February was a great time to get repair work done. Not too cold, not much rain, no snow. Our picnic table, made of plastic wood, would never rot, but apparently could break. When we had the serious flooding last year, the table had sunk into the saturated sand on one side and the torsional stress cracked a couple of seat supports. The price of replacement plastic wood was prohibitively expensive so I fashioned replacement parts with a cedar 2×4. It’s really nice having all the necessary tools on hand.
The next item on my to do list was reseating some loose tiles in the guest bathroom. I have no idea why these two tiles became loose: earthquake, floods, take your pick. I had to put this off for quite a while because I didn’t have any spare tiles. So I slowly worked out the grout over the course of several months and when I was sure they were both completely loose, I lifted them cleaned off all the old mortar and reset them.
After that, I decided I needed to build a bench seat for the cab of my truck, so I could carry both dogs in the cab along with Peter. I had some scrap 3/4 inch plywood, 3 inch thick foam from a project that never happened, and some leftover fabric from some curtains I made when we lived in Illinois. Once that was assembled I fashioned a strap with a carabiner to secure the bench to an anchor in the truck.
D’Argo thought it was awesome. He jumped in, sniffed it from end to end, picked his side, and lay down. He was all set. Oscar was nervous and confused, but he has since decided it’s pretty comfy. Oscar usually sprawls out and falls asleep. D’Argo sits up and watches out the side window. Dog approved!
While I was searching in my fabric stash for the bench cover, I came across some upholstery fabric and piping (from the same aborted project as the foam) and discovered I had more than enough material to reupholster our shabby ottoman. I immediately started taking the old cover apart for a pattern, removing thousands of staples, and again inflaming my tennis elbow.
I realized I wasn’t going to be putting those staples back by hand. So I finally gave in and bought a compressed air stapler. I had never used any compressed air power tools and I was amazed at how smooth and easy it was to use. Putting the ottoman back together was a breeze.
It turned out really well, and was an immediate favorite perch for D’Argo. The boys also appreciate the boost to get on our bed.
The final spring repair was to replace the french door screen. We initially had a curtain screen, but the velcro had come loose from the frame, there was a tear near the opening, and grasshoppers had chewed holes in the fabric. So I decided to spend a little extra and purchase a retractible screen. According to the instructions, it could be installed in 20 minutes. I was under no such illusion. Something always goes wrong. I expected the clearance between the door frame and the stone facade would be insufficient. That was easy to fix with scrap wood I had on hand from the kitchen renovation. It took half a day. I got it all installed then found that one of the screws to hold the stop in place was stripped. While I was rooting around looking for a replacement part, there was a commotion in the back yard. D’Argo, vigilant, headed full tilt for the open back door. Although there are stripes on the screen to let you know it’s there, they were not seen by a certain terrier running at full speed. D’Argo crashed through. Luckily, because of the missing screw, the screens gave way without damage. I’m quite certain D’Argo didn’t know what hit him, but from that moment on he’s been cautious around the back door.