Almost Nine Months Later

The back porch still looked like this. This was what was underneath the vinyl siding, stripped off in Oct., 2019.

The black sheathing seemed sort of water permeable. Areas that had been squirrel apartments had been reinsulated with plastic stapled over to keep them out. But this was unfinished, tragic, demoralizing.

Why wasn’t it completed ?

The guy I had been using took forever to measure then remeasure for the corrugated steel siding, even though it was the end of October, then November, then DECEMBER. The staff at the lumberyard had been unhelpful, didn’t know the product line, and told us wrong things. Then the guy who did know the product line, recently had eye surgery and treated me exceptionally poorly when I placed the order which included many sheets cut to custom lengths. It would be at least a 2 week lead time, as we had been previously informed.

I wasn’t optimistic about steel siding being applied in a blustery December.

The order arrived in the 3rd week of December, but a full sheet was damaged. The manufacturer said they would replace it but Xmas, New Years, slow time of year and so on.

The replacement sheet was delivered on Jan. 22, 2020, the same morning I learned that my mother had died suddenly. She was 90, and had dementia. Her death was a perfect death – one minor blip when she suddenly collapsed – then recovered for 24 hours – then died peacefully in her sleep, after laying out her pink pantsuit for the next day. Even when you are expecting this milestone, it still leaves you feeling hollowed out and strange.

I definitely wasn’t up for some ridiculousness about siding application in -15 windchill conditions, with lots of snow and strong north winds.

Then COVID19 happened and nobody could do anything.

Then other things happened and I had to find someone else to apply the siding.

The backyard was full of debris from the undoing of the terrible back porch. After the snow melted I separated it into piles.

The city was in lockdown so it didn’t seem likely that anyone could even take it away. Spring happened, and I sat in the backyard wishing the piles away. When restrictions loosened a little in May I called a place I had used before. I wasn’t completely sure if this was allowed or not. They made it be gone and that was a relief.

When things had begun to reopen – like construction was allowed to resume – I started emailing siding places for a quote. My emails weren’t returned, I was treated rudely on the phone, all the standard stuff happened again.

Meanwhile the siding was piled up on a table-like thing in the back porch, since it was deposited there in Dec./19. It was taking up most of the room, so I hadn’t been enjoying my improved porch very much. The end was balanced on my cabinet so I couldn’t even use that.

Finally I got mad enough that I carried the siding out piece by piece and laid it on a pallet outside.

I kept looking for a siding installer. I think the issue was that my situation was weird – I had all the bits and pieces and I just needed someone to put it up. My job was small, and of course in a suspect neighbourhood.

In desperation I contacted the manufacturer who recommended a couple of local companies. I left a message at one – who never called me back. I was doubtful about the 2nd – their website looked like they mostly did large commercial/industrial jobs. I called them anyway. The guy was friendly on the phone and came by a couple of hours later ! He said he could squeeze me in if they were waiting for materials on a big job, but that it might be really short notice. I said that was fine !

Then about 10 days later he left me a voicemail saying they would arrive at 8 a.m. the next day ! And they did !

This was amazing as it it seemed that every step of this project had just been deeply hexed.

The siding went up in less than 8 hours with two guys. I was charged an hourly rate plus for some fasteners.

It was such a relief.

BUT.

There was an electrical outlet and a light next to the door. I pointed this out to the installers. They said they would make a hole for the “wires to get pulled through”. This didn’t make any sense to me as the boxes were already there, for the outlet and light to get mounted ONTO. When they left there was just a hole poked through the siding in the vicinity of the boxes.

I called an electrician, then called the owner, then the electrician explained some things, then a few days later the installer guy had to come back to do things properly.

Then the siding section was properly reinstalled, the electrician did the reinstallation of the light with a proper exterior outlet this time. Note that the one before was installed upside down – and was an interior outlet with no cover or gasket !

The siding was done BUT.

The windows still needed to have the wood properly capped. I started looking for some antique wood.

I went to the ResStore and had no luck, then went to a salvage place I had never been to before. In an unlit shed, there was a bunch of decorative exterior wood trim stacked up, probably from a house in this area. A few houses still have this – but I had never come across any, anywhere. And there it was, the right amount, and almost the right length – a couple of inches shy.

I heat stripped it, patched and primed then fussily painted it. I faked in the missing length with some interior rosettes from the salvage place. I found someone to rip a couple of pieces. Then I nailed it up.

THEN the hexed back porch was DONE.

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