Latest Issue

A Renovation Update

The articles on sports get some high fives. But these freelance short stories get the most praise. I am totally serious. Our renovation is a popular topic. I am working on another pilot.

Several weeks back, I mentioned that my father and I were building an addition. I am doing my best to chronicle the entire experience. My daily updates are a viral sensation. Our lack of progress and foolish mistakes are now trending. We are slowly figuring it out, but I am still questioning. The entire neighborhood is watching. Some folks have even driven by to see Spencer Building Co. in person. Three cars.

We had some delays with our permits. It also didn’t help that everyone is quite busy. My father was hoping to start sooner than later. But unfortunately, we had to push everything to late September. Pops isn’t afraid to tackle a large project. Who in their right mind would build during a pandemic? He wanted to save money by doing it himself. A few of his friends never showed. I had total confidence, but Teach remains somewhat puzzled. The jury is still out.


We do most of our damage when I get home from work. I absolutely LOVE pulling in and seeing Dad on the roof. Jensen is a great sport, and he is a big help. But my son now takes the long way from the bus. Oh. It is quite comical. There are not enough hours in the day. Okay. Here are a few of my favorites.


My good buddy Tim Bair showed up extra early. But many of the local politicians did not make it to our groundbreaking ceremony. My man is so good with his machines. He knows how to operate a fancy skid. Tim made one pass, and all of the shrubs that we pruned were completely gone. He even let me jump in the bucket for a quick photo for my campaign. I will post some before and afters when I get home from golf. I am not playing. I coach. Making some progress.


Big shout to my friend Ethan Luse. He is the best in the business. You should see some of his incredible fireplaces. The big fella knows his stuff. Ethan poured the footers, and he is now laying some blocks. Ethan is stronger than an ox. I offered to help, but Ethan said no. He knows me too well. Our new garage is starting to take shape.

A big thank you to my brother Mark Douthat. He literally just saved Christmas. Mark took the lead, and we both gladly followed. It sure is nice to have a guy who actually knows what he is doing. It was so great to see my old friend in action. Mark helps us with the beams and to set the joists. He taught me so much, and he was very patient. Mark introduced me to many new construction terminologies. I now have a pencil in my ear, and I wear a tape measure. Mark was fantastic. What he accomplished today would’ve taken Spencer Building Co. five solid weekends. Mark was my first chum when I moved to PA. His father and my dad worked together at Lycoming College for 26 years. The Douthats are great family friends.


Pops and I are doing some framing. I am manning the saw, and he is barking. I had no idea there was such a difference in these 2x6s. Crown up? Jack? King? Crips and Bloods? I measure once and cut often. Sometimes the pieces work, and my headers are solid. Just when we found a rhythm. Jim had the door totally backward. He felt bad and told me to grab the cat paw. I was too embarrassed to ask. So, I looked it up on Google. I never knew I had two of them. I spent the next hour removing nails. It got dark. I was yelling obscenities. Kids were trick or treating.

To be continued, I am sure. We are very thankful for all of our friends who help. Don’t get me wrong. We also love having Jim Spencer around. This will be a great memory with many ups and downs. It will require some patience, and I can’t wait until it is done. We remind ourselves daily. Teach and Jensen are doing well. I am actually learning tons, but I will not give up my 8 to 4 and my seven part-time gigs. I am trying to cherish this experience of building a two-car garage and an outlaw suite with my pops. Cheers.