Arrrrggghhh. (Fist Shake at Math) Or: Why a chalk line is very, very important when hanging a handrail for stairs.

November 28, 2011


While we were down in Missouri, Lloyd and I tried to think of things we could do to help his parents. We’re not going to be available to help feed the cows or anything, so we decided to devalue their house a little.

Lloyd actually did a fine job installing a hand-held shower attachment, but he ‘misunderstood’ what his dad would need for a shower seat.

He looked for something real prickly.

As for me, I thought I could install a handrail by the basement stairs. It was going to be super-easy since the backside of the wall is just open studs.

On the way back home I was even planning the process: Install bottom bracket, install top bracket, snap a chalk line between them and find the spot for the middle one.

Once we actually started working, though, I thought of something even easier! Just find the studs, and measure 31 inches up from the steps!

See? Ends:
Should have made a chalk line.

Then mid-point:
Have to find the stud for sturdiness.

This worked out perfectly, until we set the handrail on the brackets and it shot up at an impossibly wrong angle – completely missing the top bracket by a foot. My diagram doesn’t show the shooting up, but it does show the missing-the-mark. Diagrams are hard.

This is because you do not measure at the same point on each tread – you measure where the stud crosses it, so at the bottom step I measured at about the middle of the tread, but halfway up the stairs I measured at the very edge. Stupid, stupid math.

I blame Lloyd. He watched me do it. He just watched me, not saying a math-teacher word about it. (I guess he was getting me back for the fridge incident.)

Anyway, it’s up. My prayer is that it doesn’t pull out from the wall at a very inopportune time.

It'll do.

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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7 Responses to “Arrrrggghhh. (Fist Shake at Math) Or: Why a chalk line is very, very important when hanging a handrail for stairs.”

  1. Mary Ellen Said on:

    After all that frustration I hope you rewarded yourself with a tall glass of lemonade poured over rabbit turd-shaped ice cubelets.


    • Lauren Said on:

      Ha! That would be the ultimate reward! 🙂

      As I write this (5:48 a.m.), I’m praying for the surgery process which is about to begin soon. If everyone could keep Lloyd Sr. in your prayers today, that would be wonderful. Thanks!


  2. Brad Said on:

    Ha! That shower seat is hilarious! Isn’t there some website where it shows how men ‘fix’ things? I got an email forward like that once…

    Praying for Lloyd Sr. and all of the family today. God is good!


  3. Kristi Said on:

    At least you didn’t try to use the handrail for the shower seat.


  4. Peggy Said on:

    AHAHAHAHAHA! I laughed out loud at the shower seat too! So unexpected! And Lauren, you do have skilz!! I would have just hung that railing by site….like I do with a picture….yea, that looks straight.

    I prayed for Lloyd’s dad’s surgery in the shower this morning….I hope that was appropriate. Please keep us updated!


  5. Kristi Said on:

    Any news yet on Lloyd’s dad?


    • Lloyd Said on:

      Dad is out of surgery. Mom says that everything went well The Doctor said that his heart was damaged by the heart attack(s), but that his heart looked better than he thought it would after surgery.

      He is in the ICU now, and Mom, Tina and Aaron are there. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers.


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