What I Did For Spring BreakUpdate: Day 2 Pictures AddedUpdate: Day 3 Pictures Added

(I know, it's next week. So, sue me...)

We hope you enjoy the new, brighter, cleaner ramp!
With Lots Of Love From Deb & Family and Tim

Happy, happy Mom!

Sorry, but I have to include the girls (boys? I still don't know :P)
Remember Grits. He stars in this post a little later...


The full report below the fold...


This project is to beautify (or 'finish' as Mom puts it) the ramp that is outside of her kitchen door. My brothers built it a few years ago, after Mom broke her back. It's a nice ramp, but it's all pressure-treated wood and rather ugly. So, since I have been so gung-ho about fixing things around here, I suggested to my sister, Deb, that we grant Mom's wish. Deb provides the financing (since I have none), and I get to do all of the backbreaking labor :)

Ah, I found a picture of the ramp, pre-work, pre-prep.
Lovely, no?

First work picture of the ramp. I already started the work -
stripped off the carpet, removed some railings, and put up
the masking papers. It's all pressure-treated lumber, and
really, _really_ ugly. So a good (couple of) coat(s) of
high-white glossy enamel will do wonders!

Same ramp, slightly different angle.
I found Mom's left shoe :P
I found it under the ramp, all the way in the back corner.
She threw away the right shoe years ago, after she couldn't
find the left one.

Nice job, ramp constructors! :P

Hey, at least that's all I found under there.
There are a lot of creepy crawlies here in Central Florida.
There was also a whole bunch of leftover wood 'stored' under
the ramp that I found much earlier (a few months ago) and
I have been going crazy building all sorts of little stuff for
around the house with it.

Including a removable 'kitty ledge' for Mom's bathroom window.
So Grits can watch what is going on outside, without his (her?)
fat ass falling out of the window and onto the floor.

After what Grits did on Day 2, I am beginning to wonder if that
damn cat deserves it now. Keep reading, you will find out
what happened.

A view of the ramp from in the garage.

First primer! Just with this little bit, it looks much better.

The happy ramp owner :P

Just some slack-jawed southern cracker doing the heavy work...
A note to everyone out there: hire a cripple to do the work
around your house. They appreciate the work, and are
entertaining to watch. Just ask my Mom :P

Dude! Where's your shoes! Nice tat, BTW...
Here's a tally from Day 2 - I've bled both days (of course!
I can never do any handiwork without bleeding somehow),
but I haven't fallen over (yet). A couple of close calls, but no
actual falls. Let's hope the final day (day 3) is just as uneventful.

More primer. Hmmm.... Painty.....

The 'supervisor'...
I think she was waiting for me to fall over...

Even more primer. Note that the plywood decking is started.
This wood sure sucks :P I'm almost through the gallon.

Dammit - ran out of primer.

See all of the railings I have to paint, and put back on,
in the lower right corner?

With the lattice work just propped in place. Nice! Done for the day...

More pictures to come, once I finish the paint coat, put back the
railings and the carpet, and take care of all the 'finishing touches'.


Starting with the nice high-white glossy enamel! Pretty...

This is going much faster than yesterday. Still using
a lot of paint. But it should be enough... I hope.

Getting really shiny now.

Dammit. I was trying so hard to keep paint off the cement.
Then GRITS (remember him?) runs out of the house,
directly across the freshly painted deck, and all over the driveway!

After chasing him around the next door neighbors car, he runs
back to the ramp and RUNS ON IT AGAIN! AND back onto the concrete!

I caught him, finally, but only after a couple of good scratches on my arm.
That's the blood for Day 2.

GRRRRR cats...

"Grits was here."

More painting, and a quick trip to Ace for some
'graffiti remover' (huh, Grits 'tagged' me!).

Wow. That remover works great! No more pawprints!
And the cement's not stained, as advertised.
(those stains to the left are water marks from plants)

A different view. Not in focus. It's not you, it's me.

Holy Crap! That's purty!
All of the railings and lattice are back in place, and the
masking papers have been removed. Even the plant
hooks have been reinstalled.

Detail note: after I reinstalled the lattice and plant hooks,
I touched up the heads of the screws and the plant hooks
with white spray paint. Remember, it's the little touches.
My Father would have appreciated it...

Running really close on the paint. This is the final 'grit
coat' on the deck, to make it non-slip. Works great.

The 'grit coat' is basically a mixture of your paint and
a special sand (or grit). It keeps the deck from being
extremely slippery when it gets wet - and this high
gloss paint would become a slip-and-slide without it.
Safety first!

Slowly tilt your head to the right. Does it look better now?

Oh, this is a nice shot. I should have gotten one like this
before it was painted.

The white rectangle in the foreground is the 'door/potting
table' that goes on the front of the ramp. I'll take some more
pictures of that tomorrow, after I reinstall it.

A closer look at the grit coat.

More pictures tomorrow, after I put the carpet back down
and finish it up completely.

Here's a side-by-side 'before and after' shot...

Wow. A big change after only 24 hours.

Heh. The 'projects' never end. Now she wants a lattice 'cage' for the trash cans so you can't see them from the street. For you, Mom, of course. I'll do the work - anyone out there want to provide the financing?


Started early (again) and got the carpet back in place.
This is the view from the kitchen door. You can see the
garbage cans in the background. No wonder to wants to
hide them with lattice.

The view from the garage.

The 'good view'...
Everything is done. Carpet, knick-knacks, and plants.
You may be asking "If you put down carpet, why the heck
did you bother with the 'grit coat'?" Well, carpet is not permanent.
If something happened, and the carpet had to come up, the grit
coat is there to make sure the deck isn't slippery. And, there are
some parts, especially at the end of the ramp, that the carpet
doesn't cover. I would have had to grit coat those bits, no matter
what. So might as well do the whole thing.

Before, when I put down the carpet, I notice that the shiny silver
staples were visible. Not a good look. I tried to cover them with
magic marker, but I managed to create some big black spots on the
rug, which was the opposite effect I wanted.

This time - I took the staple strip and colored them with magic
marker _before_ I put them in the staple gun. No mess on the
carpet, and you can't see the staples, once installed. Nice, huh?
Another little trick that my Dad would have enjoyed.

(My creative side I get from my Mom. My obsessive-compulsive/anal-retentive
side I get from my Dad. He was a nut for the little details. The combination
works well if you are doing computer graphics. I can spend hours manipulating
a single pixel. :P )

These are the plants on the front of the deck. The rectange in
front (behind the lower plants) is actually a storage door/potting table.

Just remove the plants from the hooks...

And flip up the door/table and hook it with the chain.
Mom can hide all her gardening supplies behind it.

When you are all done gardening, just unhook the chain, drop the
door, and re-hang the plants.

A view from the back of the ramp. You can see all of the
stuff hidden behind the door. The door is mainly to hide
all of the gardening stuff when you look at the house from
the street. Just another bit of that scrap lumber I found
under the ramp.

This is the floodlight by the kitchen door. It has had a
facelift, too. I stripped all of the peeling paint, and painted
it all glossy white. Including the plastic molding on the
wall, which had turned that ugly 'aged plastic' color.

Another view of the floodlight, plus the 'Every Birdie Welcome'
plaque that my Niece Jackie gave to Mom. I use adhesive hooks
to hang things on the siding, that way there's no holes :)
Sometimes the adhesive doesn't hold too well, so I use a little
dab of hot glue for some extra hold.

I love hot glue. It's one of my favorite repair materials :P

Grits (to the left) and Mom and Oatmeal (to the right)
enjoying the morning on the linae.

Another pic of Mom and the 'girls'.

Here's another side-by-side comparison:
'pre-prep, prepped, after paint, and complete' shots...

I'm happy. Tired, but happy. And Mom is _really_ happy :)


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