Ramp People Reprised

Taken on the 4th of July.

A couple of weeks ago, I included some pictures of the ramp I built to our front entrance. Several people mentioned it in their comments. I started to explain the project, and then I remembered that I wrote about the ramp back in 2013. I know I said I wasn’t going to write much on Mondays, but I read this post and I decided to rework it for today.

In 2013, people seemed confused by the fact that we were building a ramp. Popular opinion seemed to indicate that ramps are only built when necessary.

That seemed crazy to me. I explained that we built the ramp so that if we ever do need one, it will be here and it looks good. Apparently, a lot of people think the ramp says something about our house – “ramp people live here” or something sinister. This sentiment was supported by the number of people who asked “are you going to plant some shrubs in front to hide it?” I guess I screwed that up by installing the railing. Either that or we will have to plant some very tall shrubs.

It took a while to clear the ramps, porch and steps.

There rationale for the ramp began with the roof over the front entryway – it’s too close to the street. It would have to be, since our house is too close to the street. Our house was built before the town established a ‘setback’ requirement and they didn’t bother to check with us. Actually, the setback was established before we bought this house as it was revealed to us during the mortgage application process.

“Well, the house is too close to the street, so if it ever burned, you would probably have to dig a new foundation in order to rebuild. We (the bank) are approving the loan, because there’s enough room on the lot to move the house back.”

In practice, I know of two of these houses that have burned, and the town let them rebuild on the existing foundation.

We wanted the roof because the house faces north, and we get those pesky Nor’easters that pummel the house with rain and drift up huge amounts of snow at our front door. When I added the roof, I included plans for the porch and ramp. The Building Inspector said that he liked the plan because I was bringing the entryway “up-to-code.” He was referring to the part of the Building code that requires at least 42” at the same level in front of a door (like our storm door) that opens out. That way, there is no danger of falling as you open the door and step backwards off a landing. He also liked the ramp, but he’s a Building Inspector and he’s all about access and egress and stuff like that.

The main reason we wanted the ramp stems from the fact that during our marriage, my wife and I have both been on crutches for six weeks while our respective broken feet mended. We remember how hard it was to get up the stupid little steps at our doors.

Maybe the ramp implies age. Maybe having one of your friends or neighbors adding a ramp to their house reminds you that you too are getting older. Maybe we are frightened or worried about the day when we will need a ramp. I’d rather remember how much fun ramps were when we were kids. In fact, my daughter loved ramps. When she would go with me to Wickes Lumber, I could wander the entire store comfortable in the fact that she was playing on the ramp leading up to Plumbing and Electrical. If you are uncomfortable with ramps, watch the episode of The Twilight Zone “Kick the Can.” I checked to see if Paul over at Shadow & Substance had written about that. He’s mentioned it a few times but (as of 2013) no definitive post (hint, hint Paul). I like this ramp, it’s a very comfortable way to enter our house. Maybe having the ramp to enjoy will keep me from ever needing it.


72 comments

  1. That stain does look like a bunny! I do recall wondering if anyone in your family used a wheelchair when you first wrote about your ramp but then you told us about your 4th of July” accident history so I knew it came in handy for the EMS guys. 😉 The hubs would certainly like having no steps to climb. Knowing you it is surfaced for good shoe grip.🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The ambulance crew did comment about how smoothly the stretcher rolled up and down the night (July 6th) a few years ago when they hauled me to the ER.

      The surface is Trex, it gets slippery under certain conditions in the winter, but it’s usually pretty good for walking.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the idea of having a ramp “just in case”. They are practical, functional and just make sense. Good for you for thinking about “what if”. I wish we had one!

    That shadow does look like a bunny! Our baby bunnies have gone off on their own now, but a new family can’t be far behind!

    I hope you let Maddie lick the leaf after you took that photo. It doesn’t take much to make her happy!

    Love the Editor’s photo with the bee. And snoopy bringing home take out.

    Have a great week Dan. Humidity coming back. Ugh!
    🐾Ginger 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Ginger. We’ve been happy to have it on more than one occasion. It still looks good, and this year, I might get around to adding the handrail on the front side. We bought it in 2013, but, well, some projects take longer than others.

      The baby bunnies are still munching away in the back. There are bunnies all over our neighborhood this year. I’m sure we’ll see more little ones.

      Maddie licks every leaf. I have to be quick to get a picture.

      I’m glad you like the bee – I love seeing them.

      I hope you have a good week :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. People do not understand the challenges of aging until, well, they age. Then in a lot of cases there are physical and financial challenges to doing major house renovations. The heart and mind are more than willing to tackle a DIY project, but the body may not be able to handle it. Yes, I speak from experience. So, let me applaud you and the Editor for thinking ahead and making not only a practical addition to your home like a ramp, but an absolutely gorgeous architectural one at that. Aging in place is preferable to most other options, and this is certainly an addition that will help you to do that. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We hope to age in place, in this place, Judy. Most of the improvements we have done are designed to be maintenance free. With each thing like the ramp and the steps, we’ve (OK, my wife) thought first about whether it would help or hurt if we were on crutches (we’ve both been at times) or just aching. The hand rails I added to the steps last year grew out of that kind of thinking. They are where they are, because we think that’s where they will do the most good, and they are at a height that works for both of us. I remember being proud when the EMTs commented about how easy it was to load me onto the stretcher on the porch (under a roof with lights) and wheel me down the ramp to the ambulance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When we decided to put in a large shower but not a tub, I remember the architect saying that wouldn’t be good for resale. I even laughed then because I’ll leave the resale issue up to another generation. It’s like when you look to buy something and they start the 25 year guarantee spiel, I just smile and think fella, I really don’t have to be concerned about that. :-)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We we installed central air, my neighbor said “you’ll never recover the cost when you sell.” I told him the same thing. We’ve never regretted that purchase, and when it needs to be replaced, I’ll gladly pay the invoice.

          It’s important for you to enjoy your house.

          Like

  4. You never know when you’ll need one. One day I simply moved in the wrong way and cracked some foot bones – With 3 weeks on crutches – I would have loved to have a ramp.
    People always seem to feel they have to put in their 2 cents – the ramp was a great idea and it looks as though it was part of the original house blueprint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ouch – Both my wife and I have broken bones in our feet. I know that pain, and we know how hard life becomes on crutches. I wanted the ramp to blend in, and I wanted it to be sturdy and last a long time.

      The Building Inspector was funny. He didn’t add the cost of the ramp to the permit fee. He said “ramps usually are temporary structures.” I said, “not mine!”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The ramp is a great idea, Dan, just as long as you don’t have a midlife crisis and decide you want to learn to ride a skateboard. I still love the tiny baby bunny and am somewhat amused that you are now seeing bunnies appearing in stains on the pavement. Be sure to take a photo if you start to see bunnies in the clouds. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those bunnies are everywhere, Mike.

      It’s funny that you mention skateboard. The other night, I reminded my wife that I had one as a kid (when they were made from skates and a hunk of wood). The look I got said “no!” I’ll be happy if I can keep walking up and down.

      Like

      1. I remember those days, Dan, though I never had a skateboard myself. Skateboards are so high-tech now, with wide wheels, composite boards, and so on. I don’t think you could do the same kind of tricks with the old skateboards that kids do with the new ones.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. People fail to see the practicality of ramps. Great to play on. Easier when shlepping shopping bags. Easier to shovel. I think everyone should have a ramp. Love the picture of Maddie’s park!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The ramp is a great idea, Dan, and I don’t think it needs to be covered up. Instead of hiding it, you could build a raised planter that follows the incline of the ramp and the Editor could plant annuals every spring. Wouldn’t that look pretty? Just a thought since you are retired and a builder and need things to do. :-p

    I hope you had an enjoyable Fourth weekend and an even better week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary. I have to get a usable handrail installed, then we can consider decorations We do have some plants out there, they just aren’t thriving due to the northern exposure.

      I hope you have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Dan – what a sensible idea … and having that extra handrail for the future too … maybe worth putting into the list of jobs to be … and possibly a hedge at the same time. Anyway – it looks very smart … take care – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary. One of the reasons we left they one side clear is so we have a place to push the snow off without having to lift the shovel over something. The handrail is going up this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can always breathe over here, Dan, as I witness through you continuation of living life outside of the drama(s) that are screaming at us. Hey, your choice. You want a ramp now you have one and you built it when you were able to. Good for you. Loved your gallery. And thank you for showing our flag a full mast. I’m so done seeing flags at half-mast. Let us ALL move forward!!

    Like

  10. You know of what you speak, Dan. A few years ago, a house on the main street had a ramp installed and my immediate thought was, “Oh, dear…..” You know…the worst. My husband always says we are gonna be in trouble because we have steps to get onto our front porch, and through the garage to get into the kitchen. We would have to build a pretty steep ramp or demolish those steps. It’d be a doozy, that’s for sure. Smart man to be thinking that far ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The good news was that I only had to go a little over a foot up, and I had 16′ to do it. The steps in the back were more of a challenge. I did build them with the thought that a ramp could be added, but it would be inconvenient now.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I had a ramp built onto the back porch to the driveway in CO so I could get down and around on my scooter.  This was after several falls on cement steps and permanent need for a scooter.  The only problem was from the kitchen door to the porch I had 4 and a half feet to make a sharp left turn to get onto the flat portion of the porch floor and then access the door to the ramp.  That three foot mini ramp from the k door was quite an adventure sometimes.  Being homemade by a relative, I could not complain.  The outside ramp was steep and from a gravel driveway the scooter hated negotiating anyway, I had to get a running start to get back up to the porch.  Those were the days!😃

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dan, you got major skills. I’m just sayin’…
    You see bunny… I see anteater, or rat with really big nose, but I mostly see anteater — maybe with snout full of ants. LOL. I told you I’m not wired right. Thanks for the TZ link. I don’t remember that one. The gallery is double fun today. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve considered having a ramp built because I have trouble with stairs. The people down the street built one when the man who lived there was in a wheelchair, and after he died took the ramp out. I’d’ve left it in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Building Inspector didn’t add it to the permit because he says “ramps are temporary structures.” Ultimately, every structure is temporary, but this will be here for a long time.

      Like

  14. I understand why people think of age when they see the ramp, my dad had to build one when my mom ended up needing a wheelchair during the latter years of her life. It is good you have it already, just in case!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. A ramp also makes it easier to trundle heavy things up and into the house, I would think, like a piano or something. 😉 Your ramp looks good. Those inspectors and their rules! Love the bee and the flowers.

    janet

    Like

  16. Oh my – this post hits close to home! When we bought this house, the previous owner offered to remove a stair lift to the lower level that she’d installed for her elderly mother. We were then in our forties and said “heck no, we’ll be there soon enough.” That stairlift was a life saver moving in. We use it as a dumb waiter to move boxes to and from a storage area under the house. It recently broke and I paid a bundle to have it replaced. Boy did the kids raise a fuss. “lowers the property value” came up a lot. I’m quite certain that using the lift to carry heavy boxes up and down stairs has saved our knees. Making things easy on your body is a wise decision. You never know.

    Like

  17. Ramp people? Seriously?

    I live in a split-level house. Even worse, I live in a side-split. I am CONSTANTLY going either up or down stairs. Your ramp doesn’t sound so strange to me right now. I had foot surgery about 10 days ago and have 4 broken bones in my right foot … and no crutches. Those stairs are my nemesis.

    Ramps rule.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Can, the ramp is useful, and a good look for your house. Glad I only have two steps to get into my house. The photos are always nice to see. We have a bunny living in our front yard under a bush. He was a little guy a few years back, and has grown. Not leaving yet. He just watches us when we water the yard. 📚🎶 Christine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you like the photos, Gwen. We’ve had thunderstorms, off and on for the past week. We need the rain, but I’d prefer a slow steady rain to a downpour that sends the dog scurrying.

      I hope you’re doing well.

      Like

  19. I think the ramp looks great. More importantly, it is practical. You can remind friends of that who trip on their own stairs. Okay, that wasn’t very nice. You don’t need hiding bushes, they’ll just collect snow that will fall onto the ramp. Great photos, Dan. There are never too many bunny or flower or flag or Maddie photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. As one of those people who greatly benefit from ramps that are installed, I’m acutely aware of the number of people who are somehow intimidated by my disability. As to be expected, the ramp is included in this bogus fear. For me, the sight of a ramp tells me the building is a friendly one for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We don’t get many visitors, but a few have commented that they liked having the ramp. I know I’ve had times when I liked having it. Sometimes, it isn’t even the number of steps, but the awkward height of them. That was the case with this entrance before we built the porch.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Interesting reasoning for your ramp, something that in no way upsets me. A friend and her husband moved to a small town where the realtor wouldn’t let them see houses with ramps in the front, saying the houses were undesirable. Eventually friend demanded to see one of these houses. It was perfectly lovely and they bought it, happy to have the convenience of the ramp when it comes to pushing strollers up to the house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, our daughter would have loved having a ramp when she was in a stroller. I don’t know what the stigma is, but whoever sells this place after I’m gone will have to include the ramp. Dismantling something I’ve built isn’t ever easy ;-)

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I didn’t break a bone until I was 36 years old trying to keep up with 4-year-old Baby Girl on the ice skating rink…not really I was feeling cocky and skating backward and hit a chink in the ice and boom! down I went and reached out with my arms and hands to…stop my fall who knows…I shattered my wrist and was in full arm cast for 9 weeks. I couldn’t drive as I had a 5-speed manual transmission vehicle then, He-Man was in Singapore training people, and I am allergic to opioids and they gave me Vicadin! I was so, so sick from the pain medicine and it didn’t stop the pain of my broken wrist. It was beyond awful…that was my first broken bone. and in my early 50’s the step to the deck collapsed as I was stepping down on it and I broke my ankle. I could have used a ramp then!

    When He-Man’s Patella blew out almost 5 years ago and he was on crutches for months and months we could have used the ramp too! One is not always old when things go pear-shaped. Active people get hurt too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so true, Deborah. Both my wife and I have been on crutches and in walking casts here. That’s one of the reasons we decided to build the ramp.

      I’m sorry about the painkillers not working and making you sick. I am similarly allergic, and there’s no pain quite like a broken bone. What an awful time for it to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Okay, Dan — I got the hint! xD No good excuses either, for why I haven’t written about Kick the Can. Some people criticize it, but I have to admit, I really enjoy it. Always mists me up a bit, in fact. I can’t swear that it’s on my SHORT list, but I WILL write about it, and soon(ish). Feel free to hold me to it. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I still think it’s practical and I still want a ramp out front! I think anyone who has strollers, wagons, bad knees, bad hips, or older friends with either – or wheelchairs! would also appreciate a ramp.
    We have plenty of room in front of or behind our house, and that’s because we’d prefer small expansions on the side with the least room. Of course. Heh.

    Liked by 1 person

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