The New Shed - Phase 3

This part was what I expected to be the quickest and easiest, but it has turned out to be the longest and most difficult job so far - removing the grass. My plan was to rent a mini excavator for a day, scrape the organics away, and make the ground ready for the foundation.

August 12 - String run for a guide

So, I contacted the guy to get the machine, and he said that he might be able to do the job cheaper, since they are used to this type of work, and operating the machinery. He came by and looked it over, we discussed what he would do, and scheduled a day. A couple hours later I realized that I didn't get a price quote. The figure he gave me was double what I had budgeted, so it was back on me.

August 12 - Sods rolled and stored for future compost

Since the day off work I was going to use for this machine operation was now pretty much over, I was forced to manually strip the sods whenever I could find a few minutes to spare, when the weather was cooperating. Where July had been one of the hottest months on record, August was one of the wettest. We also had to be out of town a couple of times during the month.

August 16 - Weapons of grass destruction

After using some string to outline an area 2 feet larger than the footprint of the foundation, an edger was used to cut the grass into strips of about 1 foot wide. At first I rolled them up, but this was too dirty and strenuous a job, especially when the grass was damp, so I began cutting them into squares and carrying them to the pile.

August 16 - Making progress

My wife took over most of the cutting duties, but I still have to pry the sods up,  relocate them, and rake the ground. My right hip started to give out on me, so I'm now working with my left side. Many times I've wished that I'd come up with the money to have a machine do all this, but the end is near.

August 16 - Only a few more feet to go.

Next up I have to do some level work to determine my top of grade, and then dig out for the footing. After that it is crushed stone, insulation, etc and the form. That is, if this old body holds together long enough.

The Entire Story To Date:

The New Shed - Phase 2
The New Shed - Phase 1


Game Over Ingress

Ingress is an augmented realty game which uses a smart phone's GPSr to turn certain locations into things called "Portals ". A person has to physically go to a portal to participate. Once there, you can hack, capture, attack or link, depending on your intentions and which faction controls the portal.

While it was still in beta, back in 2012, I requested an invite, and received one that December. I downloaded the app, and completed training, but there were no portals around here to interact with, so I would have to submit some.

Being winter, I decided to wait until the weather warmed up and the snow melted before taking the required photos of potential portal locations. After waiting a couple more months, one was activated, and I was able to capture it for the Enlightened faction, and do some hacking for inventory items.

After a while the second one was available, but it wasn't much fun playing alone, so I didn't do much with the game. Then, about a year later, I got notice that someone from the Resistance had taken over my poorly defended portals. This got me back playing more regularly, but there wasn't much I could do against them at my low level.

One day this summer I heard that a much higher level player from my team would be in town, and planned on retaking one of the portals. We met at the location, and I had my first encounter with others who were playing the game too. I got more involved with the community, and started introducing family and friends to it. The game was beginning to get fun and interesting.

Then, a couple days ago, I got an email from the people who operate the game, accusing me of cheating. They would not say what I had done wrong, and provided no means of defending myself, just an order to stop whatever it was I was doing, or have my account disabled.

So, here I am at Level 3 of 16, having played the game for about 20 months, when other people can get beyond Level 5 in a week, and I'm accused of cheating and generally being a despicable person who is taking all the fun out of the game for others. If I was cheating, then I was doing a very poor job of it, considering how slowly I have been advancing.

Since I know that I am not running any helper apps, or anything out of the ordinary, there is nothing I can stop doing. My conclusion was, that to keep from being kicked out of the game, I had to stop playing the game. With that decision made, I deleted the app from my phone, and severed all connections to the community.

It is only a game. I will not put up with being accused of wrongdoing and having my character attacked for a mere casual pastime. It is especially unacceptable since there is no crime specified, and there is no means of proving your innocence. I was assumed guilty and sternly warned.

Ingress, as far as I am concerned, it is game over.


The New Shed - Phase 2

Spring in Newfoundland can be rather cool and wet. First the ground was soggy from all the melting snow, and then all the rain. By the end of June 2014, however, the weather changed, and we entered an unusually long stretch of hot, dry weather. This allowed the back lawn to dry out, and firm up enough to try moving the metal shed.

The first job was to move the fabric shed. It had to be shifted closer to the house to make some space. After that, I gathered up 8 junks of wood of approximately the same diameter to use as rollers, some blocks for a fulcrum, and a 2"x6"x4' board for a lever.

The shed up on rollers and rotated. July 12, 2014

Using the lever I was able to lift the now empty shed up off the corner blocks, and place the rollers under it on two sides. Then, using the lever, I rotated the shed 90 degrees, and pushed it. The effort required was easier than I expected as we moved it from the back corner of the lawn to the back of the driveway next to the other shed. The corner blocks were put back under, and the shed reloaded.

The lever and I put that shed in its place.

Then my sister and niece came to visit for a couple of weeks, and no more work was done. After they returned home to Ontario, I worked out what the GPS coordinates for the new shed corners were, and invited my boss to give me a hand staking them out. They checked within tolerance for size and square. I was ready for the town inspection.

The corner stakes as of August 7.

My wife called down, and discovered that not all my documents were on file, and that the preliminary building permit had expired after a year. We had to redo everything and pretty much start from scratch with the town.

When the inspector dropped by, and looked things over. He said that the floor area was acceptable, but that new regulations stated that the height could not be over 4m (13') now. That would flatten my roof, and make the upstairs storage area pretty much impossible.

After chatting some more, and looking around, he noted that there were no houses back there, only a couple neighbour sheds which were barn style, and quite a bit larger than the one I had planned. It might be possible to get around the height restriction in this case. He would get back to me.

2 neighbours barn-style sheds, and my 3 old ones.

A couple days later we got the call to come get the building permit. The height as submitted would be allowed, on stipulation that the shed was shifted half a meter toward the street. I didn't have a problem with that, and immediately went down and paid my $25. Now the real work can begin.

The Entire Story To Date:

The New Shed - Phase 1

The New Shed - Phase 1

There are three small sheds in my backyard. The 8' x 16' wooden one I helped build with my father in my teens, about 35 years ago. This shed has a workbench, and most of my tools. It is my workshop, and a storage place for good bits of wood and parts.

A change in the environment has seen a good part of the backyard become very soggy for much of the summer, and so the floor of this shed has rotted out. It has been repaired, but the rot has spread to the point where I don't expect the structure to last much longer. I can't even use it during the winter, because freezing and thawing of snow causes the door to be iced shut until spring.

The old shed in February 2014

The second shed is an 10' x 8' metal one, that we put up about 20 years ago to supplement the wooden one. It held things like bicycles, lawnmower, kid's outdoor toys, and so on. It was assembled on a wooden base that has started to succumb to the same rot issues, and the metal is breaking and bending. Another winter with lots of snow, or a few more storms with the wind stressing it, and it is going to disintegrate.

The third shed is one of those 8' x 10' yellow fabric on metal poles things from Canadian Tire. It was bought as a place to put my motorcycle out of the weather, when I got into that about 4 years ago. These things are not made to last, especially in the conditions we experience. I have to tie it to concrete blocks, and the truck, when the winds really pick up. They are known to turn into stringless kites. Remember the melt water? My motorcycle was also locked into place until spring.

Motorcycle slowly being released from the ice in April 2014.

So, here I am with 3 sheds that are on the verge of falling apart at about the same time, and they need to be replaced ASAP. The idea of building a large shed/garage/workshop has been tossing around in my head for about 10 years, but it is a scary, and expensive undertaking. I started taking talking to people about their sheds, and the common theme was, "you can't build a shed too big". Everyone wished they had gone larger.

February 2014 snow around the 2 small sheds.

In the spring of 2013 I got a copy of the town's regulations for accessory buildings, and did the calculations to determine that I would be able to construct a building of a maximum size of 20' x 28, by 17' high. It would have a concrete foundation to avoid future problems with rotten wood, and a narrow attic space for storage. In the main area there would be a small room I could heat to store all my computer gear and have a place to work all year.

My job is in land surveying, so I'm familiar with CAD programs in general, but not designing buildings specifically. Looking around the internet, I found a free 2D CAD program called LibreCAD that I could use to get the ideas from my head to paper. With my background, it wasn't too difficult to figure out, and I eventually had something I could print out. Then I made up a plot plan to show the town where the new building would be located.

My plans for the new shed/garage/workshop.

Contacting the town again with my plans, I was informed that I needed to stake out the area where the new shed would be located, and someone would come by to look it over. Well, the metal shed was occupying one corner of that space, and I would need it to continue holding stuff until the new one was finished. It had to be relocated before staking.

By now, being busy at work and life in general, it was getting late in the year, and thoughts of construction were postponed until 2014. At least the ball was rolling.