THINGS ARE MOVING ALONG rapidly here, deck-wise. On Friday, the builders framed out the entire main deck in all its 400-square-foot glory. That’s half the size of the house itself (excluding screened porch), but it’s in proportion to the size of the backyard and already feels inviting.
They didn’t work over the weekend, and I had to either use the front door or jump down from the back door between the new joists and hurdle. Now they’re back, and sounds of industry — sawing, drilling, hammering — fill the air. My neighbors, luckily, are very supportive. They’re thrilled I’m improving the property instead of letting it turn to shit, as was happening for years before I arrived in May ’09.
Now check out this archaeological find, below: a cast iron mortar and pestle, discovered under two original steps leading from the screened porch to the backyard. Must weigh 12 or 15 pounds. I happen to know the previous owner read tarot cards and fancied herself a witch. That’s apparently what her license plate read (a neighbor told me; don’t know if she also had the popular bumper sticker ‘My Other Car is a Broom’). Possibly she used it to mix eye of newt and toe of frog? In any event, it’s old, clearly older than the house. How and why it got there is anyone’s guess.
Usually I divulge the cost of all my home improvements, but I’m going to keep the deck price a secret for now and let whoever wants to field a guess. Hints: I got 4 estimates, three for the approximately the same price I’m paying, and one for considerably more. These are the parameters: 2 separate cedar decks with pressure treated framing — one 16’x24′, the other 6’x10′ with a shower enclosure and bench. There are four men working, and the job will take four days, so they say. Price doesn’t include installation of a new door from the bathroom to the shower deck.
The person who comes closest in the comments will win…something. Not the mortar and pestle, though.