The weather app on my phone is torturing me

In the foreground the old boards, in the background the new ones. In the far background, you can see some new ones that we've stained.

In the foreground the old boards, in the background the new ones. In the far background, you can see some new ones that we’ve stained.

For the last few weekends, we’ve been engaged in a project.Dublin

The deck on the back of our house has two layers of boards, running perpendicular to each other. I don’t know whether this is standard deck construction, but that is what we have. I suspect the top layer is newer than the other. When we bought the house 21 years ago, the deck was a roofed, screened-in porch. Since the roof was removed, the top layer of deck boards haven’t weathered well. So we’re replacing them with new, treated boards. We’re also spacing them a bit so we don’t get standing water on the deck any more.

We’re doing it in stages. We’ll tear up a section — a tedious process that involves various implements of destruction (hammers, flat bar, crow bar, my old cat’s paw I’ve had since I worked construction while in college, and occasionally my reciprocating saw). Then we clean and repaint the boards underneath. Then we buy enough lumber to do about ten rows. Then we repeat. We’re a little bit past halfway done now.

Of course, the last couple of weekends have been brutal, thanks to the weather. What, I must ask, will August be like if May is like this?here

But it’s made worse by the way the weather app on my iPhone keeps taunting me. I keep consulting it with the thought, “Let’s see whether the heat is going to try to kill me again today.”

For some reason, when I tap to call it up, it does not default to the weather where I am. Oh, no. The first thing I see is the weather in Dublin. So on Saturday, I was told the high would be 67, and the next day it would be 63, and the day after that 58, with a fine sprinkling of God’s generous rain. I could almost hear it add, “And would ye be after havin’ a Guinness after yer toil today, me lad?”

When we were in Ireland, the difference between the weather here and there was not that huge. A little cooler, and I was glad most days to have taken my water-resistant winter coat, although some days I took it off for a short while. Decent weather for the end of winter and start of spring.

But now, it’s like being on different planets. Ireland is the sane, normal, temperate planet. And West Columbia is on the one ruined by greenhouse gases. I’m reminded of the line from “The Matrix” to the effect that “It was us that scorched the sky.”

Last week was absurd for May. This coming week will be more so. Why must we live like this?

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11 thoughts on “The weather app on my phone is torturing me

  1. Doug T

    My wife and I purchased DNA kits to help trace our lineage. I keep hitting dead ends…a bunch of poor folks who didn’t record much and apparently fooled around a bit. My wife found a string of relatives going back to the 1600’s from a small village in Scotland. It’s 53 degrees there now.

    Remind me again why we came to settle in these hot Sandhills? Haggis is even starting to sound enticing. On second thought I’ll just have an iced tea and relax under the AC.

  2. Karen Pearson

    Just remember, here in Columbia before air conditioning we used to keep doors and window open to catch the cooling breezes blowing off of hell.

  3. Norm Ivey

    Sounds like you’ve probably changed the default location on your app. And if your deck was a deck before it was a screened porch, I think maybe the top layer of boards was to seal the floor to keep bugs out. And since you mentioned the UK, that’s one of the places where climate change may actually lead to the region become cooler–more like Canada.

    We’ll be flying to Denver and driving back for our vacation this year. We’re staying 5 days in Cripple Creek (yes, THAT Cripple Creek). Here’s the current temp at the KOA where we’ll be staying.

  4. David T

    Doing your deck like that is 100% wrong. You’re doubling up the weight on the hangers. Also, if the boards below the new boards are bad there’s nothing stopping your top layer from falling between the floor joists. I’ve never seen anyone not but up boards with each other, also you’re not staggering the seams. You would have been better off pulling off the top layer and laying a rug over the bottom layer. There’s no way this will pass code on a home inspection.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Well, I just need it to hold up a couple of years until I can afford a new deck. I think the underlying boards are pretty strong, although they look weathered. And I figured that boards ACROSS those boards were safer, in terms of distributing weight, than a carpet. If one of the underlying boards gave way, it seems a person would be way more likely to fall through with a carpet…

      I assumed the weight was OK because I’m just replacing boards. Except I’m spacing them out to allow rain to run through.

      And I AM staggering the seams. That is, I’m alternating them. The old boards had no seams; they were all one-piece. The length is 14 feet. My truck won’t hall 16-foot boards, so I’m using an 8-foot with a 6-foot, and alternating where the gap occurs.

      Basically, in each instance, I’m trying to do it a little better than it was done the first time.

      But now you have me worried…

      1. David T

        If the boards underneath are strong it’s probably fine. I’d just look underneath once in a while to see if anything looks like it’s pulling loose from the house or the end of the deck. I’d say you’re safe from the looks of things unless you put 20 people on the deck. But your floor joists are running right to left in the picture, the first course of boards is running up and down spreading the load and then your top layer isn’t really providing much except maybe in a weak spot on the first layer. As far as staggering, I don’t mean every other, I mean make it look like it’s not a repeatable pattern… stagger the spices so you have at least 3-4 boards before the splice lines up on the same length. I’ve seen worse, I saw a guy who put down laminate flooring by himself…. he had seams the length of the room at 4 feet, 8 feet and 12 feet with a 1 foot piece at the end of the room.

        1. Mark Stewart

          I think Brad’s fine with his project. The boards he’s using are thin and likely won’t add much weight. Since these top boards are laid over the original decking I don’t think the staggering or the spacing matter – its just cosmetic. From the location of the electric meter it doesn’t look like the deck is high off the ground so even less cause for worry.

          The only thing I might suggest is going under the deck with a screwdriver and poke around at the areas where the original decking lays on the joists – if there is little or no rot at this vulnerable location I’d proceed with the crafty clean-up project. It’s hard to get any length of life out of any exposed deck parts in the Columbia climate – unless one goes with the “better” tropical woods – so this seems like a reasonable way to refresh this deck for a number of years.

  5. Bart


    Since this is a temporary fix for 2 – 3 years, what you are doing is fine. If no one has broken through the existing wood on the deck, then it is likely it just looks rough on the exterior. I would do as Mark suggests and check with a screw driver on the most obvious places that looks as if it may have rot in the board.

    Since this was a covered and screened porch with a wood floor, based on the photos of your house, unless the builder was taking short cuts, it is likely the wood used for the flooring was treated. What most don’t realize is treated lumber needs to be retreated every few years in order to maintain the lumber.

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