Deconstructing Eden

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Fyfe Summer Project has begun!

We thought about it.

We procrastinated.

We made plans.

We got thinking a bit more and weathered one more winter and finally we started.

We are making some big, fun changes. Changes that will, hopefully, open up more outdoor living space and create an engaging, relaxing, serene environment where we will want to spend mornings with coffee or watch the colors of the sky as the sun sets, martinis in-hand.

Changes that will eliminate this.

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2014. Another winter where I bonded with the shovel.

Every winter I have posted pathetic pictures of my woe-is-me moments where the snow from the roof has landed on the deck. The deck I had likely just shoveled the day/night before (and posted pictures of.)

The snow from the deck would encroach on the hot tub as well as the lower windows of our glass solarium into our kitchen.

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A couple of hours later.

We removed the railings from the deck a few years ago because it was difficult for little Me to heave the heavy shovel loads overtop. But then I faced the probem where I truly would run out of places to put said snow.

Until hubby would return to Montana to move the snow big-boy style.

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Big Boy Snow Removal System

And the cycle would repeat itself.

Over and over again.

And, yes, we have a walking snow-blower, which is great for the lower decks but little Me was never able to get its heavy ass up to this deck on my own.

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2013. Same deal.

And my friends would chuckle and laugh or maybe they would shake their heads wondering just how many times I would post these pictures and lament over the task at hand.

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The “after” pic back then.

We aren’t deconstructing Eden because of the snow load, however. It is more about what the repeated dumpings have done to the deck.

Our friend, who had this home built several years ago swore up & down that the deck was designed for western Montana snowfall when we first mentioned the sagging areas and boards pulling away from the walls.

That the enormous deck was an entertainment living space that highlighted the back of the house and should survive any test of time.

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UB helping Daddy as we got going a few days ago.

It turns out our friend was misled.

And he likely paid a whole bunch of money to be misled.

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That doesn’t look right…

Once a few deck planks came up it was revealed why things had sagged.

We found one beam.

One.

Supporting that entire deck, this one, hapless, cracked beam.

And the beam didn’t run the length of this portion of the deck.

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What happens when a beam breaks.

While a deck this size should have had a dozen cement slabs with support beams, this uncovered area only had 4. And its pretty clear they weren’t being used.

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The 2 other cement slabs with their support posts clearly not doing their job!

The support stands were just laying there. No Rebar, no brackets, no beams, nothing.

We began finding more and more evidence of incredibly shoddy and dangerous workmanship.

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No support from below leads to this kind of mess.

Even at the ends of the deck things were mostly supported from above, which makes no sense unless the workers were in an absolute rush. Or they were stupid. Maybe both.

Its the most Mickey Mouse way of doing construction you can imagine.

As if the contractor said, “hey, Crew, lets do the shittiest job we can on this!”

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The Cement forms.

The 4 cement forms (which weren’t being used) were not thick enough to provide the right amount of support. And 2 of them were mostly rocks, making the actual cement base less than a centimeter in some parts!

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Rocks throughout.

That particular form fell apart in my hands.

Jockey, UB and Cleo watched and played as Daddy and I worked. Alistair did the lion’s share of manly, heavy, crow-bar type of work and I carted wood or stabilized shaky railings. At one point I lifted an entire beam off the deck it was “attached” to.

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Jockey. Helping.

And I took the occasional break to see how the rest of Eden was doing while letting Loki out for Walks with Step Gammy.

The flowers are lovely. We have never had a lilac bloom outside of our bedroom bathroom like we are having this year. The entire house smells of lilacs when the windows are open and it is heavenly.

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ahhhhhhh…. (if you like lilacs)

Our new hanging plants are so pretty (thank-you, Alistair!) and the bushes that have survived my shoving loads of snow on top of them over several years are blooming.

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Hello, pretty thing!

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Why haven’t we had these before? They’re lovely!

And then we were back to cracking jokes in UB’s voice about the deck and pulling and pushing and crow-barring and heaving and hauling, shaking our heads and wondering what the contractors were thinking and reverse drilling while doing the Michael Westin thing from Burn Notice at the beginning of every episode but changing it up to suit the moment:

“My name is UB Fyfe. I used to be a Deck Deconstruction expert.” (Jut your lower jaw out and lower your voice and you’ve nailed it.)

And just like that (well, it was several hours and a lot of glasses of water), that side of the deck is gone.

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Almost all gone at this point. Watch that kitchen door… first step is a doozy!

And most of the wood is gone! A happy local family who used to bring me all of their wonderful pets over the years hauled most of it off this afternoon. I posted it free, to a good home last night and got a ton of hits! Who knew?

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The decking… all gone!

We will hopefully begin Reconstruction this summer, at least putting in some stairs. We have plans for an outdoor living space but we aren’t sure how far we’ll get this season. We might have to see how easy it is to remove snow with the tractor and snowblower first.

We also have the other side of the deck to tackle but that, too, might take another season.

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Gee, I wonder what we’ll find underneath that sagging portion?

So if your plans for the summer included a visit to Fyfe Land, you might be put to work. Or you might not. The hot tub and tiki torches may be as far as we get.

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I won’t  miss this…

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I have  missed this, however. Good old Casey watching Mummy shovel the decks from behind a snowpile (2014)

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Loki helping me inspect the flowers yesterday.

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R.E. Phase I is complete.

6 thoughts on “Deconstructing Eden

  1. As always I enjoyed the read. That is a lot of work for 2 people but you guys did a great job. That kitchen with all its windows is my favorite part of your home. It is always so bright and happy. Hugs Now off to the hot tub and a glass of wine for you.

  2. Kathy

    My gosh what a load off your mind ! All that shoveling gone! Think long and hard before replacing it ! Silly they wouldn’t plan better put a deck where roof doesn’t slide… Love that you guys did the work. What a duo! Bet that family will make good use of boards. Your flowers and yard beautiful! Enjoy it all and keep sharing.You have a way with words, a great sense of humor and an exciting life.

    • We definitely won’t replace the deck… thinking more along the lines of a patio area with things we can remove for winter. It actually was kind of fun- we had the Hawaiian music channel cranked up in the living room & windows open so there was some Aloha to it all! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Kathy!

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