Ninety-seven degrees yesterday. We go from January-in-June to too darned hot.
I reminded myself Joel had it worse. I could at least keep the inside temps down (and I see that as of today, Joel has some hope for that, too; yay, Joel). Not until after 8:00 last night did it cool to pleasantness. I hauled the computer outside and completed a long and overdue pair of emails to a friend. That felt good.
It was already 75 at 6:00 this morning, and 80 on our morning dog walk. But that’s where the day decided to settle. Low 80s with a slight breeze. Absolute summertime perfection.
It was cool enough that I went out and painted wood preservative on the cut ends and edges left from May’s portion of the Great Foundation and Screen Porch Project, then screwed steel tie plates down everywhere the new posts meet the new beams.
I’m counting on the tie plates for an extra boost of structural integrity in event of an earthquake.
Wood construction is earthquake friendly. Shake it and it sways. It can sway a long time and a long ways before it breaks. During the last notable quake I was in (Nisqually, 2001), the only local damage was to elderly concrete block foundations. The wooden deck and frame of my yurt creaked like a vintage sailing ship in a storm, but suffered no harm.
This house has a post-and-beam (aka block-and-beam) foundation, verboten under the current building code. But as long as it’s not rotting and collapsing into the mud, I’m happy with it. Still, far as I can tell nothing but gravity keeps the foundation beams resting on their posts. I’ve long wanted to affix tie plates. The Wandering Monk will crawl under the house to retrofit the rest of the foundation with plates later.
I’m hoping it’s not delusional to believe these plates will help, should we ever get The Big One. Worse come to worst, they’re an inexpensive, low-labor gamble. Can’t hurt.
So after finishing treatment and tie plates, I made myself a nice glass of iced tea, then went out onto the soon-to-be screen porch (currently subfloored and roofed, but not framed or screened) and relaxed on a bentwood rocker. I took Ava with me, attaching the handle of her long leash to a baker’s rack that’s going to live on the porch. For half an hour I wrote while she sat placidly, sniffing the air and watching the sights.
Strangers I meet often comment on what a good dog Ava is.
That’s because they don’t know her.
After a companionable idyll, Ava spotted something in the yard that I didn’t see until too late: a deer.
WHAM! Off she took at just under the speed of sound. Down — on me! — came the baker’s rack, everything that was on it, its two now-detached shelves, two jumbo ammo cans that had been sitting next to it, an end table, a box of crackers, and naturally my nearly full glass of ice tea. Which chose to fall on the notebook I was writing in. Off Ava and Bambi went, with a length of pink-and-orange leash flopping behind them.
So much for pastoral idylls.
At least Ava turned back before she and her leash tangled hopelessly in trees and brush. That’s something. And Bambi got away. Bambi always does, because Ava’s quick on the prey-drive trigger but not persistent. Once the deer was in the brush and headed back up the hill, Ava decided the lawn was entertaining enough. She was sniffing away at the grass and came willingly when I dug myself out from under the rubble and fetched her.
She’s always happy to come with me. ‘Cause Ava’s a good dog. Yeah.
Thanks to my friend in high finance and other friends of the blog, the money’s in the bank for the rest of the summer’s structural (and related) work. The Monk’s got small projects to finish for other clients, plus the Fourth of July to celebrate, so we’re scheduled to be back to serious work July 6.