Another Day in Paradise Concluded

So if you have been following along with today’s events on this somewhat popular full service maybe top 10,000 blog, you are aware that the simple plan to replace a few pieces of decking has morphed into yet another somewhat predictable Coletastrophe. Many of the 2×10’s under the deck allegedly holding it up were not pressure treated and had rotted away, but that’s ok because they weren’t supported anyway because they never buried the posts in concrete. Winning. Current status- clusterfuck:

Once we discovered that there was a great deal of structural support to contend with, Gerald said “might as well deal with your shade problem now, then,” so we are now not only going to fix the problem, but putting on a pergola while we have everything ripped apart. This is what we have based our design on:

In other words, what was a 30 dollar one hour job has now become a $500 dollar adventure. I’m so fucking broken spiritually I just said to hell with it and agreed with whatever Gerald said and just put the lumber on the Lowes card. While at Lowes, however, Gerald called and said “You have a problem with your dog.” I immediately replied “christ what did Thurston do,” and as it turns out, Thurston didn’t do anything, Rosie decided to try to jump the hole in the deck where the boards USED to be and fell through three feet to the ground, injuring her hip. I inspected her when I got home, and she is gimpy and limping, and there did not seem to be any broken bones, but we will be going to the vet tomorrow because of course we are money grows on fucking trees. I’ll be keeping a close eye on her tonight.

On the positive side of things, look at this head of broccoli I just harvested:

I don’t have the emotional strength to check the news tonight. I’m just going to watch netflix and go to bed.

*** Update ***

I forgot the other major news- the town of Bethany just survived a contested election for mayor since (my dad was mayor for like 24 years)- THERE WERE EVEN FOUR SIGNS and even a meet the candidates event (which is amusing since everyone has basically lived here for over 50 years except Furbee, who has only been here 20 years). I have never seen a sign for a mayoral election here. Big happenings in little Bethany- even a write up on the website for the big city tv station in Wheeling. Today was election day, so of course I went down the hill to the town center and voted, and the results are in:

Congratulations to Mayor Elect Shirley Kemp and the new town council!

84 replies
  1. 1
    Sarah Wenk says:

    Oh god. Sleep.

  2. 2

    The broccoli looks great, John!

    Have some cactus flowers –

  3. 3
    Jay says:

    Poor Rosie, wishing her well.

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    All broccoli aspires to be that beautiful.

  5. 5
    MazeDancer says:

    That is some gorgeous broccoli.

    The deck? Maybe you should just rip it all down and make a nice patio at the bottom of some steps. As per your thoughts on Twitter.

    And, very envious of your broccoli. Seems early. Looks delicious.

  6. 6
    Rob says:

    Poor Rosie!

  7. 7
    frosty says:

    I have never been able to grow a head of broccoli like that one. Kudos!

    We recently had our porch rebuilt and it was an anti-Cole experience. One joist needed to be sistered, and when we peeled the aluminum wrap off the posts they were solid and unlike any others on the block. So after a solid weekend with the heat gun scraping 90-year old paint, and another weekend painting with Interlux topside paint ($54 a quart!!) the porch looks great.

    Good luck with the rest of your project. I, too, like the idea you proposed in Twitter.

    ETA The pergola will be a nice addition. We’d like one but don’t have the kind of outdoor space where it would fit in.

  8. 8
    chopper says:

    jesus cole your hand looks like a ham. you should refer to them as “left ham” and “right ham”.

  9. 9
    BeautifulPlumage says:

    Great looking broccoli! Enjoy

    Good thoughts for Rosie 💕

    Are you sure you don’t want to tear the whole deck at this point? Salvage what you can for the new, smaller, shaded porch? It would give the willow tree more room.

  10. 10
    Shana says:

    The news today about the state of your deck is crummy to be sure, but the new idea with the pergola looks really nice.

    Too bad about Rosie. I hope it’s nothing serious.

    I’m watching primary election results here in Virginia. Challenger for Fairfax County Commonwealth’s attorney is running neck and neck with 30 year incumbent. Challenger to Saslaw also surprisingly close. Remember this is the D primary so incumbents being challenged is something new for us.

  11. 11
    Hawes says:

    I freaking TOLD YOU to get a pergola.


  12. 12
    Another Scott says:

    Check your PayPal thingy.

    Hang in there.


  13. 13
    Jay says:

    Fascinating backstory. Trump gets asked abt report that Kim Jong Un's brother was a CIA source. Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in 2017 by North Korea. Trump responds by pledging to Kim that he won't let the CIA do that "under my auspices." cc @benjaminwittes @MaxBoot @ColinKahl— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 11, 2019

  14. 14
    Ohio Mom says:

    A pergola is always nice. It would work on a ground level patio too.

  15. 15
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Jay: apropos of nothing, the word “treason” keeps popping up in my head

  16. 16
    Raven says:

    Maybe it’s just a coincidink that John and I have similar experiences. I’ll just say that Lil Bit seems ok after her bloody wart was removed yesterday . Bohdi developed mobility problems, all that have happened before, and the vet says we are going”full court press” to help him with rimadyl, tramadol and maybe acupuncture. One of the reasons we built the addition on the house was so we could have a king bed both pups could fit in. Because of the problems associated with Bodhi going up and down we are going to stop having him in the rack with us. Lil Bit got banished to the floor over a year ago but this seems to be the capper.

  17. 17
    Kristine says:

    I would love to have a pergola built over my deck. Looking forward to seeing yours.

    I hope Rosie is okay.

    Houses are money pits. Twas ever thus.

  18. 18
    StringOnAStick says:

    We feel like the pergola we added makes it more like a room and we use it more than we ever did before we had it. It is like it provides just enough “room-ness”.

  19. 19
    MomSense says:

    Poor Rosie. I hope she feels better. Sorry about this coletastrophe. Your house is beautiful, though and you are making a really nice life there.

  20. 20
    J R in WV says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    @Jay: apropos of nothing, the word “treason” keeps popping up in my head

    That word appears on my eyelids when I close my eyes. Who are we thinking about when that word appears?


    Sorry to hear about Rosie falling through the construction / demolition zone, glad she appears to be doing OK.

    I’m with those calling for a removal of the deck, building a small back porch, steps, and a patio with a ramada, which is the proper term for what you show in that photo over that deck, which is on the ground, so is more of a wooden patio.

  21. 21

    Okay, you kinda jinxed poor Rosie, saying in the other thread the next thing would be vet bills. Hope she’s okay. As we were discussing it in another thread – CBD oil has worked wonders on both my cat and Bixby’s inflammation and arthritis. Just a thought.

    That is some award-winning broccoli.

  22. 22
    J R in WV says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Those cactus flowers are terrific !! Do your cactii flowers only last one day, like the ones we have in AZ??

    So pretty, delicate, like origami.

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I’m going to have to remove like half my deck some time after Labor Day. Why? Because the masons need room to work. Turns out the chimney (2+ stories of it, all on the exterior) is pulling away from the house, likely because whoever put it in didn’t pour a solid-enough footing. So the firebox (the inside of the fireplace, in the family room) is cracked and if we burn a fire in the fireplace, as we like to do when it’s fall or winter, we stand a chance of burning down the house.

    Don’t ask what a complete teardown and rebuild of a two-plus story brick fireplace costs.

  24. 24
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Cole, you could just chuck it all and open a food truck. Like this:

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Completely unrelated to pergolas and treason, would you kindly email me at my nym at the gmail place at your convenience? I may want to consult, or get a referral, in the near future. No big rush, though.

  26. 26
    NotMax says:

    May be time to temporarily block off the pet door?

  27. 27
    raven says:

    I wrote a long post about the some of the issues John and I have but it got ate. The short version is that Bohdi spent the day at the vet and she wants to go “full court press” on his arthritis. That includes rimadyl, tramadol and no more getting up and down. One of the main reasons we built the addition on our house was to be able to have a king that would be big enough for both pups. Lil Bit has been banned for a while but this will be the first night Bohdi will have to sleep on the floor. The addition cost more than $500.

  28. 28
    Walker says:

    500 dollar? You got of easy. I just had to redo my deck because I could blow holes through it with the garden hose. Materials alone were 7k.

  29. 29
    Shana says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’m guessing more than the complete relining we had to do with ours this spring.

  30. 30
    NotMax says:

    Tune in next time –

    “So that f*cker Steve somehow managed to haul his fat ass up to the top of the pergola and I can’t get him to come down.”


  31. 31
    Laura Too says:

    Oh John, I’m so sorry! I’m in for any vet bills.

  32. 32
    jnfr says:

    Rosie, stop doing that!

    I love the new pergola design. Hope it works out.

  33. 33
    Joelle Park says:

    Did Steve suggest the Purrrgola?

  34. 34
    Raven says:

    am i banned?

  35. 35
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    It might not be the footing. Once the chimney is down, you can check level, and use a laser level to also check the side of the house.

    Every 3 courses or so, brick ties should be installed physically attaching the chimney to the house. If those arn’t installed, the natural settling of the house and seasonal movement of the wood can open up a gap between the house and the chimney.

    If your firebox is lined with firebrick, you can parge the cracks with fire proof mortar. Often the firebrick needs reparging from time to time, like any brick. Often, the fire brick will crack and chip and need replacement.

    I had a fun job several years back where the fireplace foundation was perfectly level, the chimney was perfectly verticle, but the house had settled 5 inches away from the chimney, because they didn’t use brick ties.

  36. 36
    jnfr says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Love the cactus flowers. Thank you so much.

  37. 37
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Good hip healing thoughts for Rosie! And small vet bill thoughts for Cole.

    @Steve in the ATL: Apropos of nothing, ahem. IOW, please kindly put me on your list after SiubhanDuinne.

  38. 38
    The Dangerman says:

    Calling all carpenters to Casa Cole; we’ll call the gathering Habitat For Oh, The Humanity. I’ll bring the chips and my famous guac. We can pitch tents in the yard in all space not taken by the willow.

  39. 39
    NotMax says:


    Coupled with a baby gate at the top of the stairs to stop the pets going up.

  40. 40
    zhena gogolia says:


    Apparently not. Why would you be?

  41. 41
    NotMax says:

    @The Dangerman

    Everyone will be eager to pound away at the left side of the deck; no one will be willing to repair the right.


  42. 42
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jay: Brick ties are installed. The mason says they may help in case of a windstorm (we’re in sort-of hurricane country) but they don’t do anything in case of settling. He also says the firebox is not repairable – on inspection last November he said “don’t you dare light a fire in here.”

  43. 43
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @NotMax: We’d build a round deck, to hold our circular firing squad.

  44. 44
    Barbara says:

    @Gin & Tonic: This is more or less the point at which I would consider a gas stove or insert, which I’ve had going on 25 years.

  45. 45
    Starfish says:

    You called it in your earlier post when you said that the surprise home repair would be followed by a surprise vet bill. It would have been more useful if you had used your fortunetelling skills to win the lottery though.

  46. 46
    CaseyL says:

    @Laura Too: Me, too!

    I love the pergola, or ramada: either way, it will look stunning. And it’d make a great sukkot – or, since you’re not Jewish, a lovely Thanksgiving booth (weave leaves and flowers and such through the upper crossbeams and decorate the verticals).

    Or you could go completely insane and plant some climbing vines nearby. Not kiwi, though. For the love of all that is holy, don’t plant kiwi.

  47. 47
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    That I’d be up for. On the supervision side.


    Have a relatively straightforward carpentry repair project out back of the cottage which have been putting off for more than a year. At this point the thought of gripping and wielding a hammer makes me wince. One of these days…

  48. 48
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: yeah, sorry about that! Got a migraine Thursday night and slept until my first conference call on Friday, then spent the weekend repatriating an accountant who somehow despite his total innocence did a couple of years in a Brazilian prison, then headed straight back to the airport to come to lovely BFE, Texas, which has undoubtedly increased my cancer risk by several thousand percent.

    But enough about me—how are you?

  49. 49
    Skepticat says:

    Love Coletastrophe (new blog name?), the pergola, and the broccoli, and I’m seriously envious of how lucky you are it’s only $500 or so (I’m looking at much the same thing for about ten times that here in the Bahamas). Sending good thoughts for Rosie’s physical problems and your emotional ones.

  50. 50
    zhena gogolia says:

    Did anybody watch the Tonys? I’m catching up with them on YouTube. The Oklahoma revival really looks interesting.

  51. 51
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @zhena gogolia: I don’t watch musicals about red states.

    Full disclosure: I also don’t watch musicals about blue or purple states.

  52. 52
    satby says:

    @ John: looks like the pergola I had on my deck. I still needed more shade, so the year after that went up I roofed it with the grey polycarbonate panels. Not clear ones, that just adds to the heat. Edit: $500 just for lumber? Because that’s cheap!
    @CaseyL: I planted morning glory, which looked beautiful winding up the pergola, but I pruned it pretty ruthlessly so that it didn’t smother anything else.

  53. 53
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: mission accomplished.

  54. 54
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Better than that – yikes! I hope things improve, which I imagine will begin once you depart BFE Texas. Six minute hell is wearing on me, I admit.

    @Laura Too: How nice to see you posting. I hope things are good in your world.

  55. 55
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Ouch, can you fit a wood insert, gas insert or maybe a pellet stove?

    The auger/hopper fed pellet stoves are popular up here because some will run for 12 hours off one hopper, so in winter, you can use it as a main heat source, with out the care and feeding of a woodstove.

  56. 56
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Steve in the ATL: you haven’t seen Lin Manuel Miranda’s “New Jersey!”?

  57. 57
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I have not, though I’m a big Springsteen fan

  58. 58
    Jay says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    How about Bollywood, London or Paris?

  59. 59
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Jay: alas, no!

  60. 60
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Jay: The fireplace is not used for heat, it is used for ambience.

  61. 61
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Gin & Tonic: FYWP gave ambience the red-squiggly-underline. Is it ambiance?

    I thank my lucky stars that Steve in the Bqhatevwr is here to render an authoritative opinion on matters lexical.

  62. 62
    Jay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Yeah, nothing like a real wood fire.

  63. 63
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I am here to serve

  64. 64
    rikyrah says:

    Oh Rosie😢😢😢
    But, that broccoli👏👏👏

  65. 65
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steve in the ATL: So, serve, then. Ambience or ambiance?

  66. 66
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Gin & Tonic: ambiance

    Ambien is a sleeping drug, and ambient is an adjective

  67. 67
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    My measly take here. Was not impressed. The Oklahoma number did look interesting, but also strangely unpolished.

    Some day might rant about how the mics all the singers use now have (IMO) led to a subduing of emotional impact and narrowed the ineffable two-way energy-driven connection between audience and actor.

    /old fart kvetching

  68. 68
    seefleur says:

    After a hellacious day that involved my daily commute increasing by 30+miles (bad accident, detoured onto the back roads of Maine), reading this post made me laugh, thereby decreasing my stress levels by a humongous amount. Thank you! And really, why wouldn’t you want to do the pergola sooner rather than later? Seems like a win-win that will overall save you $$. Gerald sounds like one smart cookie – you should keep listening to him.

  69. 69
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Gin & Tonic: My vote is ambience, in case you’ll consider a declaration from an opinion provider other than Steve in the bqhwatevr. Citation :


  70. 70
    NotMax says:

    @Steve in the ATL

    Well, technically, that musical is set in a time preceding statehood.



    When the show was trying out in New Haven it was titled “Away We Go.” Hammerstein had originally wanted to call it “Oklahoma,” but the name was rejected because it was felt that the audience might confuse it with “Oakies” in [The] Grapes of Wrath. When the show arrived on Broadway, the title was changed back to “Oklahoma!” this time with an exclamation point for emphasis. Source

  71. 71
    Jay says:

    Linda Fairstein is trapped in a dilemma. If the men known as #CentralPark5 are innocent, then the police may have coerced them to “confess.” She refuses to accept the latter, so she’s stuck insisting that these men are guilty of something. 1/— David Heath (@davidhth) June 11, 2019

  72. 72
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: FML that was supposed to be a link.


  73. 73
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Jay: Linda Fairstein is guilty of being an asshole. Case closed.

  74. 74
    zhena gogolia says:


    Oklahoma isn’t my favorite show (despite Drake), but I was impressed by the different take the singers had and the way their change of the style pointed up how well made the songs are.

  75. 75
    Jackie says:

    @zhena gogolia: Santino Fontana won leading actor for Tootsie! He went to school with my kids. He was in the same theater group with my daughter. We, in Richland, WA are extremely proud of him!

  76. 76
    Suzanne says:

    AHHHHH ROSIE GIRL! I hope she is okay! She is my favorite Cole pet.

    As for the deck… sorry. Can I recommend Trex or some other engineered decking? You’ll love not having to sand and refinish.

  77. 77
    Jay says:


    It’s a long thread making an ironclad case that she was an asshole, is an asshole, and will always be an asshole.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    @zhena gogolia

    Cute story from when I directed a production of Oklahoma!> One of those cases when the set was still being finished right up until the house lights went down on opening night (but that’s another tale).

    Anyhoo, Ali Hakim’s blocking included slamming his palms down onto a porch railing for emphasis during It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage! the first time he sings the words “20 minutes ago,” on the word twenty. What the actor didn’t take into account was that the porch railing had been painted white maybe a half hour before.

    What ensued was him singing “20 minutes a – – go</b?” while holding up his hands to look at the wet paint on his palms.

    He recovered well immediately after the initial shock and gamely continued on.


  79. 79
    NotMax says:

    Arrgh. Code fix.

    @zhena gogolia

    Cute story from when I directed a production of Oklahoma!. One of those cases when the set was still being finished right up until the house lights went down on opening night (but that’s another tale).

    Anyhoo, Ali Hakim’s blocking included slamming his palms down onto a porch railing for emphasis during It’s a Scandal! It’s a Outrage! the first time he sings the words “20 minutes ago,” on the word twenty. What the actor didn’t take into account was that the porch railing had been painted white maybe a half hour before.

    What ensued was him singing “20 minutes a – – go?” while holding up his hands to look at the wet paint on his palms.

    He recovered well immediately after the initial shock and gamely continued on.


  80. 80

    @Cheryl Rofer: Cacti are done blooming here. I went to The Huntington Desert Garden on Sunday morning, only saw one bloom.

  81. 81
    Joshua Norton says:

    The new release of Armstead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” on Netflix is generating good reviews. That should take your mind off things for a while.

    PS. $500 is a pretty good price for a new back porch. I just paid that much for a junkman to haul away the contents a normal sized storage closet full of stuff he probably resold.

  82. 82
    Doug R says:


    I freaking TOLD YOU to get a pergola.


    Maybe it’s living in the Pacific Northwest, but I don’t understand having a “roof” that doesn’t keep the rain off. Unless you grow eating grapes off it.

  83. 83
    zhena gogolia says:


    He seems really cool. I never go to the theater, but I like him!

    @NotMax: LOL

  84. 84
    Robert Camner says:

    $30 for an hour of labor? $500 for a pergola? Where I am (Tacoma, WA, not exactly Seattle or SF), you’d pretty much need to add a 0 to those numbers (OK, I exaggerate a bit, maybe only multiply by 5 rather than 10)

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