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Monday, November 13, 2017

A New Mailbox at McClendon Villa

A New Mailbox at McClendon Villa

A few months before Hurricane Harvey hit, a very strong wind knocked over our mailbox.  The water table here is so high that almost any pole is going to lean, and lean it did.

The pole would lean over and we would prop it back up.  This went on for quite a while when finally the wind storm snapped the pole off under ground.

We propped it up as best we could using concrete blocks and hoped for the best.

Just prior to Hurricane Harvey, we put the mailbox in the back of our car to keep it from blowing away during the storm.

We rely on our mail.  Publicists, authors, publishers, sellers, manufacturers, and others send us samples all the time for review.  We simply must have a good mailbox to allow for proper mail delivery.

After Harvey hit, our town was hit with a massive flood that saw water inside homes higher than six feet. There is less than a foot difference in elevation from one part of our town to the other.  Our house did not flood. We were surrounded by flood waters but did not get any flooding.

Mail service was suspended for a week. We decided to install a new mailbox during that time.

We had to wait a while for the ground to dry out before we could dig a hole to mount the pole.  We also decided to mount this pole as securely as we could figure out.

We went to Zarsky’s Lumber.  This is a lumber yard like the old timey lumber yards.  You know, you go inside and tell them what you want, then drive around and they load it in your truck.

We found a Gibraltar Extra Large Mailbox.  We bought it and a cedar mailbox pole along with a bag of concrete.  

We then went to Star Parts and bought a set of posthole diggers.

We called Texas 811 to have the utility companies come mark where their underground utilities were.  We were concerned that the gas line might pass through the place we wanted to dig the hole.  We were lucky; no utilities were in our way.

Suzanne and I took turns over several days digging the the hole.  We are both mobility challenged. It then rained for several days, so we had to wait for it to dry up.

We ordered a post mounting spike to add stability to our pole since we could not dig the hole as deep as we would have liked. We found out that our cedar post was not dressed which meant that it was an actual 4X4 post and our spike was designed for dressed posts.  This meant our cedar pole was larger than the dressed pole and we had to sand down the cedar post.  

We ordered some sanding pads from Amazon to use on our Black and Decker Sanding Mouse we had bought years ago.  The thing still works as good as it did the day we bought it.

We got the pole sanded down, then mounted it in our post spike.  We had bought some wood screws from Star Parts on Milam Street in Wharton to secure the post to the spike.

Then, we built a wooden frame to level our post. This frame was to help us in setting the post and holding it in place while the concrete dried.

While I was leveling the frame, our friend from the water department drove by.  I won’t use his name here because I don’t have his permission.  He drove down the opposite side of the circle street from our house and saw my head sticking up from what looked like the ditch.

I can’t stand for long, so I sat in the ditch to level the frame.  When he pulled up, Water Meter Guy asked what I was doing.  After I told him, he keyed the microphone in his truck and told Wharton City Dispatch to cancel the response to our address.  It turns out that he had already called an ambulance so it would be on the way if I needed one.  I bet you can’t find that kind of service in many other cities.

We drove the spike into the hole we had dug and braced it for several days to allow for the ground to dry out more.  We checked our level and plumb over each day to make sure it was straight.

After the dirt set and was dried out, we mixed up the concrete and shoveled it into the posthole. We allowed that to dry for several days.

After several days we took the braces off the post and then placed a mounting base piece of wood on the post.  We learned that the screws sent with the mailbox were not quite long enough for our mounting board.  

We drove back up to Star Parts where the staff found the right screws right away.  It is great being able to go to a hometown store where everyone is family.

This is why when small stores like Star Parts have what we need we shop there.  They even had a wasp spray that actually works on contact.  Believe me, I have fought wasps often enough to know how great it is to have a wasp spray that actually works.

We got home and between rain showers, we got the mailbox mounted to the post.  

Projects like these are fun and easy when you know what you are doing.  But, even if you don’t have a clue, you can take on projects like this if you have a good, hometown store like Star Parts to help you with good advice and impeccable service.

Heck, if Star Parts sold milk, bread, and other foods, I might never have to set foot into a big box store again.

Maybe sometime soon I will share about our toilet repair.

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