Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Storage-a dilemma and a challenge

7/6/15 - 19One of my goals in early retirement was to build a bunch of storage sheds under the eaves on the side of the house that is only about 7 feet wide.  It's barely a walk-through from the front yard to the back.  I keep the gate locked so it's really useless space.  Don had a large industrial shelving unit out there, and I've been using it for some things, but really, it was just holding junk!  

I wanted to move all my personal things that I have stored in the garage into this "to-be-built" storage so that my garage would be just for building things!  Well, as it came time to start this big build I chickened out.  That's what it was - plain and simple!  I'd never built a shed and I wasn't sure I could do it.  So, I rationalized my plan away...  I just moved the storage racks that were in the garage out alongside the industrial shelving thing.  Then, I covered it with a plastic tarp - which is what prompted Camper daughter to make the comment about it looking a bit trashy.

I thought I was okay with this new plan, but as days went by and I worked to transform my garage into a workshop, I realized that I was really disappointed in myself for not taking on the challenge of doing something I'd never done before.  So, on a bright and sunny Saturday (i.e., hotter than hell) I hopped in the truck and headed for home depot.  I loaded up with enough 2x's to frame in one 8x2 shed, siding to enclose it, and treated 2x4s for the foundation.  There - I was stuck!  I had to start and finish this one shed!   I leveled and prepped the area for the foundation, and put it together.  Oh, I was so proud - that had been pretty simple!  I went to bed that night feeling pretty damned sure that I could whip this out in no time at all!

Sunday morning I was up early and ready to get that sucker built.  Late Sunday night, however, I was sure I'd probably not stand up straight ever again!
Let me just say that it was probably over 100 degrees that day - and I was dragging most of the day.  But, I did get the back wall built and siding attached.  This shed was going to be up against the house so I couldn't put the walls up and then attach the siding - there would be no room!  And, it was too heavy to build away from the house and then move into position.  I had to build that wall first.  My sis, Mari, is a great help when I just can't handle things on my own.  Together, we lifted and hauled that wall into place.  She held it upright while I secured it to the floor.  I was ready for a good soak in the hot tub, but knew I needed to get the side walls up to help stabilize the back wall.  So, I put those together and got them screwed in and together.  Ahhhh, the hot tub - finally!

Although this fits under the eaves of the house, there are about 6 inches that extend beyond the eaves.  So, it needed a good roof if it was going to keep water out.  After adding an angled framing piece and trimming the sides of the siding, I built the roof. 
Yep, another piece that had to be pre-built because there wouldn't be room to add to it once it was up.  So, I measured and framed the roof, applied plywood and then roofing paper, drip guard, then shingles.  When it was done it weighed a ton - well, it seemed like it!  Again, I called on Mari for help.  As we lifted this we both wondered it we'd be able to lift it high enough to get it on the roof!  But, somehow we managed to get it up and screwed into place! -Mari hasn't said anything about unsightly bruises, but I acquired quite a few!

If  you're looking at this and thinking, I don't think that's to code - you'd be right.  I did mention I wanted to use materials I had - I had lots of 2x4 and 2x6 material.  This is a shed, for goodness sake, it didn't need to be "to code".  And, if you're thinking "shouldn't the siding be on lengthwise" - maybe, but I liked the "planked" look so put it on horizontally.  This also helped with the amount of material I had to buy.  I was able to get by with just 3 pieces of siding by doing it the way I did.  So, the walls are up and the roof is on!  Now for doors.
I should also say that, as usual, I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on this shed.  I wanted it to look decent, but whenever I could use what I had, or buy material that was functional but not necessarily pretty, that's what I did.  So, once I had the back and side built I had to figure out my doors.  I didn't want to buy two more sheets of plywood, but that's what it would take to cover that wide opening.  So, I built out the opening with 2x4 and 2x6s and added a 1x6 frame to each of the two doors.  This was perfect - as I've said, the space in that area is not very wide.  Each of these doors is about 32" wide - any wider and it would have difficult to open them!  

Here's the final project - painted and ready to fill!
Oh, darn.  This shows my really messy side yard!  I've since cleaned it up, but no photos yet.  
And, now that it's done - and I lived through the building process - let me just say I will not build another!  Remarkably, my things all fit into this shed.  I even have some room to grow!  I took apart the industrial shelving, moved all my storage shelving out to the side of the house and will use that for storing things that aren't personal, things I'll use for gardening, building, etc.  My personal things will be kept out of the sun, enclosed and safe from the weather.  I can lock the doors if necessary.  I'm happy with how it turned out - now if my bruises would just hurry up and heal I might be able to wear short sleeved tops again!  

Thanks, Mari, for all your help!

Did it cost less to make it?  At about $360 (materials + tax) it was cheaper to make it.  Add in the labor and I'd opt to buy one in a heartbeat!  This kicked my butt!

3 sheets siding (49.00)
20 2x3s  (42.00)
4 2x4s (12.00)
6 1x6s (36.00)
1 2x6s  (5.00)
1 sheet plywood, (21.00)
2 2x4s, 10' treated (18.0)
2 2x4s, 8' treated (10.00)
1 package shingles (26.00)
1 roll paper (21.00)
1 box roofing nails (9.00)
1 box 2-1/2" screws (9.00)
1 gal "oops" paint (9.00)
1 gal flat paint (21)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Some thoughts on this blog and RETIREMENT!

Well, it's been a while since I've jotted down my thoughts here.  I was thinking about that and told myself I'd been busy and really what did it matter?  And, then I remembered the entire purpose of this blog - to remember my life as it unfolds, because some day I may need my kids to print these pages to show me or my caregivers that at one point in my life I did something totally different, challenging, interesting and exciting!  So, here I am again, Blog, doing my thing!

First things first - I'm enjoying my retirement!  It's still hard to believe that I'm not getting up every day to go to work.  Some mornings I'm even a bit disoriented.  But, that doesn't last long!  I do still get up pretty early, I've always been an early riser - that usually follows if you're an "early to bed" person, like I am!  Most mornings I walk for an hour, sometimes I walk to Starbucks or McDonald's for coffee, but mostly I just walk and listen to an audio book.  I don't listen to these books unless I'm walking or driving. so as long as I have a good book to listen to, I'm pretty motivated!

The day I retired my kids took me to my favorite place for dinner - Sycamore Inn.  I like to sit on their patio and take advantage of the happy hour drinks and dinners!  It's relaxing - I call it my mini vacation.  The kids were so generous with their well wishes, and gave me a very special gift box filled with gift cards!  They also included several lottery scratchers - and I didn't get one number on any of those suckers!

The day after that I left for a week in Palm Desert - this is where I thought maybe I'd failed at retirement.  After 5 days I was ready to head home!  I'd had enough relaxation.  So, because I'm retired and can do what I want with my time - I did come home!

I spent a day getting ready to spend some time with the Logger family and then my Camper grandson and I headed north to help the Loggers prepare for a move to a new-to-them home.  It was a busy, busy 10 days as Logger daughter and I painted and prepped the new house for carpeting, and packed up and moved whatever we could physically handle.  We stored these items in one room of the new house that was not going to be carpeted (hardwood floors will go in later).  I wish I could tell you how many square feet of wall space I painted, but all I can tell you was it was a lot!!!  After 10 days I dragged Camper grandson from the pond, from the woods, and all the fun things he'd been doing with the Logger grandkids and we headed home.  We were not done, not by a long shot, but, I needed a couple of days before June 19th to finalize my social security application.

Ah, Social Security.  Ever since Don passed away, 6 years ago now, I've made an annual trip to the local SS office.  I just needed to be sure that some day I'd really be able to retire.  During one of those trips a couple years back the SS person I spoke with almost gave me heart failure when she mentioned that my benefits would be subject to WEP - Windfall Elimination  Program.  This was put in place years ago so that people with government pensions, who had not paid into social security, would not be able to draw both their pension and SS - that would be double-dipping.  I have for all but just over 2 years of my working life, paid into SS.  This went completely unmentioned by this person so I was pretty devastated when she told me I'd probably only collect a few hundred dollars a month!!

After going to Camper daughter's house and drowning my sorrows in a couple glasses of wine, thinking that I'd never be able to retire, I went home, got on the computer and did enough research to know that the SS person was full of S..., well, she didn't know jack S,, Darn.  She was just plain dumb.  So, I waited a day and then I went back to the SS office.  I saw someone else, told her what I was questioning and she told me not to worry - that WEP thing wouldn't effect me.  So, the next couple of visits were just to confirm an estimated amount I'd receive by collecting survivor's benefits.  All was well - until I went in 2 weeks before my retirement to complete my application.  They started the paper work and told me I needed copies of my marriage certificate and Don's death certificate. Oh, and by the way, those 2+ years that I didn't pay into SS will likely reduce my benefits! I was back to drowning my sorrows - I'd already retired, what was I going to do now!!  So, Okie dokie - I head home and the following Monday I'm back at the office with my copies of those documents.  OH NO, they need original certificates, the ones with the pretty blue edges.  BUT, I was told that they'd checked on the WEP concern they had, and I wasn't going to be effected at all by that!  So, good news at least - now I just had to get my original marriage certificate.  Well, guess what!  I have several original death certificates and can't find one original marriage certificate!  So, I pull up the address of the county office in Norwalk - where I've heard you can head if you want to wait for same day delivery of legal documents.  As I'm searching for the address I notice that same day delivery of marriage certificates is not available for marriages performed before 1995 - And, that would be me :-(.  So, now what??  I have to get that document to SS before June 19th or the application will be denied, and then I'll have to appeal the denial!!  Bottom line, about $60 later I've requested from a 3rd party vendor 2 original marriage certificates to be delivered to me - it will take anywhere from 9-20 days to receive them.  If they take the full 20 days I would receive them on the 19th, and could hopefully still finalize my application.  The documents actually arrived about 4 days before the deadline.  I got home at 1 pm on the 18th, picked up the certificates from my home mail, and drove to the SS office.  Showed them the original (they didn't need to keep it - just see it!), and was assured that everything was in order.  And, WHEW, it really was.  About 3 days later I received a notice of my eligibility for SS and Medicare benefits!

I'll feel better about this whole thing once I see checks being deposited into my account - so far that hasn't  happened.

So, since retiring I've vacationed, attended a family wedding, spent more than just a few days with my daughter, spent some quality time with a grandson, painted til I thought my arms might fall off, took care of an internet problem, took a granddaughter to school, had a couple of dinners with friends, had dinner with family, had a doctor appointment, filled out and mailed off all my medicare documents (I hope), spent an hour laying out by the pool reading, and cleaned out 2 drawers in my kitchen!  And, I started in on my garage makeover.  I've moved shelving units to a location outside the garage (Camper daughter says it might look trashy to my neighbors, but I just wasn't up to building new storage sheds!), built a new storage unit for the garage, built a long table for my cut-off saw and re-purposed 2 end table type things I picked up at a garage sale to hold my Kreg Jig and my new planer.  The garage project is not going as quickly as I'd planned, but I reminded myself just the other day that it was okay - I'm not on any deadlines!

And, I'm thinking of renaming my blog - I kind of like the sound of The "Retired" Widow's Workshop.