Weekend Work

And what a weekend it was! My family - at least, my parents and two of my siblings - visited for the weekend, and I took advantage of their offer of help. Here are a few of the many things we accomplished:

The Playhouse

This is probably the biggest thing overall that was accomplished. Dad took the lead in this project, since he's the best at carpentry. I had previously purchased all the lumber we needed, and had assembled the basic supports. We cut all the cross boards, and set them in place; it turned out that I was three boards short in my calculations, so I had to go back for more lumber, but it all worked out. And look at how well it turned out!
So beautiful! So even! So much work!
Not pictured: things that haven't been build, like railings.
In the picture above, you can see the fourth leg (the one nearest the tree) looks a bit odd. The reason is because it's resting inside a pipe, which in turn is held up by two feet of cement and a tree. It's enough to hold up a deck, but I'm going to add a bit more support before I let the kids play up there. Still, it's enough to hold four full-grown adults, so I'm not expecting this playhouse to feel flimsy at all.
Crotchety, yet supportive.

Also, there will be a board in the crotch of the tree (pictured right) holding some of the load. Between the two, it'll be plenty steady. I'm also going to add stabilizing struts to all the posts, to reduce wobble, and an outlying support that will hold a swing, or some other sort of climbing/swinging playground equipment.

And while we're on the topic of playground equipment, this playhouse will be awesome. We're planning on adding a rock climbing wall, a slide, a climbing rope, a fireman's pole, and who knows what else.
I have yet to find a good place to hang our new tire swing, donated by our ex-landlords. There are a few good branches out there, but most of them are too tall. I'll probably end up hanging it between the playhouse and a secondary support. 
Looks like that rope is tired.


I don't have any pictures, but we also worked on quite a bit of plumbing. The pipes under the house are now wrapped in warm, snuggly plastic, so they should be able to withstand the next cold snap. It was so cold a couple weeks ago, our hot water pipes froze entirely; there wasn't a drop of hot water in the house. My guess is that while the cold water was used fairly regularly (to fill toilets, washing machines, and drinking cups), the hot water was only used upon occasion, and the water in the pipes had enough time to freeze. Needless to say, climbing around under the house with a heat gun while it was 15 degrees F was not much fun; this week, it was 70 degrees out, and was much more tolerable.

And, as long as we were under the house fixing pipes, we also fixed a leaking sewage pipe. Yuck. It was only from the kitchen sink, not from a toilet, but it was still gross. I'm very pleased with my brother Andrew for fixing that for me. He was the only one small enough to fit into the tiny space.

My other brother, Chris, replaced the innards of our toilet, which fixed two problems: first, it used to take between 10 minutes and half an hour for the toilet to realize the water level was low and refill it, and second, the old mechanism would make a horrible thump-thump-thump when it stopped, shaking the pipes and generally annoying me. Now, we have neither problem. Yay! One more thing off the list!

Other Stuff

And that's not all! We also managed to patch a hole in the ceiling - the hole was created by a misplaced teenager foot, but widened by gravity. The sheetrock was poorly affixed, which resulted in a cave-in while we were away for Christmas. We patched it with a bit of cardboard and a lot of other junk piled on top - now, at least, it won't be letting in cold air. I hope to have it fully patched by summertime, so it won't be letting out cold air...

I did a bit of investigating, too; we've had raccoons taking up residence around, under, and over our home, which is quite a nuisance. I think I found a favorite entrance hole, though, and in upcoming weeks I'm going to try to fill it all in. The eventual goal, of course, is to completely insulate and enclose the underside of the house, leaving drafts and moisture outside. I've got a ways to go with that, though. I'll need to stop any leaks, first. But, I now have a better idea how to do that, and I'm working on a game plan.

We finally installed the handle on the person gate; I'd purchased it way back in October, but just didn't get around to installing it until now. Nonetheless, it is now fully functional; if you want to go into the front yard from the back yard, you can now pull the gate towards yourself with a handle, rather than trying to yank on the thin gap between fence boards.

We also got some of the window trim up, on the side of the house where we replaced the siding; I didn't caulk or paint it, since it was supposed to rain, but that's something that will need to happen in the near future.

There were a lot of other little things that happened, too, but that's the gist of it. A good time was had by all!

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