July 26, 2016 AsktheBuilder Newsletter
Yes, I'm alive! You may have been one who recently emailed me wondering why I've gone dark. It's been at least a month since I've sent out a newsletter.
If you're a new subscriber, this is not a typical newsletter. So hang in there.
A week ago, I got back from a ten-day trip to Cincinnati, OH. I went there for my 50th grade school reunion. It was an epic time meeting up with some friends I've not seen for decades.
Here's a photo of us standing on the steps of the church in just about the same relative positions as we did back 50 years before.
opens in a new windowCLICK HERE to see a larger photo and the original graduation photo of all of us. Everyone is pretty much in the same row, but the spacing is off a little bit.
I'm wearing the bright blue polo shirt that helps make my hair look more blonde than it is. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I decided to drive to and from the reunion. It's close to 1,000 miles from central New Hampshire to Cincinnati, Ohio.
I love driving long distances as it gives me time to think. What's more, I try to take different roads to see different things. US 30 across southern Pennsylvania is a stunning roadway.
I'm an amateur radio operator and our community is helping the National Park Service celebrate its 100th anniversary with the opens in a new windowNational Parks on the Air event.
I decided to try to *activate* eight locations in the ten days. Believe it or not, I was successful. opens in a new windowCLICK HERE to read a story that explains *activating* a site.
The one that meant the most to me on a personal level was the Flight 93 National Memorial. Ever since 9-11, I've wanted to go pay my respects to the forty patriots who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the ongoing battle we have with the radical Islamic terrorists.
Here's a selfie photo I took the first time I visited this hallowed ground two weeks ago today.
I taped a video while I was there and I hope to have it ready for you in the next issue of the newsletter.
Suffice it to say I was quite emotional when standing on the Memorial Plaza just a few hundred feet from the impact crater now marked by a giant boulder of the native bedrock.
I urge you to go visit this solemn site in some of the most gorgeous rural farmland I've ever seen in my life.
What I Learned
My ten-day trip reinforced things I've known for a long time.
Family is by far the most important thing. If you've got strong family bonds, then you know this to be fact.
Friends are second. I made a special effort to connect with some other close friends while in Cincinnati. It's impossible to see all of my Cincinnati friends each trip back because there are simply too many.
I had a delightful time reconnecting with Nick and Mary Beth Motz. I met Nick about thirty-three years ago when he was in high school at St. Xavier. I was doing my first of many projects for his mom and dad, Matt and Ginny.
I was able to spend a great lunch with my dear friend Tom Yunger. Tom now owns the Clifton Skyline Chili. Tom and I worked many a day and late night together.
The memories we talked about where so thick we had to brush them away from the front of our faces. Remember that great line from the Field of Dreams movie?
Everything else after family and friends is a distant THIRD.
If family and friends are not the focus of what you do each day, I suggest you consider changing what you do. When you make family and friends the center of your life, your personal happiness machine will be running on all eight cylinders.
opens in a new windowCLICK HERE to read about two new friends I made while on this trip.
The Deck Project
I'm just about eight hours away from installing the first NEW piece of decking on my massive deck project.
Here's an update photo of what *some* of the three decks looked like this past Sunday.
The new deck you see in the photo is pretty big. It's 24 feet wide and extends out from the existing deck 16 feet. It's 3 feet lower than the upper deck. The upper deck is a whopping 13 feet off the ground below.
When you stand at the end of the new deck, you feel like you can jump right into the lake because you can't really see any ground between you and the water as you look out to the lake.
It's a stunning effect and one that WILL SELL the house when we do decide to move.
I have two existing decks off the back of the house, both are 64 feet wide and extend from the house but 10 feet.
A deck 10-feet wide is pretty much useless. The minimum width for a deck with a table and chairs on it needs to be 12 feet.
The decking you see in the lower right corner is generation one Trex that's in fantastic shape after sixteen years of HARSH New Hampshire sun, snow and ice.
I'm replacing all the existing decking and railings with the magnificent opens in a new windowTrex Transcend product line.
Composite decking has come a very long way and it's finally a product that delivers on its promises.
opens in a new windowCLICK HERE and poke around at the Trex site to see why Kathy and I went with Trex. We're doing a two-toned deck using Lava Rock as the border and Tiki Torch as the main area of decking boards.
Wait until you see the railing and the post caps with the soft low-voltage lighting at dusk!!!!
Tomorrow I should begin to put on the decking on the new deck you see in the above photo.
I guarantee you that you'll be WOWED.
I wanted to add that I SOLD all my old deck railings and all the older Trex decking on Craigslist. In fact, I could have sold five times the amount of Trex decking had I had it!
New Columns for You
Here are a few new columns you should read:
opens in a new windowBlacktop Driveway Sealer Legends and Myths
opens in a new windowBrick Weep Holes - IMPORTANT!!!!
opens in a new windowDeck Flashing Materials
opens in a new windowDeck Screws vs. Nails - Don't Use Nails!!!
Many new videos of what's going on with the deck project are in your future.
I'll be back soon.
Founder - www.AsktheBuilder.com
Do It Right, Not Over!