Theoretically Nothing Could Go Wrong

Today was the day to break out the new saw and get to work on the railings. I set everything up had the first piece of wood on the saw and then hesitated. Theoretically I couldn’t get hurt but Murphy’s Law, popped into my head.  The saw came mostly assembled from the manufacturer but what if the blade wasn’t securely attached, all those what if’s.

I decided to proceed cautiously. I called a neighbor and asked if she had a minute to stop over. I asked her to just stand there while I made the first cut, if everything went fine she could leave, if not and I was severely injured to please call for help. Plus, I figured it was smart to let someone know I was about to operate a powerful saw in case of an emergency.

Murphy avoided me today and I was able to get work done without injury. 🙂

This was what the deck looked like when we bought the house.
This was what the deck looked like when we bought the house.

The railings were supposed to be completed along with the ramps and repairs to the deck itself before I moved in. That didn’t happen, the ramps weren’t even functional. Turns out the first man to be hired for the job wants to be able to build decks but doesn’t really know how. The second handyman knew what he was doing and made the proper repairs to the deck and ramps but when it came to the railings he said it was going to cost a lot and we needed materials not on hand. He left and told us to call him when we wanted him to return.

At this point my son threw in the towel. I suggested I had a plan if he would help me. He’s been busy so I decided I could tackle the job on my own.

What I’ve been living with since.

This is what is considered a proper deck railing.


To put up railings like this I would need more than just the one saw I purchased plus I wanted to use up the excess lumber the first man purchased with my son’s money.

When I decided where to start it seemed most prudent to close off the landing for the deck. This spot bothers me especially in the winter as I’ve been concerned someone, or my chair, would slide on ice and one of us would be face down in the drive.

deck rails3

Before I go any further let me tell you this job wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it would be.  Having a second pair of hands to hold one end of the wood while I attached the other would have been nice. Instead, I used a chair, a bucket and my legs to try and prop up one side while working on the other.

Since I had several 2 X 4 pieces of lumber here that was supposed to be used on the deck in some manner I decided to hang them horizontally. This allows me to complete the job with just a saw and drill.

This is the view as I come out of my house and face the landing for the ramps. It still needs a couple pieces but I’m not sure if I have enough wood to do everything and decided to move to another section of the deck.

deck rails4

Already I feel more secure on this landing. I decided to put seven inches between each of the 2 X 4s.  I wanted safety but I didn’t want the boards so close together that it looked like a weird fortress.

Besides myself I worry about the children on the deck falling off. The older ones, as long as they aren’t chasing each other are good about being careful but the baby is another matter.

deck rails1

I figured this would be a one afternoon job, maybe if I had an extra pair of hands. Holding a board steady that is six or six and a half feet was a challenge.  My one worry before I started this was that I would lose my balance and fall. To avoid that scenario I worked from the top (where I wouldn’t need to bend over) down.

With my youngest granddaughter entering full-day kindergarten this fall I’ve been asking my son and his wife about letting me have my grandson for a full day every other week.  They believe my grandson will be too much for me to handle, he won’t.  I do have to attend to a couple safety measures if he and I are going to spend entire days alone – especially after he suffered a broken leg on a playground slide a couple of weeks ago.

broken leg

His mother spotted this half door sitting in my basement. She thought it might work as a gate to block the stairs leading to the second floor. It’s too small but when I measured the opening to the stairs on the deck I found it’s a perfect fit.

deck gate

Once I’ve sanded this door down and restored it I’ll add hinges and hang it from the left side at the top of these stairs. And use a hook and eye on the stair side so people, like the mailman, can open it but my grandson won’t be able to.

deck stairs

That pile you see down in the drive is the leftover material the first guy thought he needed for the ramps. That’s where I am getting all the wood to build the railings. I’m looking forward to having that cleaned up almost as much as I am having railings.

Anyway, once I have the gate blocking the stairs and figure out a way to keep my grandson from trying to climb to the second floor inside I think my son and his wife will at least give me a chance to have my afternoons with little guy.

I’ve used up all the 2 X 4s in that pile in the drive so tomorrow I’ll be going through the pile of lumber I found under the shed from the last owner. I hope to find enough to finish the rails this weekend. I have lots more projects waiting for both me and my new saw. 🙂

I’ll be working on those railings this weekend? Do you have something a bit more fun planned for your weekend?



  1. Good lord, you are a goer 🙂 I could never have attempted that on my own! I love the gate/door.
    This weekend all I am doing is wrapping soaps, about 250, and making more so not alot of fun 🙂


    • I’m sure you could have, you are very talented. I wish I knew what the previous owner had been thinking. They cut down that door then never used it. They also started to set up a bathroom in the basement, clawfoot tub and all, yet part of it is still just a dirt floor.

      Sounds like your soap business is growing quickly. Congratulations. Hopefully soon you and Roger will be able to work from home and have enough to live comfortably.


  2. A lot of talking lol!! My mother is staying with us over the weekend and middle daughter and her hubbie have come up from their new home, too, so it’s full house and a lot of chatting over endless cups of tea, though I think some of us are going sailing, too, so yes, fun… 🙂 Not especially constructive, but fun!


  3. You inspire me!! Not to do repairs … Ha what a mess that wou.d be … But to keep moving on my packing and dis carding and giving away. You are such a do-er!! That work you have done looks great.


    • I’m not sure how putting up rails has inspired you but I’m happy you found inspiration through my antics. 🙂 I’m looking forward to hearing more about your new home.


  4. wow, again. Great progress going on.

    You have a very good eye, making those boards level (or did you use a level?). A lot of folks do not.

    Gate or not, wouldn’t that deck railing allow too much space in between the boards for the little guy to slide through?

    Hope his leg is healing well.

    It would be lovely for you both to have a day alone together, each week, but..those little guys are very fast?

    and by the way, very glad you had a neighbour over while you tested out the new saw. As you say, good to be careful.


    • I eyeballed most of the boards but did check them with a level app on my phone.

      As for little guy on the deck, he won’t be out there unsupervised, I just want to prevent any accidental falls. No matter how close together they might be I expect he will attempt to climb them like everything else he comes across. Just a few days before the accident on the slide mom found him dancing on top of his dresser. 🙂

      Yes, little guy is fast that’s why I want to find a gate for the inside stairs. We’ve taught him he can’t go upstairs but if he’s here alone with me I want to be sure he can’t decide to do it anyway if I need to use the bathroom or something. Just trying to anticipate all possibilities.


  5. You are very wise to take precautions. It’s amazing what you can do with two hands and a lot of clever props. Are you sure none of your readers lives close enough to lend a hand? I’m sure we would be willing if we did. Poor little guy with the broken leg, and it just goes to show it can happen under the very best of supervision on the safest play equipment. If the deck isn’t safe for him, I’m sure you can find fun yard activities and things to do in the house with him and just close the door on the deck while he is visiting. He will love the time alone with your full attention!


    • I haven’t heard of any readers who live close but I probably could have called on a neighbor to help. The neighbor boys used to be here at the first sign I was doing anything outside wanting to help but lately they have been otherwise preoccupied.

      Little guy not only was being supervised but because that slide was tall he was on his big cousins lap while mom was at the bottom recording it on her phone and waiting to catch him. It hasn’t stopped him, this week he headed right for the slide in my yard. 🙂


  6. I agree with all of the commenters. You are a go-getter and nothing gets in the way of you moving forward. From the pictures, it also looks like to me that there is enough space under the bottom rail for a little one to crawl through/under. Maybe you could put up some kind of netting or other material there for a year or two until the baby gets bigger. I imagine that his parents are feeling a little cautious right now since the baby just broke his leg.


    • Somethings get in my way. Our clear weather changed to rain. 🙂 Seriously, I thank, or blame, my grandparents who insisted I could do anything I put my mind to I would just do it differently than others

      That space you noticed at the bottom will be gone when I’m done. if you look at the landing to the ramps you can see one section has a painted board, the rest will look like that. There is no way to make everything injury proof I’m just looking to slow little guy down. He’s independent, wonder where he gets that> 😉 and hates to hold our hand or be carried so he attempts to run ahead of us up on to the deck.


    • I took another look and there is a smaller space in the finished project. Good luck. Toddlers, and from my experience, little boys are difficult to manage. I had two very active ones that lived at my house. 🙂


      • Yes, boys are definitely different than girls even when you try to raise them the same way. Little guy takes after his father who kept me on my toes for years. 🙂


  7. I didn’t get to comment right away after reading this but I’m glad I waited for your replies. That little guy sounds like my sister. She was on everything and you couldn’t keep up with her. She had 7 head wounds by the time she was 3. A couple that bled profusely and required a doctors attention. She was dancing in a 4th floor window of the playroom of our building and mom wondered why everyone was looking up. Somehow, by Grace, she is still among us. 🙂 Good luck keeping up with that little guy. I’d say put some chicken wire across the fencing but I’d bet he would climb that with his toes. 🙂 You’ve done a lot of work there and it will all get finished in it right time. I wish I lived closer. My sister was here this week and helped me clean up the yard. It was such a wonderful feeling. I’m still working too so no time to write much. Can’t concentrate.


    • I’m sure I’m going to need lots of luck keeping up with him but I do so enjoy my time with him.

      Luckily, there haven’t been any head wounds…your sister is very fortunate to still be here. And I’m glad she was able to visit and give you a hand on the yard work. You give to so many it’s nice to see them give back to you.

      How is your son? I was thinking about you and him this week as my son is once again laid off and will be moving in with me for the month of August because he can’t find any temp work where he is but found a good paying job that will at least allow him to keep up on the bills. He’s offered to help me with some work around the house and yard while he’s here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry to hear your son can’t find work again. Mine is staying with his ex-wife and helping her dad finish up the remodel on the school being turned back into a house for her. He goes and does construction work for her and tech work for room and board. I’m happy to have the place to myself. Haven’t blogged in two months and can’t seem to start again. Maybe I’ll try again. It’s a tough world out there and the rules are all changing. I’m sure it will be nice to have the help for awhile and maybe he can figure out what’s next. You can always e-mail me if you need to chat. I’m here.


        • Wow how big is the school she’s converting? I had relatives that converted a one room school house and it was gorgeous. I was nine the first time I saw their house and credit that house with my being able to see any structure converted to a home.

          I imagine you are happy having the house to yourself. My son arrived last Monday and already it’s driving me nuts. He and I have very different tolerance levels for clutter, I’ll leave it there. 🙂 His brother bought a home at auction to flip and hired him to work with the crew paying him a bit more than his regular job does so hopefully by the end of the month when he has to be back home when school starts for his kids he will have enough money to tide him over.

          Thanks for the offer but I’m dealing with sharing the house okay and on the days I’m not I wouldn’t lay that on you my friend.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The school was originally a small 3 bedroom home she converted to a charter school. Then, when she got tired of the beurocratic crap, she closed the school but still owned the property. Now she will live next door to her preschool. Imagine a year and a half of living with your son.:( I was close to losing it.


          • There is no way I could live with my son that long. Don’t misunderstand, I love my son but we are very different and do not get along when together for long periods of time.

            I can only imagine from working with a charter school on the receiving end the crap she must have put up with and don’t blame her a bit for closing it down. Hopefully, the job will last long enough to give you a break.

            Liked by 1 person

          • No you aren’t. I think it’s a break the both of you need. Christmas is long enough to actually miss one another.


  8. I take off my hat to you Lois, I do not know how you manage it. lifting and fixing those large pieces of wood .. You have made a wonderful job of it. And I have to agree with Marlene, Sounds like your baby grandson is full of adventure and it wouldn’t be long before he would be climbing your decking fence.. The door is a great idea..

    I hope you are not over doing things Lois?? xxx


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