to a privacy fence for a while.  There were a lot of trees and bushes growing in it which were very annoying and required continual trimming.  I was hoping to find a way to utilize the existing posts so I wouldn't have to remove them and install new ones.  After a lot of research and a couple different plans, I found these brackets.  They fit around standard 2-3/8" chain link terminal posts to adapt them for wood.  All we needed for this project was the brackets, 6' terminal posts, 10' treated 2 x 4s, 6' dog-ear fence pickets, and screws.
By Thursday, the weather has turned much more temperWe started with the north fence since it was a shorter run.  Our goal was to work out the kinks in the first 40', making the 70' run quicker.  We knew the growth in to the fence would be a pain, but my dad did a great job cutting it out with the chainsaw.
The post brackets worked perfecting and we had the first run of 2 x 4s installed by lunch time.
The ground is very uneven, so using individual pickets was the best option, but also involved a lot of drilling and screwing.  Each picket required 6 screws and we probably used a little over 220 for the whole project.  We had to trim some of them at first to get over the stumps.  We started planning for the changes in elevation on were able to proceed without cutting.  That really increased the speed with which we could install.

We finished this section by about 5:30.  My dad celebrated with a Strongbow cider and Jimmy and I split meatloaf from Cheesecake Factory.
We started on the east side early Friday morning.  There were some smaller trees to cut out and a little jog in the corner to work around.  We finished 50' more before calling it quits on Friday.  Just 20' to go.

The final section had a tricky tree to remove because there is a small wood retaining wall on our side of the fence.  We were able to dig down a little to cut it out and finish.

The final screw went in at 11:32 AM on Saturday.  I put in somewhere around 2500 screws (that were all pre-drilled) this week.  The hands and arms are killing me, but the final results are well worth it.  Both neighbors are really pleased with the results too.  Now I need a vacation from the vacation...

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Staycation Family Time

Tuesday and Wednesday were supposed to be stormy and rainy, so we didn't have too much planned.  I made some pulled pork and we got to sleep in.  Both were divine!
Lucky for us, it wasn't as wet as forecasted and were were able to get out and play a little.  We took a 4-wheeler walk to the park where Esme picked the most beautiful clover bouquet for me.
We have a friend from church making masks for kids who don't have access to them.  She dropped a couple off for us to test the size and fit on.  Both kids thought they were fun to wear.  We haven't taken them anywhere that has needed one yet, but it will be nice to have them for their dentist appointments coming up.  Let's hope they still think it's fun.
Parker also lost his sixth tooth.  That will have to be enough relaxing, we have a fence to put up.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Staycation Project: New Deck Boards

We've known our deck boards would need replacing sooner than later since we moved in.  Many of them were rotting away and the nail heads were continually popping up.  I replaced a particularly bad board last year, but it became clear it was time to do them all this spring.  The kids took one last swim on Saturday, then I took the pool down to start demo.
I started demo on Sunday morning and it was a pain in the butt!  Every spot had at least two nails since the original ones had failed.  The angled pattern was also good in theory, but caused a lot of issues.  I was also removing the nails from the boards as I went which took longer.
I met my dad at Menards Sunday evening to pick up all the supplies we needed for this week's projects.  Both Jimmy and I have the whole week off, which is much needed.  I didn't take vacation at the end of March since our Mexico trip was cancelled and I was starting to get burned out.  I finished demo Monday morning just as my dad backed in with the wood.  This was the hottest day of the week and was going to be mid-90s by the afternoon, so we got started as early as we could.
My dad was the cut man and I was measuring, drilling, and screwing.  We borrowed some amazing cordless drills from my brother and that really sped up the process.  I decided to secure each end of the boards first, then do more as time permitted.  This was our progress by 9:40 am.
We switched to a standard straight layout which made for pretty simple installation.  There was just one area to notch, which we were able to do with a jigsaw and circular saw.
We made it to the half way point just before 1:00 and took a break for lunch.  I think I pushed a little too hard and also drank too much water and was not feeling well.
I ended up vomiting, but felt a lot better after.  Jimmy was concerned that I may have mild heat sickness, so I agreed to take it much easier in the afternoon.  We took a lot more breaks and I made sure not to drink too much water, but also stay hydrated.
Progress by 3:30.  Starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Jimmy was on kid duty all week and I was so appreciative of that!  He set up the slip 'n slide for the kids since the pool wasn't up.  Parker started to get the concept a bit and even Jimmy took a couple turns.
We had to rip down the last row of boards and had them done just before 6:00.  We were both exhausted.
I still had a lot more screws to put in and finished them as the week went on.  Esme even helped out a bit!  We are really going to enjoy our new deck this summer and for years to come.