Pergola Update

PergolaOur house is rather on the small side – 900 square-feet. Which is fine; two people, two dogs and a cat don’t really need more than that. Our studio/workshop is 16’x24′, more than ample.

However, with cramped quarters itis easy to get cabin fever. Yes, cabin fever in AZ… with the heat (even a dry heat) it is easy to hibernate indoors during the summer months.

As September ushers in autumn (and my birthday) the temperatures here are still hovering in the high 90’s.Even with temps hitting 110, I would seek the outdoors under our patio which is a mere seven-feet wide. The misting system offered some respite from the unforgiving heat, but there was no shelter from the morning eastern sun.

We needed shelter. For less than $600 I was able to mock up this pergola – yes, I have used the definition of ‘pergola’ very loosely. With the invaluable assistance of Liz’s nephew Mike, we threw this baby up in two weekends. I wrote about the first weekend, sinking the six posts.

Last Saturday, Liz and I drove to the Apache Junction Home Depot and charged $600 on her credit card. It’s interest free for the next 24 months… if that is any consulation. $500 of that was directly related to the pergola, either materials or supplies such as reciprical saw blades, lag bolts and silicone roofing caulk. I bought a new Ryobi 18V Lithium Impact Driver out of my own cash – which was paid for by my semi-annual profit sharing check that arrived this week.

The heat was formidable last Saturday, hovering near three digits. Add to that the uncommon humidity pushed in by the monsoons and hurricanes that dorves the recent rains, and it was brutal. Mike and I drank a gallon of Gatorade between us, and I didn’t pee once.

Due to the heat I was planning on merely tying the roof joists in and then relaxing. Instead, we pushed ourselves to the edge of our endurance and actually got the roof on. The entire structure is either lag bolted or screwed together – no nails. Monsoon season brings some vicious winds, so I admit that I did go overboard. Overkill is my middle name.

I still have some minor touches – adding the soffet to the two ends, for instance. With the soffet, I will be able to install the LED ribbon lighting around the perimeter of the roofline. With this addition, we have effectively added an outdoor room – you have undoubtedly heard of a room without a roof, this is a room without a wall. Any walls. I will be adding bamboo style shades to the south and east sides to shield us from the daytime sun.

All of this in time for our company from the East Coast next month – my friend Gerry Moore is dropping by for a visit early in October. I have finally accrued time off at work, and the pergola will offer us shelter as we crack open a fifth of fine single malt. I was able to convince my boss to allow me a day off, even though it is during a major reset and company policy is “no days off” during the reset.

The following week, Mark Krull is dropping in for a few days. As the reset should be complete by then, hopefully I will be able to get another day off.

In two days I turn 53-years old. As long as I don’t have a heart-attack between now and then, I will have averted the “Johnson Curse”. I will have time to contemplet the next project(s) including a bar under the old patio space – a Key West theme.  And a storage shed. And enclosing the carport so that the space is secure.

Until then, I am enjoying the cool breeze and shelter from the sun under the pergola, watching yellow-bellied birds the size of finches fly to the bucket I use as a catch-basin for the water from the air-conditioner drip line, and the variety of doves that regularly maraud our yard. There are also colorful butterflies, and vultures circling (I hope not waiting for me to kick), and every now and then a hawk soaring overhead.

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