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Construction matters

Whew. Another weekend away from the computer, working outdoors. After feeling like a vampire bat in a cave of gloom for nine months, it sure feels good to work in the sunshine. Or even in the slightly-less-wet gloom, which is what we had yesterday.

The Wandering Monk finished his part of the east wall project on Friday, then returned yesterday at no charge to remove the scaffolding and help with a few extra bits. Nice guy, that Monk.

Since then I’ve been painting trim.

There is a lot of trim on this house. It’s very good at covering old idiocies left behind by Jim Beam and Jack Daniel.

I’ll have more pix when I’m done painting.


‘Round 3:00 I knocked off for the day, then indulged in some Chinese take-out (mmmmm, mu shu chicken). That was nice until I cracked open the fortune cookie:

Good time? Back to work? I think not, Cookie People. In fact, I think no freakin’ way.


I was in and out of the lumber yard all weekend. And it was dead. Dead, dead, dead. I’ve never seen it so empty on a nice summer weekend.

Between Trump’s trade wars and last year’s wildfires, the price of building materials is is insane — between 30% and 100% more than it was just a couple of years ago, and it’s reached the point where people are deferring projects.

Their yard manager told me they’ve been doing a balancing act keeping inventory in — ordering enough to meet the low demand but trying to buy enough not to make the prices even worse than they are. A neighbor who works at the lumberyard said he couldn’t even think about home improvement this year, even though he and his wife are DIY devotees.

Fortunately my summer work is mostly labor-intensive and/or being done with leftover materials, but even minor stuff delivers jolts of sticker shock. Example: The 64 feet of 1 x 6 trim we’ll need for the next phase of the project will run in the vicinity of $175. Yikes. Scary. We’ve decided to scrounge the rest of the soffit boards from old sheets of T1-11 I had stashed in Neighbor J’s garage. Not pretty, but better than the alternative.

I’m glad this is almost over.

It’s only going to get worse now that Redding’s burning — though of course the cost of construction materials are the least of the problems for those poor folks.

Mr. Trump, you picked a hell of a time to make wood products even more expensive with your tariffs and trade wars.


  1. Shel
    Shel July 30, 2018 8:04 am

    While I have every respect for Walter Williams and his abhorrence of tariffs and their unintended consequences, I believe Trump is only doing this in response to the unfair trade practices of others. He has been remarkably consistent on the issue over the years.

    And he’s awfully astute. If anyone knows how to handle this situation, he’s it. While there necessarily will be inconveniences and even hardships to some individuals and industries, I don’t know any other way we could go about trying to get a reasonably fair deal as a nation.

    His foreign policy, interestingly, may not be too bad either.

    With all of it, of course, the question remains as to whether or not he can effectively be sabotaged by the mainstream media and others.

    And I continue to shake my head every time I think about what you have accomplished with Ye Olde Wreck.

  2. larryarnold
    larryarnold July 30, 2018 8:40 am

    The fortune I remember was when I broke open the cookie and there was no fortune inside. Shiver-time.

    Claire, of course the “old task” could have been the blogging you hadn’t been doing.

  3. Claire
    Claire July 30, 2018 10:03 am

    I’m glad you’re still with us, larryarnold … for the time being, at least. 😉

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