Bruised and Broken (deck)

I am proud to report that I have finished completely tearing down our 2,564 square foot back deck. At least it seemed to be about that size. It took me a week or so, maybe it was a month, I get mixed up. Anyway, it's done, the deconstruction slowed by a couple of rainy days that just broke my heart and allowed me to recover flat on my back with a handful of Advil and a cold beer. But it's gone now, a memory fading about as slowly as the multiple bruises I incurred in the process that was done solo.
I'm a very delicate guy, so I am used to having bruises show up and not know how I got them. Lisa will say, "Jeez, John, how did you get that awful bruise?" And I'll have to say I have no idea. Most of the time. But the ones from the deck-clearing can all be traced to, well, the deck-clearing. Hard to say where they all came from, but the one on my left shoulder was a direct result of my experience with gravity when one of the railings I was leaning on decided to give way. Fortunately, a 2 x 8 anchored in concrete broke my fall.
It's important to be able to say I took down the deck with my little hammer. Partly true. In addition to my little hammer, I used a  claw hammer, a pinch bar, a 4-lb. sledge hammer, a 10-lb. sledge, a five-foot crowbar, several vivid Anglo-Saxon expletives, and a banana (just kidding about the banana). I also used a hand towel to wipe down the wet stuff that accumulated on my skin while working in the 90-degree sun. Whatever that was. Slimy. Ick. Never felt that before. Creepy.
Now that the back is cleared of deck, the contractors will be showing up on the 1st. I believe I'll enjoy watching them work. Might be worth writing about.

Deckwrecker Man

Years ago I wrote a column for Reader's Digest recounting my experience as "Jackhammer Man!," when I rented a jackhammer to dig out some concrete around our home in Roanoke, Virginia. As a little kid in my home town of Clinton, Iowa, I had watched a bunch of jackhammer men tear up the street in front of our house. They struck me as the ultimate in manhood and I always wanted to see what it was like to run a jackhammer. So I got my wish that summer day in Virginia. It took me about a week before my hands worked normally again. Now I have taken on a new role - "Deckwrecker Man!" In preparation for an addition being added on to the back of the Carenen Cottage, our extensive rear deck needed to be removed. I volunteered to do it to save money. A knowledgeable friend helped out with several tools unique to the task. The most prominent was five feet long with two prongs at the end, the width between them perfect for accommodating a joist. The idea was to insert the prongs under the deck planks and, with the base situated on the joist, leverage the planks up so they could be removed. The tool was called a "Deckwrecker," and it worked, along with other, smaller tools that, altogether, reminded me of my dentist.

It wasn't fast work, but it was steady, especially after I bought a 4-pound sledge hammer to assist in removing certain stubborn pieces not suitable for the Deckwrecker. Anyway, I got all the planks off last week despite losing time due to rain. Starting today, I'm going after the multiple 2x8 joists and other underpinnings. Problem is, there is no special tool, outside of explosives, to remove those significant elements. I also lack a strategy for taking on the big pieces.

Maybe I'll call my dentist. Stay tuned.