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  1. #1
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    Default How you like this header DYI?

    Homeowner busted out a hole in block wall for a door. He used a 2X6 header with 1x4 on sides to hold up header. What a knuckle head but, it looks like its working (for the first 2 years anyway) ...

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    You do know that expanding foam is considered to serve as adequate structural support to compensate for lack of regard to accepted building practices, correct?



    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Yikes.

    If it's working, it's working. But I don't know how. Heavy masonry overhead, 1x is too thin, fasteners through 1x into masonry is too few, and single 2x6 might even be too little. I hope there aren't any stories above this one.

    I don't want to sound too alarmist, but I think when that thing goes, it could go quickly. Hopefully won't be when the door is slammed with someone underneath.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Sam, I think you're mistaken about he function of the 1x4's. I think they're strictly decorative. It's pretty apparent that the whole thing is being held up and in place by the spray foam insulation.

    Isn't it suggested that a doorway is probably the safest place to be in a building during an earthquake?


  5. #5
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    ...there's a large crack at the intersections of the two walls, visible through this low-res photo from a distance. That's the first sign of failure.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Inadequate bearing of header on 1x4.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Short answer: Needs a lentil. (sp) = (((:< ) lentel ; had dinner on my mind

    Worked for 2 years and may work for 22 years or not. Block is being mostly supported by itself. Same way you can hold three bricks together horizontally with your hands. Pressure on sides hold the middle brick. Alter pressure and brick shiffs/falls.

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 12-05-2012 at 05:14 AM. Reason: Splling/thought corrction

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Short answer: Needs a lentil.
    Red, french green, or brown? Maybe that black beluga? I hear they look like caviar when cooked.

    My wife teases me because I pronounce lentil and lintel the same - and offered me a bag of dried lentils to support the flue opening in the chimney.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffrey Brunn View Post
    If it's working, it's working.
    What make you think that it is working?

    And what make you think that "if it's working, it's working"? The decision regarding 'is it working' isn't based on 'has it fallen YET', the decision is based on 'is it working AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DESIGNED AND INTENDED to work'.

    And what is shown in the photo is definitely not 'designed' properly nor the block 'intended' to work like that for that purpose.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    What make you think that it is working?

    And what make you think that "if it's working, it's working"? The decision regarding 'is it working' isn't based on 'has it fallen YET', the decision is based on 'is it working AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DESIGNED AND INTENDED to work'.

    And what is shown in the photo is definitely not 'designed' properly nor the block 'intended' to work like that for that purpose.
    Most definitely. Thanks, Jerry


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    The vertical strength of that 1X4 is considerable....but that "don't make it right". Still, I have seen those kind of jobs "working" after 50 years.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    The vertical strength of that 1X4 is considerable....but that "don't make it right". Still, I have seen those kind of jobs "working" after 50 years.
    Lon,

    You appear to have missed my point: even after 50 years it is still not considered as "working", just as "not failed YET".

    There is a time worn phrase which is both someone's attempt at trying to 'pass' something old which was done wrong, and which is also totally incorrect - "Passed the test of time" ... nothing has "passed" "the test of time", but there are things which "have not failed" "yet".

    "Time" is not a test.

    Consider this: Those old houses in New York which were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy - those HAD so-called "passed the test of time" to some, however, the only statement which could have been made is that those homes "had not been tested" ... until Hurricane Sandy "tested" those old houses and those old houses FAILED that test.

    Any inspector who uses the phrase "passed the test of time" needs to rethink what "test" that "time" has actually been performed of that "time", they also need to consider the loads that really need to be resisted and that until those loads are applied there has been no "test" for time to have affected anything.

    "Time" IS NOT a safety device, nor is it a "test" of any sort other than being testament that a "test" has not been done ... YET ... but that test will eventually be done, and what will you say when your clients call you about why the house you said "passed the test of time" just collapsed into a pile.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    It's not the test of time that's so important, it's the test of stress. It might last 50 years or better with no dynamic stress applied, but it may not last 50 seconds in even a mild earthquake. Not to mention, even with no dynamic stress applied, someone else has already noted that cracks are even now starting to develop.

    Try this test to get a better understanding of the difference. Assuming you need a belt to keep your pants up, go to a public place and take off your belt. Spread your legs out some, or whatever you need to do to keep your pants up without having to grab them, and just stand still for a long while. That is roughly equivalent to that doorway staying put for 50 years with no disturbance.

    Now, again without grabbing your pants to hold them up, start walking and see how long it takes for them to end up at your ankles. That's what could happen to that doorway in an earthquake. You start moving things around, and things start falling.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Jerry,

    I didn't miss the point and you misunderstood my comment. I agree with everything you said and said well I might add. I wouldn't ever tell a client that something wrong was "acceptable because it had held up for 50 years". In fact, I have never used that phrase or anything like it to pass off something done wrong as being acceptable. I have occasionally said that something done wrong 50 years ago or more, "just because it has held up so far, doesn't mean that it isn't still wrong and should be corrected." On particularly egregious installations, I have said something like, "just because it has lasted this long, doesn't mean it isn't a ticking time bomb."


    But, not many things built by humans have "stood the test of time". The cap stones at Stonehenge have fallen. Mayan temples became shambles in just a few hundred years. European castles become rubble if not maintained. Egyptian pyramids are shabby compared to their appearance when they were built. So, actually, 50 years ain't bad. That can cover most of the lifespan of a couple. I've seen a couple of 120 year old houses framed with 1X4s still standing and habitable. But I am sure that the only reason they are still around is because of constant maintenance.

    And even in nature, does "stood the test of time" really mean anything. Delicate Arch in Utah, fell a few years after I saw it, but it had been around for a very long time. Someone might have even said that it had stood the test of time, the day before it fell.



    My point is that even things built as well as we know how today, are unlikely to survive for even an average lifetime without maintenance. If some DIYer uses 1X4s or 1X6s for cripples to support a load bearing header, write it up as wrong and it is wrong, but don't be surprised if you find work like that done 50 years ago or longer still standing.


    I hear "they don't build them like they used to" all the time and I always reply "For very good reasons."


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I didn't miss the point and you misunderstood my comment.
    I may have, my apologies.


    My point is that even things built as well as we know how today, are unlikely to survive for even an average lifetime without maintenance.[/quote]

    The structural components which keep it standing do not, should not, require maintenance.

    I'm sorry, but if someone expects me to do "maintenance" on the slab of my house, or the tie-beam of my last house, that is just not a practical expectation to base the life of a structure on.

    *IF* the windows/doors are installed properly (flashed properly) then they will not leak. *IF* the windows/doors do not leak then they will not rot out the frame wall and sheathing around them. *IF* the siding is installed with the proper house wraps in the proper way and the proper drainage plane in the proper way, then the walls will not leak. *IF* the siding does not leak then the siding will not rot out the frame walls and sheathing behind the siding. *IF* the frame walls do not rot out and they were constructed properly for the area the structure is in, then the structure should remain standing for a long time to come - as long as the engineer knew what they were doing and did not cut corners on the design of the structure, and if the builder knew what they were doing and did not cut corners on the construction of the structure.

    There area a lot of *IF* conditions in there, but I sure hope that you do not expect me to do "maintenance" on the frame wall which I have no access to.

    I hear "they don't build them like they used to" all the time and I always reply "For very good reasons."
    Sometimes ... I agree with that.

    Other times ... I would say 'Yeah, and it is a shame that many/most contractors no longer take pride in their work like they used to.'

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    This may be another one of those things where we will agree to disagree. Even with the "ifs", I still say that maintenance is required. Windows, even the best, wear, fatigue, stop functioning properly and even leak........and maintenance is required. (All that without the hazards of little boys who throw baseballs through them or in my case, I threw a toy six gun at my brother who successfully ducked it and the gun busted the window)
    Fiber siding needs paint, vinyl siding gets holes from hail (so do windows, I had 7 broken two years ago), and metal siding is pummeled in hail. Siding, even Hardie board, needs maintenance.

    It could be argued that the "best" foundations will be around for a long time, but how long is that and is there any proof of that? Concrete shrinks and cracks. Cracks become weak places where movement in the foundation wall can happen. Once there is a crack, all kinds of mischief can follow, even if very slowly. Of course, I know you know all this, so my point is that every foundation that I have ever seen has cracks. Most don't have any problems of note, but they haven't yet stood the test of time, whatever that test may be and my bet is that they will fail, even if long after I have failed the test of time. My heirs can collect the bet.

    And then little nasties, like termites can sneak in unless you are doing proper preventive......there's that word again......maintenance. I submit that even if all of your ifs are done, you will still be doing maintenance. The best that we can build today, isn't maintenance proof. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater House needed major maintenance a few years ago, and surely, it was built as well as Wright could do and had plenty of pride of construction.

    I have seen very well built 100 year old homes. I inspected a home on the historical registry here. Massively over built, pride of construction and pride of ownership showing loving care; and loaded with dry rot (among other issues). Maybe better maintenance would have prevented that, or maybe not......I can't prove it, but based on long experience, I would also wager that the first owner did maintenance.

    We have decomposing granite in our soil here........even granite doesn't last forever.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Lon

    I think 'withstood the test of time' is subjective. Much depends on quality of materials, location, and environmental factors, lack of maintenance, et ceteras.

    Nothing last forever and we are seeing changes in environmental extremes that were not present in homes that were built 100-200-300 years or older. Their designs did not take into account environmental changes, nor was the science evolved as it is today. Having said that however, I believe newer homes may not last as long as their predecessors.

    The pyramids have withstood the test of time and that is a testament to the design, the materials and engineering, and they will continue to stand for many more millennium. Mind you they have been sand blasted over that time and actually had a cap stone facing which has since been worn off because of the wind and the sand as a example.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Lon

    I think 'withstood the test of time' is subjective. Much depends on quality of materials, location, and environmental factors, lack of maintenance, et ceteras.
    Agree........and that's why I never use the "test of time" phrase because there is no way to quantify it. Jerry has it right when he says that it "hasn't failed yet".

    As I get older, failure seems more like an option everyday.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    I don't necessarily agree with not using 'the test of time.'

    We are not on earth long enough - time line wise - to appreciate test of time.

    Mother Nature will determine 'the test of time." Has and always will, man is not infallible nor are his creations. Even the rockies and the pyramids will succumb to time, in my opinion.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    I don't necessarily agree with not using 'the test of time.'
    In relation to inspections - are you in agreement that the phrase 'passed the test of time' is not a suitable judgement related to a structure being inspected? A structure with an expected life of less than 10,000 years, even 5,000 years, even 500 years (yes, there are buildings in Europe which are that old and older, but we are referring to buildings which fall within "home inspections" here).

    Presuming, of course, that you are not inspecting the Pyramids, the Mayan temples, and the like.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    I can't remember the last time I used the phrase, but given that I inspect a fair number of century plus houses and having had an 1849 stone grist mill, it is relative for my business and experiences.


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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    I can't remember the last time I used the phrase, but given that I inspect a fair number of century plus houses and having had an 1849 stone grist mill, it is relative for my business and experiences.
    I wouldn't say that an 1849 structure is even close to having shown it has passed any test of time, only that it has not failed 'yet' ...

    Case in point, while not as old, consider many of those structures which had survived many winter storms and Nor'easters before Hurricane Sandy came along ... then, and only THEN, were they 'tested' ... and they failed to pass that test.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Well of course that is your opinion, but in my view the mill and many other structures I see have stood, and time is an objective timeline.

    As to hurricane Sandy, of course the structures failed, no one at the time of construction expected the storm of the century, nor when they were built did anyone know that global warming would have such a devastating effect. Nor that poor judgement and lax development regulations would play into the destruction.


  24. #24
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    The past is irrelevant. The present home owner wants to know if it will last into the future.

    My answer to that is that only a fool would predict into the future how long any structure will last.

    The door frame is a example of an under-built structure that should be repaired now before there is a catastrophe. We don't know how long it has been left this way, although we think only a couple of years, but I say that is irrelevant. A loaded gravel truck lumbering past the house could bring that weight down on those 1X4's and they will snap like matchsticks.

    I think it is best to stay in the present, it is inadequate and needs repair now.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Don't get the wrong impression here (although I know many of the comments are tongue-in-cheek ). The 2x6 is not supporting the masonry; the masonry is self-spanning over the opening. Possibly there is a horizontal bar in the course just above the opening which may explain the apparent lack of cracking over the opening. In any case, openings in masonry walls must be evaluated by a licensed engineer.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Thom,
    "...openings in masonry walls must be evaluated by a licensed engineer." possibly in CA but elsewhere a qualified contractor is all that is necessary for this and many other situations.


  27. #27
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    Thom,
    "...openings in masonry walls must be evaluated by a licensed engineer." possibly in CA but elsewhere a qualified contractor is all that is necessary for this and many other situations.
    Garry,

    That is an unwise practice in my opinion, and based on my reading of other posts at this site one that many others would disagree with. Masonry must be properly constructed and detailed, even, or especially, if you just follow the empirical provisions of the IRC or IBC. How would you verify those requirements for a hole cut into an existing masonry wall? The overall building layout and configuration must also be evaluated.

    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  28. #28
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    I am not sold on the stated history or what is being represented. Looking at the upper right (intersecting wall junction) it appears there was no knocking out of a new/fresh opening, only removal of half size in conjunction with installation of replacement stock-height door from previously taller one or prior window opening perhaps orig steel framed door/window opening. Filler and foam questionable for weather and security but structure history/compromise leap is not determinable either from what has been (questionably) reported/offered..


  29. #29
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    When I inspected in Colorado, I did some stuff in some old Gold mining towns. Len will know where this place is. I believe it still has the only golf course above 10000 feet in the US. Golf balls go way farther than you anticipate...It is Leadville CO. Now the ski resort employees live there.

    Anyway I did 2 late 1800'S houses on the same street. These places both had wood foundations. Years later furnaces were added underneath the homes. There was just an access on the side of the house to get in the small furnace area. Both of these houses had at least a 4" tilt you could feel when you opened the front door. You could actually see it because the hallway was probably 20 feet long, but only 4 feet wide. The place didnt tilt because of the furnace area, it was supported from the perimeter, with the floor trusses off the ground. All I know, was when I was underneath this place, and saw the way tree trunks, and anything that was available to support things was used, I was glad to get out.
    Did it stand "the test of time" , I dont know. All I know is I am glad to be back in the land of slab on grade....

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thom Huggett View Post
    Garry,

    That is an unwise practice in my opinion, and based on my reading of other posts at this site one that many others would disagree with. Masonry must be properly constructed and detailed, even, or especially, if you just follow the empirical provisions of the IRC or IBC. How would you verify those requirements for a hole cut into an existing masonry wall? The overall building layout and configuration must also be evaluated.
    Many states and SOPs say that evaluation is to be done by a qualified professional or similar wording, which depending on state/jurisdiction can be a contractor. My point is that in stating "In any case, openings in masonry walls must be evaluated by a licensed engineer." may be required in CA but is not the case elsewhere. Just wanted to qualify how you stated the need of evaluation and by who for those not in CA. That's all.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kondzich View Post
    When I inspected in Colorado, I did some stuff in some old Gold mining towns. Len will know where this place is. I believe it still has the only golf course above 10000 feet in the US. Golf balls go way farther than you anticipate...It is Leadville CO. Now the ski resort employees live there..
    I know Leadville well, but I've never done an inspection there. The east coast guys will laugh at this, but my oldest home is an 1875 home up in the mountains at Georgeville. It had been added onto seven times over the years. It was like one of those gravity homes where the floors tilt all directions. A young single gal was buying it and despite my report that was full of cautions and derogatories, she still bought it. While the house was no where near "failure", it was a stretch to say that it had stood the "test of time" too. It is slowly failing, but with maintenance, the point of failure may be a very long time from now.


  32. #32
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    While the house was no where near "failure", it was a stretch to say that it had stood the "test of time" too. It is slowly failing, but with maintenance, the point of failure may be a very long time from now.
    Think of it as laying out in the nice bright summer sun by the beach ... at what point does your 'you are getting sunburned' turn into 'that's one heck of a sunburn you got there'.

    You are already sunburned (failing), but you are not yet "burned to a crisp" (falling down failed).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  33. #33
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Most likely the City or County, where this home is located, requires a building permit to cut a a new door way in a masonry wall. The IRC requires 1-1/2 inches or bearing for a 3 foot wide 2 member wood frame header. The IRC requires a perscriptive lintel to support the masonry or an engineered design.
    Remember the Boston Digg ceiling panels that started falling off due to creep of the anchor bolts. A true test of what time can due.
    In the code business we see the building codes strengthen imediatly after disasters and then weaken each code cycle till the next disaster. We all have short memories. After all, who rembers the hurrican that hit the New york area in 1938 that killed thousands of people. My grandmother showed my how deep the water was in Stanford Conneticut when I was a child.


  34. #34
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Henderson View Post
    I know Leadville well, but I've never done an inspection there. The east coast guys will laugh at this, but my oldest home is an 1875 home up in the mountains at Georgeville. It had been added onto seven times over the years. It was like one of those gravity homes where the floors tilt all directions. A young single gal was buying it and despite my report that was full of cautions and derogatories, she still bought it. While the house was no where near "failure", it was a stretch to say that it had stood the "test of time" too. It is slowly failing, but with maintenance, the point of failure may be a very long time from now.
    I got the same feeling in Cripple Creek. That was actually very near me. Radon readings between 50 and 200, and every place was near falling down,
    they always sold though.
    Its funny how different areas of the country think whats important. Yesterday I had a nice 93 house with PB pipe. The elderly sellers apparently had no idea. They offered to replumb, with the contractor of the buyers choice plus 2K inconvience money. The lady who is a Judge, passed...

    Paul Kondzich
    Ft. Myers, FL.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Because most DIY handy men would have heavily nailed the 1x6 verticals to the frames, failure of the 1x6 verticals is not the most likely failure mode. Inadequate bearing surface of the header on the 1x6 may lead to the most probable failure mode.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: How you like this header DYI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Think of it as laying out in the nice bright summer sun by the beach ... at what point does your 'you are getting sunburned' turn into 'that's one heck of a sunburn you got there'.

    You are already sunburned (failing), but you are not yet "burned to a crisp" (falling down failed).
    Well since you are a falling down old fart and you have "stood the test of time"....so far, I guess we can expect miracles for everything else


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