Two check-offs

Checking off boxes on a to-do list is fun no matter how long the list. I got to check off a couple recently. (Remember that you can click on the photos for a full-size version.)

A gate

There’s a small deck outside a bedroom, and a lady often wheels her man through a door into the fresh air and sunshine. But there is a short flight of stairs in a direct line with the door, and they both worry about the wheelchair accidentally rolling down the stairs. They asked me for a solution, and we discussed several gate options, but the stairs are wide and the deck narrow, so a conventional gate would be cumbersome. We talked about a folding gate, but that seemed complicated. We needed something that would be effective, easy to use, out of the way, and relatively easy to build.

After re-surveying the space, I came up with a design that I could build with four 1x4s, four 2x2s, and some miscellaneous hardware. I sketched it up (yes, on MyPad) then took a trip to Lowe’s for the parts, which cost less than $50, including a nice set of counter-sink bits for my collection.

It took a couple of hours to construct it, most of that time trying to get all of the pieces square working on top of a picnic table. The finished result works pretty well. The balusters (is that really what they are?) on the gate fit across the one at the top of the stair to hold the gate closed. The gate slides open and rests on four long lag screws covered with 1/2″ i.d. schedule 80 PVC, because it is grey instead of white. The lag screws also hold the fourth 1×4 in place to keep the gate from falling off the lag screws.

And, as you can see in the last picture, the design fulfilled one more requirement which was not part of the original specification, but which I added during the observation stage. Daisy is very pleased with it.


The second check-off was the plumbing and wiring of the new stove. After entirely too many weeks, I took a day off to run the gas line and electric connection, getting it all complete and tested just in time for a maiden stove voyage consisting of a bowl of tomato soup and a grilled pepperjack-on-rye sandwich.

I managed to knock together a temporary housing around the back of the stove while we plot the eventual cabinetry and storage which will replace all of the stuff I demolished, as previously described.

And in the middle of it all, it appears that Spring has arrived. We had delightful guests this weekend, two cats, three dogs (including Rainier, pictured) and six humans. It was great fun, and only occasionally raucous. Just the right amount.

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