Jobsite Classic: Why There’s No New Curbside Classic This Morning and Why I Haven’t Started Converting My Van Yet

It’s 9 PM, Thursday evening. I just got in from my walk and some blackberry picking. And I see there’s absolutely nothing scheduled for Friday. Scramble, and stay up late? No, not doing that anymore. I’m technically semi-retired at CC now. So instead, I’ll just show you what I’ve been doing instead of writing. And if there’s time, I’ll throw up some Outtakes of some recent finds.

This was the storage shed at Jackson, my cluster of eight rentals. It was probably built in the 40s or 50s, and I had to cut off the left third of it because it sat across a new lot line when I subdivided these two lots into seven lots, and then moved old houses in. I had noticed termite detritus from the get-go, as well as some rot. The flat roof started failing some years back, and I thanks to my years of neglecting my properties in order to blog like a maniac, the leaks became very serious in the past some years.

I used it to store extra appliances, paint, extra doors and all kinds of stuff that one tends to collect after a project ends. Oh, I’ll use that someday. No, I won’t, because it’s a lot easier to just run to the store than burrow into the bowels of a festering mess.

Anyway, I was thinking of emptying it and fixing it up and putting a new roof on it. The emptying alone was quite a chore. And then I started to see what I was really dealing with. Oh my.

This side wall got pulled off first, even before I emptied the shed, as I was still thinking of repair. Can’t see it well here, but most of that wall has rot, and very severe rot around the window. The header holding up a main beam was barely there anymore.

And this was the back wall, which I knew was in bad shape. The area over and around the window was severely rotted, and the roof decking (2×8 tongue and groove) was rotten and sagging badly.

The doubled 2×10 beams had termite powder falling out. At this stage, I knew the whole roof had to go.

I still had the thought that I could salvage the two remaining walls, including the far one, which was neew in 1997 when I cut off that wall.

It was rotting too. I had thrown that wall up in a hurry, and the flat roof’s water found its way into the plywood siding.

In more places than one.

And the plywood was damaged all along the lower edge, because I had failed to flash it over the widely-protruding slab where it had been cut rudely. I knew then I was just prolonging the inevitable anyway.

So this is what was left a couple of days ago. The old Ford hauled it all off; three loads to the wood recycling center, one to the dump, and one to our big re-use store, where the doors, windows, furnace, and other stuff can finally be put to use. That 2×8 T&G roof decking was quite the stuff; where it wasn’t rotten it was beautiful old-growth fir, but it had asphalt adhered to one side from the roof, and I had to cut it into fairly short sections to get it down solo and load it.

And I quickly started cutting it from below, with a ladder, after an incredibly stupid attempt at doing from above sent me down to the floor as if a trap door had suddenly been opened. Fortunately I was ok, except for some impressive scrapes and a very colorful bruise.

Which bring us to today; this is how it looked at lunch time, after all the sills were bolted down, with anchor bolts epoxied into the concrete. And by 6;30, I had the first section of wall laid out and nailed, ready for sheathing and to be tilted up. It’s going to have a proper sloped  metal roof this time.

I have new plans for this “shed”; I’ll get to that another time.

It looks like it’s going to be a while before I get to the van’s conversion. Well, actually, the Euro-style windows, the first thing on the agenda, are held up and won’t be arriving until August now. In the meanwhile, I’ve come to love it as a superb hauler for my work. I have all my tools in the forward area, and there’s massive space for hauling lumber, sheathing, etc.. Its load floor is a full 12′ long, and 14′ boards fit perfectly between the front seats. I don’t have to move tools anymore, as they’re locked in the van at night. And I’m getting good at even the smallest parking lots; it has an incredibly tight turning circle. The lack of any side windows is a bit disconcerting in some maneuvers, but a big white van has a certain Moses effect: it parts the waters of traffic.

I’ll show you some more when it’s framed in and roofed.