When you start writing your blog post by googling “which DEFCON is the worst,” and “antonyms for integrity,” you know it’s going to be a good one.
Almost a year ago, some friends of mine bought their first house. A house almost as old as mine. They immediately started talking about tearing out walls, and came to me for advice. And of course I said, “OH MY GOD DON’T DO IT.”
It’s a pretty big rule of mine: Don’t open up a wall unless you are fully prepared to deal with anything you find underneath it. And I mean anything. Oh, you have a little crack in the plaster and you want to replace that section with drywall? What if you take off that plaster and find out that your entire house is framed with toothpicks?? Or the plumbing stack has corroded away and your toilet is just flushing into the wall cavity??? If you’re not prepared to deal with that, you should probably just mud and tape over that crack and hope it doesn’t come back.
So. Following my own advice, I started to evaluate my defense readiness condition for the front porch. The first step is to identify the threats, because you have to know what the threats are before you can plan your defense. I identified the following, in order of least scary -> most scary (which corresponds to DEFCON 5 -> DEFCON 1, in case you were wondering where that was going to come in):
- DEFCON 5: Several layers of rotten decking.
- DEFCON 4: Structural un-integrities (There are no good antonyms for “integrity” in the sense of “structural integrity,” so I made one up.)
- (After hitting “publish” I realized the word I was looking for was “deficiencies.” But by then it was too late to change the storyline, so I’m sticking with “un-integrities.”)
- DEFCON 3: Masonry un-integrities.
- DEFCON 2: The king of all centipedes in a terrifying nest of centipedes the size of the entire footprint of the porch.
- DEFCON 1: The love child of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
Once you’ve identified the potential threats, you can analyze your defense for each one. My analysis went something like this:
We are already at DEFCON 5. This whole project was intended to address the low-level threat of rotten decking. The decking needs to be replaced. I’m ready for that.
There is an 80% chance that we are at DEFCON 4. The framing, you know, it might be okay. It’s probably not, because it’s 112 years old, and the way the deck bounces when you walk on it suggests something deeper than rotten decking. But it’s been standing for 112 years, so maybe there’s a chance? Well, whatever, I’m ready. I know stuff about framing. I don’t really want to do it, but I can.
The masonry. It’s probably okay. Never mind the fact that all 4 stone piers are leaning. Technically, the stone piers are structural to the roof of the porch, not the decking, so…if they’re bad…I don’t have to fix them in order to rebuild the deck. So all that masonry stuff sounds like a problem for Future Sarah. Plus anyway they’ve been standing for 112 years, so they’re probably fine. Right? I can totally handle concrete, assuming I don’t actually have to handle concrete.
I’d give the centipede thing about a 1% chance of happening. Although the damage to me would be more psychological than physical, so at least there’s a chance of recovery.
And DEFCON 1, last time I checked, is precluded by the laws of reproductive nature. So the world is safe. For now. And also, LET’S RENO THE PORCH!! WOOOOOOO!!
Did you see what happened there? ‘Cause I sure didn’t. To tell you the truth, I’m still not entirely sure how I got to this point.
And I’m really not sure how I’m going to get out, either.