June 29, 2014

The Tiki bar deck project continues to see progress, but today was a day of one setback after another before we achieved a bit of a breakthrough towards the end. Allow me to explain. So Saturday was a good day, as my sister-in-law Tam and I worked our way through all the wood, getting it all stained and polyurethened. It was dog work to be sure, but by the end of Saturday the back yard was littered with weathered gray planks just waiting for Sunday and the next phase of screwing them into the frame just waiting for the reason for its existence.

Or so we thought.

My first attempt at screwing galvanized screws into the first 2 X 8 plank failed miserably – I might as well have been trying to screw into concrete. Not only did the screw go nowhere but I stripped the head as well. A quick consult with my neighbor John led him to let me borrow one of his drill / drivers with a lot more horsepower than my little Black & Decker. Still no luck – same thing, and I’ve kind wrecked the Phillips bit he gave me to try. Now Tam becomes convinced that even though the box of screws I’ve got is clearly labeled “Deck Screws” for all kinds of wood, I don’t have the right screws for the job. She suggests a trip to Lowe’s for a certain kind of screw that she says has always worked for her when she’s repaired sheet-rock during her previous excursions into the handyman specials she and her no-good husband used to rent in Florida. We’re clearly not getting anywhere here so I say OK and we do the trip to Lowe’s, returning with another kind of wood screw both she and the sales assistant assure me will work.

Fifteen minutes We’re back at the house and I give one of Tam’s screws a try. Same thing. We might as well be trying to screw into the Hoover Dam.

I walk across the blazing-hot street to return John’s drill / driver to him and announce to him my intention to use galvanized nails instead. Not my first choice, for sure, but were not building the Eiffel Tower here, and nails ought to do just as well. He agrees, “Screws can be a real pain in the ass sometimes, and it’s not like you’ve got a huge and complicated project there.”

I walk back across the street and try one of the galvanized nails I used to put the frame together. It gies about a quarter way’s trough and stops dead in its tracks. And it’s going nowhere after that. After it starts bending, I yank it out and announce that I’m heading back to Lowe’s, but this time with an intention of never stepping foot in the place again. I’m doing some lawn repair so while there I pick up some topsoil and some more grass seeed. Our new rabbit Mr. Honeybun has destroyed all the towels and blankets we laid down when he first arrived, so I picked up some area rugs. And, finally, it’s back to the hardware section for some big-ass nails. Surely these will do the damned trick.

Back at the house the heat is now pushing 105 and I grab the same trusty hammer I’ve had for twenty years and try one of those big-ass nails I just picked up. It goes about halfway in and then starts bending on me. I might as well have been attempting to nail through – yes – concrete. Now I’m totally pissed and hot with rage, and not even the grapefruit juice/club soda Tracey hands me can coll me down.

Tracey asks innocently, “This is wood, right?”.

I’m yanking on the nail to pull it out and when suddenly the hammer’s wooden handle breaks and I go flying. Tracey heads inside.

I think once again of why I am doing this project to begin with – it’s all because of a %$#@! cat using my perfectly good sandbox as it’s own litter box. I’m not a happy camper at this point, but it’s now getting to late afternoon and I haven’t even gone to hit golf balls yet. I need a break, anyways, and right now the prospect of hitting a golf ball instead of a hammer sounds awfully good to me. But I know I have a big problem here, and I’m now questioning if and how this project is ever going to be done.

It’s back in the car again for the third time today with my clubs in the trunk, but golf is the furthest thing on my mind. I’m sitting at a stop light when all of a sudden a thought comes into my head. What would Bruce Willis and his team in the movie Armageddon would do, up on that doomsday meteor heading for earth? Why, they’d try another drill bit, right? Heck, desperate times call for desperate measures, so I make a stop at the Ace Hardware store on my way to Superstition Springs and pick up a drill bit kit and a new hammer. My thinking is, if I can drill a hole a little smaller than my deck screws or big-ass nails, I might be able to make their own travel to the netherworld of the frame a little easier. At this point, other than calling in a handyman to subcontractor to finish the job it’s the only choice I have.

[Break in the action]

Superstition Springs is empty and dusty. The thermometer reads 107, but there’s a bit of a breeze, and I’ve got the Gatorade Frosts lined up. I’ve got a large bucket, and I’ll admit, the first dozen balls reflect the anger and frustration I’m feeling to wards the deck, the pool vacumm issue I’ve been dealing with the past few days, and Mr. Honeybun who got loose last night and ate two more power cords – one to my external hard drive, the other to the AT&T modem for my office phone. I’ve instructed the twins to find a solution to Mr. Honeybun’s arrangements while I’m away since this particular form of bad behavior cannot go on much longer.

About halfway through the bucket I settle down and and start making some good swings. There’s no one on the putting green – actually, given the lack of traffic on the street it and being the only human being on the range it actually feels like I’m the only person alive on this earth right now. I start hitting 40-yard chips to the green and actually sink one. No one’s around as I celebrate with a few slugs of Gatorade. My short game continues to show progress and I’d love to stay out there but the heat is relentless, so after an hour and a half it’s time to call it a day before I melt into the earth…

[End of break in the action]

It’s nearly seven when I return to the house but it’s still broiling hot outside – 104. I’m not willing to use one of my good boards for a guinea pig, so I grab one of the extra pieces from the garage and grab my drill. I pick the smallest bit and give it a go. It goes through the 2 X 8 with nary a complaint. I grab the drill bit I’m hoping will actually serve my needs and I give that a try. Success! I take one of my deck screws and try drilling it into the same hole. No luck – the only bit I have has been virtually ruined from all the earlier attempts. I grab one of the big-ass nails and put it into the newly-drilled hole, then take my brand-spankin’ new hammer and give it a go. Success!

Now it’s time to try it with real deck wood on top of the real deck frame. I drill the hole, then pound the nail. I repeat the steps four more times down the line at every other frame juncture with sucess. It may not be professional-looking, but that first plank aint going nowhere.

So now I’ve got my marching orders for the next few days – a mix of drilling and nailing. Now that I know what I’m doing and how I’m going to do it, I’m hoping we’re back on track for a July 4 ribbon-cutting and champagne toast. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a brutal and bruising day.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:32 | Comments (6)
June 28, 2014

Our new rabbit Mr. Honeybun continues to raise quite a bit of havoc in his new surroundings. Last week he was rearranging all of our bills from last year; today he found the bag containing all of our credit card receipts and, when no one was looking, ate yet another phone system power cord. He’s a happy and energetic little bugger, but if he keeps this up we may have to invoke our Lois Lerner defense with the IRS.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:36 | Comment (1)
June 26, 2014

We enter the final stage of our Tiki bar sandbox / boardwalk renovation project, and I’m pleased to say things are right on schedule. Yesterday I finished trying to get the 2 X 4 frame flush with the patio and slightly lower than the brick surroundings. I succeeded in getting the frame nearly flush – or as flush as I could get it – with the patio, but couldn’t get the structure much lower than the bricks on the west (opposite) side. (In the end, after all is said and done, I think I might just rip up the surrounding bricks and re-mortar them after I’ve added a few inches of sand underneath to raise them above the deck, but that’s a consideration for another time.

After getting the frame laid exactly how I wanted it, I took the sand pile and shoveled in the areas between the frame and the brick, and around the Tiki bar frame so all the areas not covered by plank will have beach sand. Having the sand jammed in around the perimeter also serves as a great stabilizing force for the underlying frame.

In short, that sucka ain’t goin’ anywhere. 🙂

With the real heat scheduled to pour into the region next week we’ll be trying to get all the staining and weatherproofing of the planks completed this weekend. There’s a lot of wood, but with my sister-in-law Tam’s help I think we can do it. After that it’s just a matter of layin’ ’em down and screwing ’em to the frame. Throughout this effort Tam will be serving as my able-bodied assistant, providing not just another set of eyes and hands, but a continuous flow of club soda and grapefruit juice with a twist of lime.

The goal is to have everything ready by the 2nd of July, since I’m playing my next-to-last round of Arizona golf prior to Goodboys Invitational weekend on the 3rd, and then there’s the official ribbon-cutting and champagne toast ceremony scheduled for the 4th of July.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:46 | Comments Off on Framed
June 25, 2014

[Ed. note: since this year’s Goodboys Exec-Comm has been (for lack of a better term) a little late in revealing its plans for the 2014 Goodboys Invitational weekend, Goodboys Nation weblog sent a reporter (let’s call him “Woodward”) with serious connections in search of the truth (which, after all, is out there). In the spirit of “All The President’s Men” (yours truly’s all-time favorite flick), we have the scoop right here on Goodboys Nation weblog.]

What’s the topic for tonight?

This year’s Goodboys Invitational weekend.

You’ll get no information from me on that.

All I’m looking for is who the teams are and where we are going to play.

And you think I’m going to break trust and tell you what I know? You’ve got the wrong train, pal. Find another track.

But you do know, don’t you? And you could tell me, correct?

Well, the fact is that I do know, but if you know then you would know what I know and what I know you would then tell others what you know when right now the only one who knows is me and if you know what I know then what I know you would then know even though right now you can’t know because no one who knows has told what they know to you who doesn’t know.

[Crickets chirping]

The Goodboys universe has always been tight-lipped about these kinds of things. I was at a party once with Jay “Crusher” Spielberg – a two-time winner of the Goodboys Invitational, BTW – and he held his putter over an open flame for five minutes until the shaft melted into ooze. “The trick”, he said, “is not minding”.

Doesn’t surprise me, Ray Charles could putt better than Crusher on his best day. Look, I haven’t got time to play your chickenshit games! I need to know what you know.

[All of a sudden the haunting sound of someone whistling echoes through the parking garage. The sound slowly recedes into the deep flourescent night, leaving in its wake an eerie and unsettling silence, the humidity and stillness enveloping the two like a dead, wet sock-eyed salmon.]

Did you change cabs?

Yeah. Yeah!

[Lights a cigarette and exhales deeply.] Forget about aura the media has created around this Exec-Comm. Forget about the fact they’re the only team in the 23 years of Goodboys Invitationals to repeat as champions. The fact is, these aren’t a very bright bunch of guys, and things got out of hand.

Where are the Goodboys playing this year?

[Dramatic pause] Friday at Sagamore Hampton, Saturday at Wentworth-By-The-Sea, Sunday at Black Swan.

Sagamore Hampton? That’s one step above a muni track!

No it’s not, and you know it. You’ve been playing too many Arizona golf courses winding through “Pleasant Valley Sunday” subdivisions filled with too-fancy driving ranges and too-cute cart girls. The Goodboys played there in 2010. Shit, you were there, think you put up a big number. [Sighs wistfully.] Ah yes, the last year of the old guard, the last year of “Crusher” Spielberg and “Dandy” Drewett. Here, remember this?

…truly the end of an era. Anyways, the thought is to make the first day more enjoyable, as The Ledges has eaten too many people alive in the last few years. Hell, there’s nothing wrong with a little change – aren’t you guys thinking about ditching Vegas for South Beach and Doral next February?

My God, they’ve gotten to you too! So, who are the teams?

I think you can guess who the teams are from the way Exec-Comm has been using a NBA-style draft e-mail thread to…


[The parking garage is quiet except for the hum of air conditioning. Deep Throat stubs out his cigarette, exhales, and steps closer to Woodward.]

It was a “Possum” Shepter operation from the start. Everyone is involved, it goes all the way to the top. The thought was, Exec-Comm could make a little drinking money if they put the configuration of the teams out to the highest bidder, but then big money came in and blew the whole operation to shreds. Here are the teams:

“2 Times” Proctor – “Possum” Shepter
“The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis – “The Great White Shank” Richard
“Killer” Kowalski – “Cubby” Myerow
“Vegas” Clark – “Goose” Dwyer
“Skipper” Bornemann – “Doggy Duval” McLaughlin
“Deuce” Doucette – “Hulkigan” Tripp

…you’ll get nothing else from me, not even if you play Miley Cyrus tunes for the next twelve hours.

[Suddenly, there’s the sound of a car starting up and it tears out of the parking garage, its wheels squealing all the way like a two-year old needing to go potty. Woodward looks around, and Deep Throat has disappeared.]

Sonofabitch, I wanted to ask him where we’re eating Friday night. Guess I’ll have to wait for the newsletter.

Filed in: Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 20:42 | Comment (1)
June 24, 2014

During our income tax process the floor of my office / prayer room is typically used to carefully categorize all of our bills for the past year. When the Mr. Honeybun emergency arose and we took in this rabbit-in-need, the only logical place for near-to-long term housing was in – you guessed it – my office / prayer room. With the floor no longer a suitable filing space for all the bills, I cleared off my prayer table and put all the bills there. I didn’t consider that any form of sacrilege – after all, even Jesus said to “render to Caesar those things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17).

Unfortunately, Mr. Honeybun seems quite interested in helping us with our taxes, as the other night he leaped onto the prayer table in a split-second move and started surveying the landscape from his new perch. All my crosses hanging on a nail were suddenly in play, but he seemed more interested in the AT&T Mobility bills and promptly tossed a couple of them on the floor. Others were soon to follow.

At this point, I’m not really concerned about the impact Mr. Honeybun’s presence is going to have on our tax preparation – heck, if the IRS can lose e-mails and trash their computers to avoid those Congressional hearings into its improper targeting of conservatives groups seeking tax-exempt status, we can certainly use the excuse that one of our rabbits fouled up all our bills and sales slips as to why we’re getting a big fat refund this year.

Right, Mr. Honeybun?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 19:45 | Comments Off on Mr. Honeybun Helps With Taxes
June 22, 2014

It was 104 degrees by the time I made it over to Superstition Springs for a late Sunday afternoon range session. Less than four weeks out from Goodboys Invitational weekend I am, as they say, in earnest. Since the first of the year my short game, for lack of a better term, has sucked. No feel for chipping around the green, no feel for the putter, and no confidence in either. The fact that – and I counted them – I was 0 for 6 in putts less than ten feet when I played at Stonecreek Golf Club the other day was enough to see the red lights flasing and the Commander Riker in me yell, “Red Alert!”.

So that’s why I was there alone (or so I thought) at the SS range, limbering up with a large bucket and only my pitching wedge, sand wedge, and putter. Having the freedom of a driving range all to myself, I picked up the bucket and just tossed its contents in every direction, then, wherever the balls landed, try and hit the 75 yard sign with my pitching wedge or sand wedge. It was a great exercise for me, and I really enjoyed the challenge of it all. And, if I might say so myself, I think I learned a lot about my sand wedge and how far I can it if and when the occasion arises.

What was truly motivating was the segment on CBS’s Sunday golf coverage during the Travelers Championship where Peter Kostis showed how to hit a flop shot with the sand wedge around the green. At the time, I was enjoying a hot Italian sausage sandwich and a tall glass of lemonade and almost spit it out when Peter showed me that, rather than taking the club slightly outside the plane and then bringing it back underneath the ball, I had been taking my sand wedge straight back and trying to hit down on the ball. Hell, no wonder I was having trouble making consistent contact and ball flight! Putting Peter’s instructions to heart it took me only a few balls to get comfortable with my sand wedge to the point where I would definitely consider working it in, in competition.

Next stop was the chipping/putting area, where I continued to flail around looking for that particular feel I’d lost since last year’s Goodboys Invitational weekend. And today my chipping and putting was as awful at it has been this whole year. Twenty minutes in it was starting to get very frustrating, so I took a break, grabbed one of my blue Gatorades, and sat down in the shade, taking in the lovely late summer afternoon. There was a baby foo-foo bird badgering its mother for a treat, and a cottontail rabbit hopping across the driving range. I heard the rasps of a mourning dove and the rustling of the dusty trees all around – in the late afternoon sun it all seemed so peaceful, actually magical.

But I wasn’t as alone as I thought. For whatever reason, I hadn’t noticed a woman who had apparently been on the putting green in the shadows working on her own short game all the time I was there. She walked up to me and asked if I could do her a favor. Seems she lived about fifteen minutes away from the course, had taken the bus to Superstition Springs to work on her game, but the heat had gotten to her and was feeling dehydrated and wondering if I could drive her home when I was done. She’s African-American, around thirty, and very attractive, but I’m a gentleman, so I offered her my blue Gatorade and told her to get her stuff together. I wasn’t doing anything productive at the time, so why not help a lady in distress?

Thirty minutes later, I’ve dropped her off and about ready to take the turn towards home when I had this strange inner sense that I return to the Springs and resume my work. I looked at the time (5:45 PM) and the sky to see the sun still hot and heavy above, and figured if my wife and sister-in-law wanted to eat supper they could make it themselves – I had work left to do. So I drove straight back to the golf course and grabbed my clubs and hit the putting green a second time.

For whatever reason, everything then began to fall into place. After hitting a few flop shots with the sand wedge as Peter Kostis had instructed, I tried taking my pitching wedge back a similar way and found myself hitting the ball square and pure like I had been doing last year. At first I couldn’t believe it could be that simple, but I soon found myself feeling as if I could attack pin placements in a way I hadn’t felt in ages. Twenty minutes later, I’m playing around with various stances over my putter and suddenly found a set-up I had long forgotten about (feet and shoulders square, knees bent), and suddenly I’m not only chipping the ball close, but making pure strokes off the putter face. In the stretch of fifteen minutes I’ve gone from playing afraid and defensively to going on offense and confident, the way I prefer my short game to be.

It’s kind of weird to think about what would have happened if that lady’s situation hadn’t created the kind of diversion it did. Rather than dwell on what’s going on with my short game, I can go into next week’s planned practice session looking forward to being “on offense” as far as my short game is concerned.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 21:58 | Comments (2)
June 21, 2014

So my brother Dave was surprised when I told him I was cutting all the lumber around the dimensions of the Tiki bar by hand.

“How come you don’t have an electric saw?”, he asked.

“Because I don’t need one.”, I tell him.

“Sounds like it might have come in handy on this project.”, says he.

“Touche.”, is all I could say.

Fact is, the original plans called for very little sawing. I had all my measurements and had the guys at Lowe’s cut it all for me. Of course, that went out the window when I found I couldn’t slide the planks under the Tiki bar, so it was either move the Tiki bar – not an option due to its size and weight – or cut the wood down to fit around and under the Tiki bar’s dimensions. And yes, it was a lot of work, but it was good work. And, hopefully, I’ll never need my trusty hand saw for anything else other than trimming tree branches on occasion.

As you can see, all the wood is down. I realized late today that I’m going to have to do some sawing to accommodate the Tiki torches that go on the front and side corners, but that’s going to be small potatoes. After that, the planks get picked up and numbered so they’ll go back in the same positions after they are stained and polyurethened. Then I’ve got sand to move around to raise the east side flush with the patio, and lower the west side so the planks are slightly beneath the bricks. Then the pile of sand on the patio gets shoveled in and around the supporting frame, then the frame gets covered with plastic so that $#@% neighborhood cat doesn’t get any big ideas while we’re staining the wood.

It’s gonna be a painstaking process to get all the wood stained, but we’re still on track for a champagne and ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for July 4. You’re all invited.

Oh, and don’t worry – I’ve got an electric drill/driver for screwing the planks into the frame – I’m not that stupid to think that would be done by hand!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:08 | Comments (3)
June 20, 2014

Everyone is getting excited about the third weekend in July – the weekend of The Open Championship and the 24th annual Goodboys Invitational. Who’s excited, you might ask?

Tiger Woods is raring to get back into golf shape following back surgery, so he’s playing next week.

The annual rite of Goodboys chatter and “pigeon sheet” wagering has begun in earnest, and Goodboys left and right are playing rounds and posting their scores on MyScorecard.com.

…and that includes yours truly, who played today in blistering-hot conditions at Stonecreek Golf Club with the sole intent of identifying what final tweaks are needed in these last few weeks to ensure I’m ready for Goodboys weekend. Specifically, the goal was to play smart, take trouble out of play, and avoid “the big number”. For today, how I’m scoring wasn’t as important as the on-course shot decisions I was making on a hole-by-hole basis. If I listen to the better angels of my nature, I’ll avoid risky and low-percentage shots and choose the kind of shots that enable me to make bogey (double-bogey at worst) and avoid the big numbers that have plagued my game so far this year.

So how did I do? Shot a 50 + 51 = 101 and feel that that was just about right. I came out a little rusty as far as my distance control was concerned, but my irons were rock-solid all day. My short game was not good, however – I was leaving myself too many long putts and didn’t make anything inside of eight feet. 36 putts is simply not going to get the job done – I need to chip the ball closer and start making putts. From here on out I’ll be going back to my old putting style and see if that helps.

The big improvement today was the virtual elimination of “the big number” – only one triple-bogey on a par 3 where I pulled 4-hybrid even though those better angels of my nature were screaming at me to hit 6-iron. Had I listened to them I would have broken 100, but the fact I didn’t was a lesson to be learned. I didn’t have as many holes at bogey or less as in recent rounds, but the chances were certainly there. Still, it was nice to see no snowmen on my card for a change. Too many 6s for my taste, but that will come as I work a little harder on my short game.

What’s most satisfying is that all the work I’ve done at the range is starting to pay off, to the point where my swing is finally back to where it was prior to my last lesson with Alex Black. As I’ve said previously, it’s not Alkex’s fault – what he was saying wasn’t wrong, it just turned out to be a “bridge too far” considering what my abilities (or lack thereof) are at this time.

In the next four weeks, I’ll be working on my putting and my tee game (driver/3-wood) more than anything else. I’ll play one more time out here before Goodboys week, and then once back in Massachusetts I’ll immerse myself in New England golf so my game is spit-polished shining by the time Goodboys Invitational weekend arrives.

Today was a nice departure from all the Tiki bar deck work; come Saturday I’ll be back to cutting lumber and shifting sand.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 20:56 | Comments Off on Four Weeks To Go, (Nearly) Ready For The Show
June 19, 2014

Lots of progress today. As you can see, I’ve completed putting the underlying frame together and was able to lay planks down to see just how all the lumber I’ve got piled up beside the pool is going to fit in. I first laid down all the planks to the east (nearest camera) and west sides of the Tiki bar to make sure my original dimensions worked out. On the east side, the lumber was perfect. On the west side, not so much, and all the planks needed to be cut back an inch; after that they all fit perfectly.

Because of the length of the planks, the brick border, and the framework underneath, it became apparent right off the bat that I’m not going to be able to fit entire planks under the Tiki bar, so some cutting is going to be needed there. But as I laid down various pieces of wood, I realized there was going to be a space of approx. 4″ that I was going to have to find a solution for. I wasn’t surprised – when you’ve got a finite area to work in you’ve got to prepare for surprises and compromises.

It was time for a break, anyways, so I went inside, cracked open a Diet 7-Up, then went back out and sat in a chair just staring at those 4 inches and drank in the warm Arizona afternoon. I could hear the sparrows, foo-foo birds, and mourning doves trying to get at the grass seed I planted over the bare spots in the east-facing side yard, and the pool vacuum softly chattering away. It was just a perfect summer day and a moment in time I knew one day I would look back upon fondly – probably when I’m laying in some hospital bed on life support under garish flourescent lights rand the twins arguing who was going to pull the plug and when. A soft breeze came up, rustled the palm trees and the mesquite tree above me, and dried the sweat on my face.

Four inches.

And then it occurred to me: what I’d do is have the folks at Lowe’s (who by now know me by name) cut me four 2 X 10 planks that I’ll place around the four legs of the Tiki bar. Amidst all the 2 X 8s no one will notice the difference, and I’ll have made up those four inches without any problem!

After my trip to Lowe’s, I finished laying down the new 2 X 10s amidst other 2 X 8 pieces of wood to judge the spacing, and everything is perfect. My neighbor John stopped by to see the progress I was making and he was really proud of the work I did; he joked that once everything is stained and bolted in I’ll have increased the value of the house by another $1K. 🙂 Not to mention the fact that I’ll have permanently pissed off the neighborhood cat that led me down this path to begin with!

As you can see in the picture, there’s still quite a bit of wood-cutting to do, but everything is finally starting to come into focus.

No work planned for tomorrow. Like God on the seventh day, I’m taking a rest from manual labor and playing a round of golf. After all, Goodboys Invitational weekend is just four weeks away!

On Saturday, I’ll finish cutting all the remaining wood so that it fits perfectly under the Tiki bar, then it all comes up and gets numbered so that once it is stained and polyurethened it lays down exactly as I’ve laid them down. After the wood is removed, I’ve got quite a bit of sand to shift in order to bring the underlying frame level with the patio, but slightly lower than the brick borders. It’s going to be painstaking work, but exciting nonetheless, and I can’t wait to get going. Remember, we’re talking about a guy here who used to blanch at the very thought of any project that required a tape measure and any tool that wasn’t a hammer.

About that piece of wood sitting at angle, just hanging out there. I’ve got a weird shaped opening around the side of the Tiki bar that the 2 X 8s just don’t cover. So I’m going to have to buy a jigsaw and cut a funky-shaped piece where our Tiki statue will sit and also allow room for the power cord that lights the Tiki lights to go under the boardwalk to the plug on the side of the house. The last time I used a jigsaw was in 8th grade shop class. 🙂 So now I’m buying a jigsaw…

Time for a dip in the pool!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 22:02 | Comments (2)
June 18, 2014

The next step in my boardwalk project is to prepare the sandbox for the 2 X 4 frame that will serve as the support for the deck, er, boardwalk. You can already see in this picture the start of the frame. What that means, unfortunately, is shoveling sand, and lots of it. Because I’m working with pre-defined borders – the brick bordering the west and south sides, and the patio on the east side – the goal is to have the boardwalk at the same height as the patio, but slightly below the bricks on the other side. I’m figuring that ultimately all the sand I shovel will ultimately be shoveled back in around the frame, but for now there’s not a whole lot I can do except place a tarp on the patio and, like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of The Third Kind, create my own little mountain.

Once I’ve got enough sand out, I’ll be building my frame so I can really see just where all my boardwalk planks will go and how they will all fit in. I’ve already got a sneaking suspicion a little creativity is going to be needed to make the boardwalk planks will fit around the dimensions of the Tiki bar. But I’ll worry about that once I get the supporting frame complete.

I wll say this – I’m enjoying greatly the whole idea of designing a project and bringing it to fruition. Manual labor in the Arizona summer heat is quite the effort, and I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. There’s a certain satisfaction in attempting, for lack of a better term, manly stuff. Too bad I don’t have a pair of blue jeans that would hang low around my waist and show my a$$ crack when I’m bending over – not that would look really manly!! 🙂

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 20:59 | Comments Off on Excavation Work


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