Monday, October 26, 2009

Shed Making, Part 2, 2.5, and 3

"If the seams are showing,
there is something wrong with the performance
or the construction of the piece."
Esa-Pekka Salonen*
I was standing on a rickety wooden ladder today. Phillips head screwdriver in one hand, bolt and washer in another, nut in my mouth. The man-sized electric drill somewhere close by, probably on the ground behind me which in essence made it of no use whatsoever, and my big ol' Sweetie sitting in a chair with an ice pack stuffed into the elastic waist cincher he wore to try to put his back into alignment. (That is another story!) I know I should have been concentrating on the engineering problem at hand, or going over in my mind what I was going to say to the EMT's when they asked what in the hell I thought I was doing, but instead, it dawned on me if they added a construction segment to the Amazing Race it would separate the wheat racers from the chaff in a big hurry.
On day two of the great shed construction, things between the man I love with all my heart and I got a little tense. This was the day we put the back and sides on the metal braces that we'd already put together so beautifully. Lining the sheets of metal up wasn't so hard. Securing the sheets at the top was a little problematic, but not undoable. Sweetie and I traded off dropping screws, losing washers and swearing like sailors. An almost immediate problem became clear to us in that the shed sits pretty close to the fence and both Sweetie and I are not so thin that we can squeeze into the small space or stand on our heads and apply the needed torque to the screwdriver. Hell, let me be honest, we could barely even see the little x that sits on the top of the screws, let alone apply torque.
Forgetting that I've just spent 3 weeks in physical therapy and a number of dollars that has yet to be determined, I squatted down and got myself into a position that was kind of a cross between Indian style and a Yoga pose. It was not graceful, but seemed to get the job done. Until I had to bend over myself to see the bolt. Apparently I applied torque to the iliotibial band of my left leg and a pain shot through my leg to my ankle. Somehow, like the pioneer women in my family before me, I bore the brunt of the pain and kept on going. It was a long and labor intensive process. When I couldn't breathe or sweat dripped into my eyes, Sweetie would take over. We were a team - perhaps not well-oiled but a team nonetheless.
Then, as if an answer to a prayer, young Mr. Cook appeared on the scene. He walks over to the shed, looks down one side, inspects the screws that just took his father and I hours to install, asks for the screwdriver and a couple of screws and washers and proceeds to finish up the final wall zip, zip, zip. Damn! How did he do that?
At that point we closed up shop. We weren't giving up, mind you, just taking a little break.
This morning as I was doing my Monday morning chores, Sweetie went back to work. I won't say he snuck out, but he didn't announce his intentions. My mind was on other things so I didn't pay close attention. My mistake ....
After about an hour I went out to say I was taking Dad to lunch and please don't get on the ladder while I'm gone. I noticed that Sweetie had a peculiar tilt to his upper body. The tilt that says, without any words, he-stretched-way-past-his-limit-and-now-his-back-resembles-a-question-mark. Without even admiring the fact that the shed that now had half a roof on it, I shook my head and left. Sadly, there are times that I can be rather cold and callous.
When I got home from lunch I knew just by looking at my man that he was hurting big time. I will write some other time about my reaction. Suffice it to say it wasn't pretty. But after blowing off some steam, I wrapped Sweetie in ice and we headed outside to tackle the 6x8 foot project that was beginning to take on the proportions of the Trump tower. Now it was my turn to attempt roofing. Where, I asked to myself, is Key West Johnny when I need him?
Sparing you the gory details I can tell you that a)except for a whole row of holes where the roof and the support beam don't exactly line up, I screwed that sucker down tight, b) I didn't fall off the ladder and c) I'm offering a $50 gift certificate to Carrabba's to anyone who will finish this job.
I know I should feel proud of what we've accomplished. But honestly, I will be happy if I never see the damn thing again. Even after we get it built, we still have the fun of filling it up with all the stuff we should probably just throw away anyway. Ooooh, I can't wait for that.
I have suggested we paint the thing to look like a gingerbread house dripping in vanilla flavored icing and covered in candy treats. I really think it would give the thing a little more character than it has right now. But what do I know?
What do I know? I'm sure by the end of this project I'll be able to write a book. Stay tuned.
Merry Me
*I Googled Esa-Pekka Salonen thinking he had to be some famous architect. Turns out he is the
Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and Conductor Laureate of Los Angeles. I'm guessing he never heard about the sticky silver tape I was instructed to put over the slight gap in the gables of the roof panels. Weatherstripping, Sweetie called it Ha! I think it is really just a fancy way for the Arrow shed people to let you know they aren't quite as exact as their directions say!


Fire Byrd said...

Oh to have been a bird on the wire watching and listening you two hammering it out,physically and mentally.
What a hoot

Molly said...

I hate projects like that...the one's that taunt you and you can't walk KUDOs to the two of you for getting it done!