That’s just an expression, of course. If the wallpaper shows a problem then you know you HAVE a problem but, if you don’t peel it back, everything looks normal for awhile longer. But, well, as my daughter is visiting and she wanted to help, and so I peeled back the deck. I shouldn’t have.
Peeling back the deck means, in fact, lifting boards. Deck boards. When you lift deck boards, deck joists are revealed and, when the joists are revealed so are the main structural beams. The reveal was not pretty. We live in a rain forest. I should have known better.
Plus I upset a lot of bugs.
Anyway, long story short, my son-in-law and I went to the local building supply and bought $500 worth of treated lumber, put it into his nice, big Ford pick-up (large enough to live in), drove down the logging road (irony) and loaded up the boat. Then we came home at low tide but later in the day, when the tide had come up, I unloaded it onto the funicular and lifted it all up to the house deck.
The next day we got at it. “Dad. You should see this!” “Oh. That’s not good. We are gonna have to take all that out.” Dad! You should now see this!” “Oh, that’s even worse. It all has to come out. At least the post looks good.” “Dad! The post just split in two. It’s rotten, too!” “Well, good thing I have an extra post or two, eh?” “Dad! You said we just had to replace a few deck boards!”
Maintenance is a crap-shoot. Sometimes it just needs a squirt of oil, sometimes it needs $500.00 worth of lumber and sometimes you just advertise a fixer-upper for sale.
When Sal and I built this house, we started out knowing nothing except that we needed to get into a liveable home as soon as possible. We managed to do it in 18 months but it took another 18 months to make it comfortable and another two years to ‘make it a home’. Five years from start-to-finish was a local record. We know some folks forty years later still walking on bare plywood floors in a bare plywood room.
But, that works, too.
When we were building, I would say to Sal, “Don’t worry about that gap you see, no one will see it. We live remote. Who’s gonna see? And, anyway, we are only building to the 30-year rule”. Sal asked what the 30 year rule was. “Just simple math. I’ll be dead in 30 years. You’ll get life insurance and can fix it all back up!”
That was the plan. That plan is now almost 20 years old.
Let me do the math for you…..we are 2/3’s of the way into the 30 year rule. That means the deck was 2/3 rotten (hadn’t factored that in). To be fair to us, our deck was only half rotten but, well, you know….do you really want to measure the rot and then try fixing it when it all goes to hell when you are 84?
The 30 year rule has some flaws.
So did our building skills.
Still, this, too, got done. Daughter was a huge help. The others? Well, you know……’other things to do’ and ‘Geez, I gotta get this done right now. I’ll help later.’ That kind of thing. Are they bad? No. It all started started out as replacing a few deck boards. And maintenance is a crap shoot. And then we discovered crap. No one plans for crap!
But crap happens when you peel back the facade.