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Almost too Old for heavy house work

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  • Almost too Old for heavy house work

    Last week, I spent most of the week at my daughter's house in Ozark, MO (10 miles from Springfield) putting up approximately 70 ft of privacy fence for my daughter. She has privacy fence around three sides but chain link to the house from both sides. With 3 large dogs, they bark when anyone walks on the sidewalk, so my daughter wanted to make the whole back yard to be privacy. She asked if I could do it if she bought the panels, posts, gate, cement, etc. She also rented a gas powered auger. I looked forward to the challenge.

    I almost bit off more than I could chew. Concerning the work - I found out quickly that a single person auger does not like rocks and there were rocks galore double fist size. I had taken my hand post hole digger. I would run the auger 1 minute and stop for two or three minutes to remove rocks with my manual post hole digger. 5 panels and 7 posts (adding the gate at the right place.) The second side was even worse. The Gas powered auger doesn't like roots either and two trees almost in line with the fence line. I ended up doing something that does not match any code, if there were one. I attached the panels (4) to the chain link fence with some chain link to fence panel brackets.

    Being 74, that was hard; I lost 7 pounds in 4 days of work, numerous leg cramps at night, drank tons of water during the day. But one good thing came out of it was that I got more motion out of my left knee that I haven't had in the last 3 or 4 years. (I had major surgery on it in the early '80s before orthoscopic surgery came along, and now arthritis has taken over it.) I guess I just need to exercise more and push the limits. I found myself walking down steps normally after all of that workout.


    I did have some other frustrating moments, and so did my daughter. I arrived Tuesday evening and she had stayed home that day to receive ten 6ft by 8ft panels plus 14 bags of cement, about 12 4x4 posts 8 ft long, and some 2x4s. They didn't arrive Tuesday. We went to the local Lowes at 8:30 PM to find out why. We got the answer that "They ran out of time to deliver it but it would be out first thing the next day". I went to pick up the auger at the rental place and stopped by Lowes on the way back at 8:30 AM. They had just called my daughter and said they were out of the panels. My daughter gave them "what for" and said she paid for them 2 weeks earlier, so they should have had them. I got there and gave them "what for" also and made a scene. Never used profanity but let them know that if the Police chief or Mayor had ordered and paid in advance, they would have gone 50 miles to another store to make sure it was delivered on time, and I expected the same for my daughter! I also confronted them for lying. I told them that they knew the night before that they didn't have it and that was why they didn't deliver it. They were not expecting me to confront them for lying.

    I also told them that I was going to be like their shadow, they were not going anywhere without me following them. I wanted those panels. I had driven 320 miles, taken 4 days vacation and I was expecting them to install the fence if they didn't deliver that day.

    We had the panels, posts, 2x4s, 4x4s and cement by lunch, but it cost me half a day. OH and they did charge her a $20 delivery fee when she ordered, but I got them to drop that after they messed up. They didn't give her the exact panels that she had ordered, but gave her one grade up in expense.

    Got the job done though! OH, I installed a doggy door for her dogs. They took to it like a duck to water. They learned immediately and come and go as needed.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

  • #2
    You're such a good dad.
    The best I might do for my daughter on that kind of job is suggest she hire someone..., like I would for myself.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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    • #3
      Being a good dad is alot of work. Well done.
      Chr's
      __________
      An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
      A moral man does it.

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      • #4
        Well done indeed... what a great father you are. (I think I too would help my son pick out a local guy to do such a job though.)

        Years ago when my son bought his first house in Oneonta, NY he wanted a privacy fence put up around his property, which was located on a busy street. Oneonta is a small college town, and the traffic from the students is sometimes a bit nuts. So the choice of help was either his Father-in-Law or me, and we lived in Painted Post at the time. I told him I'd gladly come down for a few days, but he said that his FIL was a lot closer and "knows all about fencing". So he came down, dug a few holes (not nearly deep enough) and poured dry concrete into the holes and wet it down with the garden hose. Looked a bit crooked when I saw it that Thanksgiving, but I kept my opinion to myself. The following summer they had a thunderstorm and most of it fell over. He then hired a local contractor who gave him a good deal.

        I kniow what you mean about digging holes with an an auger. When I built my deck thirty years ago, I rented one (the kind where the auger motor is mounted on wheels and the auger is at the end of an arm.) Let me tell you, that thing barely scratched the hard clay and rock of what represents the soil of Painted Post. I rented it on a long Labor Day weekend and got next to nothing accoumplished with it. The auger would maybe bore a few inches and lock-up on a rock. I'd have to pull the pins from the auger shaft and then back the screw out by hand, and pull it from the hole; then use a digging bare to pull the rock, re-hook the auger and proceed another few inches before it hang up again.

        At one point my wife came out with the written guide that I had gotten from the local supply company where I bought the treated lumber. "How to build a deck".... first paragraph, "First figure the number of posts you are going to need to support your deck plan and then dig the holes."

        "Hey", she said, "I thought this was going to be easy, just dig a few holes.... and here you are three days and you only have two posts in, I think we should call someone" We decided to take the rental back at that point. Other than the two posts, I had accomplished a really sore back and a trip to the chiropractor! Fourteen posts in total , I dug the rest on my knees with a digging bar and scooped the loosend soil and rock out by hand.

        So Lee, I salute your work and certainly your ambition.


        CWS



        Think it Through Before You Do!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cwsmith View Post

          I kniow what you mean about digging holes with an an auger. When I built my deck thirty years ago, I rented one (the kind where the auger motor is mounted on wheels and the auger is at the end of an arm.) Let me tell you, that thing barely scratched the hard clay and rock of what represents the soil of Painted Post. I rented it on a long Labor Day weekend and got next to nothing accoumplished with it. The auger would maybe bore a few inches and lock-up on a rock. I'd have to pull the pins from the auger shaft and then back the screw out by hand, and pull it from the hole; then use a digging bare to pull the rock, re-hook the auger and proceed another few inches before it hang up again.

          At one point my wife came out with the written guide that I had gotten from the local supply company where I bought the treated lumber. "How to build a deck".... first paragraph, "First figure the number of posts you are going to need to support your deck plan and then dig the holes."

          "Hey", she said, "I thought this was going to be easy, just dig a few holes.... and here you are three days and you only have two posts in, I think we should call someone" We decided to take the rental back at that point. Other than the two posts, I had accomplished a really sore back and a trip to the chiropractor! Fourteen posts in total , I dug the rest on my knees with a digging bar and scooped the loosend soil and rock out by hand.

          So Lee, I salute your work and certainly your ambition.

          CWS
          I haven't put up a fence since shortly after we got married and then got a great dane puppy. In the MS Delta digging with an auger is easy - with the land being sandy loam and some wet clay, but in MO, it was dirt and rocks, dirt and rocks. I enjoy the challenge "mentally" but am realizing that the challenge is more physical, and I don't have what I used to have. The exercise has been good for me though. Still sore but it was worth it.

          I think I spent just as much time digging by hand tools as I did digging with the gas auger.

          Hank Lee

          Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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          • #6
            I helped my Dad build two decks, numerous patios, and turned over his compost piles at a couple houses when I was a teenager to the point where I think I've earned a PhD--doctorate in digology.

            When I lived in San Diego, my coworker's Dad asked for help in building a small deck at their new house. I just wanted to do it so I did it for free as long as they dug the holes and mixed the cement and placed the anchors where I told them. They only had to go to 18" but that soil did not look like fun to dig in.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by atgcpaul View Post
              I helped my Dad build two decks, numerous patios, and turned over his compost piles at a couple houses when I was a teenager to the point where I think I've earned a PhD--doctorate in digology.

              When I lived in San Diego, my coworker's Dad asked for help in building a small deck at their new house. I just wanted to do it so I did it for free as long as they dug the holes and mixed the cement and placed the anchors where I told them. They only had to go to 18" but that soil did not look like fun to dig in.
              That reminds me of two different things:

              1. When I was in Seminary in Ft. Worth Tx from '75-'80, we lived in a small apartment with 1 daughter and then daughter # 2 came along. We bought a small 3 bedroom house with window AC units. I priced central AC units including duct work. Back then it was about $3000. I discovered Sears had outside units, the freon pre-filled copper pipes and the inside condenser. I converted a small hall closet into the AC and plenum chamber and installed it myself. Duct work included. The only thing I had problems with was too many wires for the thermostat. Sears technician came out and had it going in 30 minutes. Total cost to me was just about $1000.

              As a seminary student, I worked at loading and unloading trucks the evening and night (Dallas Ft Worth area) at a truck terminal along with about 30 other students who were also part time workers, - and I mentioned the Central AC installation to several of them. One guy heard me and asked me a number of questions as he had a small 3 bedroom house near mine with window units and he would like to have central air also, particularly at the price I paid. I reminded him that the price saving was on someone else (me) doing the complete labor and installation. Then he went and ordered what he figured he needed - and came an asked me if I would help! I told him the physical work was on him. But I would tell him how to do it. I spent a few hours laying out what he needed to do, and in what order to do it. I think I did help him some with the electrical, particularly running a 220 wire through the attic to the unit and installing a 220 circuit breaker in an empty 220 slot. He got it working. I think I helped pour come concrete and level it to put the outside unit on.

              2. I have one grandson out of 8 that has that ability also. Maybe two grandsons. One is 16 years old and has remodeled several rooms in his mom & dad's house. A few different contractors have asked his mom and dad if he could work for them in the summers. He made just over $6000 last summer for 2 1/2 months work and is going to surpass that this year. He is a go-getter and has that ability and insight. Construction and electrical work is very intuitive to him and he is an all A student also. He is the youngest of 5 kids in his family.

              My youngest daughter has 5 kids also, 4 boys and 1 girl. The youngest is 5 and he has that ability to "see" things in construction, building, insight. For things he doesn't know, he knows there is something there causing it to work and it is fun to see his mind working, very intently.
              Last edited by leehljp; 07-24-2021, 09:20 PM.
              Hank Lee

              Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

              Comment


              • #8
                I don't know what it is, whether we are born with the intuition (I don't know what else to call it), or we are just attracted to 'skills' and anxious to learn. My first recollection of such skills was when I was a little guy and trying to figure out how to use some scrap wood my Dad had left over from the kitchen remodel. I was probably only eight or so. Didn't get that accoumplished but when I was ten we moved out to the country, with rolling hills and miles more forrests than housing. My parents had very few restrictions on my travel, and I spent far more time in 'the woods' than anything else; building lean-to's (sp?) and other shelters. Being the one and only son at the time, I was Dad's helper and I picked up plumbing (was soldering, cutting, and threading pipe when I was twelve as well as sheet metal work and a bit of carpentry. I broke a lot of rock and cleared a lot of trees in those days too.

                I loved to draw as a kid, and fortunately made that my career; and, with the skills I learned from my Dad, I knew about a good share of things and how they went together and came apart. (Essentials for being a technical illustrator.)

                As a kid, we built carts (we lived on a great hill), a log-cabine and other shelters, and even a couple of tree houses, and in my adult life everything from wiring a few houses, plumbing (which I absolutely hate), carpentry, drywall, deck building, fencing, painting, and general repair and remodel of all kinds of things. I loved building airplane models that would fly and radios with which I could 'tune in the world' (back in the days of 'Heathkit').

                I turned 77 today, and just a weej ago replaced a ten foot section of rail on my deck, painted the ceiling on the screened porch, and built a railing to my basement steps, all in one day! (not to mention the 150 miles on the road to get there and back. It wore me out, but I'm in the midst of selling that house and those were the last things on my list. Generally, I've rarely hired anyone to do work on our home, plumbing being the exception! But I'm now at that age when I have to give such exercises some thought. I spent last Thursday in the ER, with diverticulitis which wasn't very pleasant and I'm still feeling worn out from that.. My wife thinks that between the work and stress of selling the Painted Post house, that may have been a factor, but I don't know. IT is what it is I suppose, but I think when we get older we have to adapt.

                CWS
                Last edited by cwsmith; 07-25-2021, 12:47 PM.
                Think it Through Before You Do!

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                • d_meister
                  d_meister commented
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                  Hey! Happy Birthday!
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