Monday, August 2, 2010

Stairway to Heaven

Or rather, stairway to the French Doors.

Since we got our beautiful new cooking stove (we love that thing), we've been able to cook the dumplings outside under the tent. The advantage of this is that we don't make a massive mess in the kitchen, a fact that makes R much happier. Cooking with that much grease can be a disaster. Also, it kind of makes the house smell like McDonald's, and you can never really completely get rid of all that grease. It's a bummer.

Now that we can cook outside, we can make all the mess we want, within reason. Plus, you just can't beat the great outdoors when it comes to cooking. It's like being on the open range, cooking up a buffalo for a bunch of cowboys.

Also, we don't have to tap into our supply of household propane, which I've learned is a negligible amount, but enough to give me anxiety. What else is new?

We set up the tent, hook up the tank, and cook away. It involves a little setup because we have to move all the cooking stuff outside, which includes the dumplings. Also, when the dumplings are cooked, we have to bring them back in. All this movement requires going in and out, and we've been using the French doors since this is the most direct route.

The problem is, the doors don't have steps. It seems as if MG may have intended to put a deck there, but never did. Consequently, there is about a 2 foot drop out the door, which can spell disaster when you're holding a tray full of dumplings.

So, N and I set about making some stairs. I bought some decking boards, which were on sale at Britton's, and then used rough cut 2X8 boards, mainly because I had them and they are cheap, to make the frame. I wrestled with the design before finally figuring out how to support the steps. What I essentially did was build concentric boxes and one on top of the other. Lateral face boards and the steps themselves would hold them in place.

Listen to me, like I know what I'm talking about.

I had to paint the wood first, however, and then cut them to the right size. Of course I screwed things up at first, which is standard procedure for me due to my inability to be organized and start with a plan. With some careful tweaking and the miter saw, I was finally able to get the pieces to fit properly, and then N and I set about nailing it together.

I used screws for part of the base, and then we used stainless steel nails for the deck. Those things are hard to nail in, especially through synthetic decking boards, but we did it. N did a great job, and suddenly, we had stairs.

How cool is that? Another project, completed and ready for my Mentors perusal, though he'll probably find a reason to bust my balls. Then again, what is a mentor is for?

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to NRL and RIC for the pics.

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