What a day that was!  We got started a little late because I didn’t get home the night before until after 7 pm so I couldn’t call ahead to have our stuff ready for pick up.  Because we are working through the pro-desk we are somewhat restricted by their availability. I have really enjoyed working with Meghan at our local Home Depot.  Anyone looking for a friendly, capable, hard-working and efficient employee should meet Meghan.  I’d steal her away in a heart beat if I had the need.  Unfortunately she doesn’t run the entire store so she can only do so much.

I won’t waste a lot of time on the issues we had with our material list but suffice it to say that there were some mistakes but everything was handled with professionalism it just caused a few delays.

First and foremost I want to tell you what amazing nieces I have.  I challenge any of you to a “who has the best nieces” contest! How many of you can say your 16 year old nieces would spend an entire day of their summer vacation helping you pour concrete footings?  Well, mine did…so you can see I have an unfair advantage at the very start :).  This is the T-shirt Bridgette wore. It made me smile.

I don’t know if I mentioned earlier that some critter makes a habit of chewing through my layout strings every night so the first thing I had to do was re-string everything to be sure we had the locations for the anchor bolts correct.
Our plans called for footings that were 12 inches in diameter by 3 feet deep.  We decided that was probably overkill but I didn’t want to stray too far from the plans.  As a Manufacturing Engineer I can’t tell you how many times in the past I said to myself  “why can’t they just make it like the f’ing drawing?!”.  I figured there was probably a very good reason for the size of the footings so other than using 10 inch diameter forms at the top the rest was according to the plans.

This is a picture at the beginning of the day.  We ended up using 32 bags of concrete hand mixed in the wheel barrow.  We originally planned to use some quick setting concrete that supposedly could be mixed directly in the holes but it was twice as expensive so we opted for the old fashioned method.
Although there are muscles in my body that I haven’t used since my year of Habitat construction, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

My husband offered to take some pictures to prove to you all that I am working on this project, too. Not just supervising 🙂
One nice result of the location is that we got to work in the shade most of the afternoon since it reached near 80 degrees that day. This is one of the  main reasons I chose this spot for the gazebo.  It gets sunshine in the morning starting in early May and is in the shade by about 3 pm. A perfect spot as far as I’m concerned.

We had to make some small adjustments along the way to be sure things were centered and in the proper locations.  We are inserting the anchor bolts as we pour the concrete so I wanted to be sure they were at least close to the right spot, so we had to check and re check as we went along.  (I can be a little compulsive, just ask my husband)

This is a close up of one of the footings.  We had to pour 9 footings, 8 on the perimeter and 1 in the center.  We used anchor bolts that we will attach the post holders to and in the center we sunk a 6″ x 6″ x 6 ” pressure treated block of wood directly into the footing to use as a nailer for the floor joists.

 This is us working on the very last footer.  The boyfriend of one of my nieces was there to help for the last 3 footings.  It was a blessing when he showed up because I’m not sure I could have picked up another 80lb bag of concrete.  We were all pretty worn out by this time.   He came by to help after finishing up an 8 hour day of physical labor and he still had energy! Oh to be 18 again 🙂

Here we are, 3/4th of the work crew in seperate pictures. Thank you Brooke and Bridgette we couldn’t have done this without you! (BTW the boyfriend didn’t want his picture taken.)

One more step in the process completed.  Next will be to set the posts and then we can start my favorite part the actual building.  I know every step is necessary but I like the carpentry part the best.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone, enjoy your weekend!