Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where Have I Been?

I have been...
...building a shed.  FOREVER.  Ok, ok.  Only for the last three weekends.

We looked at the cute little wooden sheds, complete with flower boxes and real working windows and opted for a do-it-yourselfer vinyl kit.  Why?  You ask?

Personally, I would have opted for the Amish model - super cute, complete with flower boxes, and, most importantly - built by Amish.  I would even have opted for the Lowes model, which is only slightly less superior because the Amish do not, as a general rule, work at Lowes.

This because I have come to grips with the fact that I work 40 hours a week, and do not have time, tools, or patience to build my own shed.

My better half, however, has not come to terms with this.  He is in denial, and perhaps does not see the piles of building materials in the basement, purchased nearly a year ago, for a project we have only barely started.  Perhaps he does not remember how it took me 14 hours to put up curtains, or how it took him an undetermined amount of time* to install an electrical outlet.

But, I did not wish to argue, and so we compromised.  We bought the kit.  Day one was spent buying the materials.  Yes, it took five hours to go to the store, buy some large heavy stuff, drive the rented truck to the house, unload the large heavy stuff, and return the truck.

Day two left us with a false feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment.  We built the floor base, except for a few joists and the plywood topping.  We were keeping the weight down as much as possible, since we would have to carry it down to the yard.

It took nine more days before we managed to have time for the shed, and about 13 hours to get the stupid platform level and mounted on its foundation.  We tried a few methods - tying strings to corner posts, and pouring water down a hose.  Adam especially liked this one - the water would have to be at the same elevation at each end.  We worked at it diligently for about an hour, with the end result - mud.  Oh, and we decided the string was not to be trusted.  In the end, we cut one post, then used the 24' ladder and a level to figure out the length of the other posts.

It was another seven days before we got the plywood on, and we embarked on kit instruction #1 - getting the track in place and square.

I was excited to finally have gotten to "step two" of the kit instructions - begin assembling the walls.  The walls are vinyl plastic sheets about two feet wide, which slide together to create the full width.  The picture in the book shows two happy people - one on a ladder, and one holding up a wall panel.  The second panel is lifted above the first, guided into interlocking slats, and it slides effortlessly down to the ground.

In much the same manner, we attempted this.  It slid a bit before it got stuck, and Adam had to bang the top with a rubber mallet.  Each hit moved the panel about 1/4 of an inch, so after 250 or so hits, the panel was down and only slightly damaged from the banging.  Breathlessly, he mentioned that this method is very tiring.  So we got a few beers, and pondered.

We introduced soapy water, oil, and brute force into the equation.

And, three hours later, we had all the panels put together.

Someday, I hope to add a roof.

* (not finished yet...)


That one girl said...

I'm tired just thinking about it. Maybe we can trade projects: You can come over and paint way too high ceilings and I'll go hammer in a roof and when we get tired and are just plain over it, we switch. Yeah?

Cynthia said...

Hence... the reason why I bought that pre-assembled Amish shed. And pay people to do my painting. And even pay people to clean my house. I've got better things to do with my time - spend time with my family, work, do my homework, etc. Of course, perhaps it's also because the last time Bill and I did a home improvement project, outside, together - sealing the drivway... well, it was 4 years ago now and my neighbors STILL tell me that they didn't know such language could come out of such sweet-looking people. :-)