Tuesday, June 14, 2011

If these walls could talk – 14 Jun 11

Have you ever heard the phrase “If these walls could talk”? Our family and friends built the cabin with raw materials transforming it into a place of love and laughter. Even before the cabin was built the stories started. We carved out a spot in the woods where no house had been before. Trees were dropped, brush was burnt and stumps were tripped over a time or two. Granted I might not be here if Bob had actually taken me out with the tree he felled right behind me. It could easily have gone the other way with the tree taking me out like a fly with a fly swatter. Every once in a while I tell myself “Self, I know he didn’t mean it”.

During the construction I stayed in the Lucile Ball camper at night with the dogs instead of loading and unloading tools each and every day. By 7:30 PM you had to be inside as the mosquitoes came out to punish those making changes to their home. I’m sure the kids that stayed with me heard chainsaws going through the night if you catch my meaning. In one weekend we (family and friends) had the shell up and the roof on. Brother Doug, Potato Bob, Neighbor Bob, Little Dougie, Harriet (Harry), Susan, and our kids made the plans come to life. Whether it was lifting a framed wall, fastening in a truss, hanging on for dear life screwing down the metal roof to feeding the crew we all worked together.

Upstairs there is a blemish in the dry wall where Harry made her mark. She was on scaffolding when she lost her balance while painting and fell. Trying to catch her balance she stayed up right marking the wall with her paint brush as she stumbled into the closet. The painting on the wall and the blemish in the drywall where her head came to rest are all part of the 5 cent tour. What was truly funny about this is once we made sure she was OK the kids ran to get a camera to capture Harry laying in the closet with her can of paint spilled all over her and the floor. If anyone wants there are still pictures if you’re interested.

Now years later our friends both old and new still come up north eagerly anticipating what’s going to happen next. I’m sure the talk on the way up is whose going to push me on the swing, I wonder if the boat will ever be taken out, to what’s changed since last time. One or two may be wondering if there is a project planned, while others are anticipating taking money off Harry. Even Irving gets excited when I tell him whose coming to the cabin next. I suspect and hope our new friends feel at home there as well. To the crew of past and present just know that our doors are always open.

We have been there and got the T shirt with everything from bad backs, bruises, wounded pride, trees falling, large fires, small fires, ladder rides down the north wall to successfully falling on the fallen ladder down below. We have all been there and done that hopefully we are all just a little wiser because of it. As I get older I realize I’m not nearly the man that I use to be but then again you only go around once. I read it somewhere on a bumper sticker “I don’t want to just walk across the gates at heaven; I want to slide across the opening saying wow what a ride”!

During phase II construction of the pole barn Potato Bob tried to fill in a hole we just made with his body. He was carrying a post into place when he accidentally filled the 48” deep hole with his body. Did I mention the hole was more than half filled with water? Or that he was laying there with the 14’ 6” x 6” post on top of him? We did what anyone would do once he found out he was OK. Yup you guessed it one of the guys ran and got his camera. I’m sure it will be captioned something along the lines of “Bob with wood”.

I know I have a few stories to tell that should be used as lessons for our kids in the future. I wanted to move the fish cleaning house (roughly 8’W x7’H x 10’L). Susan was recovering from surgery so I had her operate the winch on the 4 wheeler. With a little careful maneuvering of the car trailer and securing my 4 wheeler to a tree to keep it from sliding the task was accomplished. Granted it’s not exactly where I wanted it but its close enough. There was also an awe shit moment a time or two where I thought my endeavors were going south. Afterwards Susan said that was the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen you do. I said it before and I will say it again “I wonder what she was comparing it to”?

If that’s the case then the weekend before last came as a close second. It seems me and the guy that I hired to help me transplant the garage door from the existing cabin to the new 26x30 pole barn had a language barrier. I hired him to help me install the garage door and he said he would be there Friday night. I left work 2 hours early to get a few things done before he arrived. I eagerly awaited his arrival and started calling periodically after he was 15 minutes late.

I knew I wasn’t going to the cities with my pole barn standing open for all to see. The shed was already half full of the treasures of our life. I started out with one of my WWDD (What Would Doug Do) moments. I put in door stops, knowing that the garage door couldn’t go all the way down. Next I put the first panel into place after spinning it around. It was then I realized that all the panels were facing the wrong way against the wall where they were stacked.

I called the hired guy again before panels 2, 3 and 4. I’m sure by this time even if he wanted to call me back he might have been just a little paranoid because of the messages I may have left him. Keep in mind that each time I put a panel into place I had to spin it around in the half filled pole barn. Of course the boat was sitting in the center of the floor making me lift the panels high as I spun them around. After the 3rd panel the opening was now ¾ filled with the three door panels.

Thinking to myself I thought “Self, there is no way you’re going to get the last panel into place by yourself”. Feeling frustrated and being a little pissed at the hired guy I sat back to access the situation. Using the WWDD method I devised a plan in my mind. Putting my Dewalt drill on the ladder with all the screws to fasten it into place I was ready. There was no way the door was going to kick my butt, not today and definitely not tomorrow. Cursing to myself I lifted the door high balancing it on the palm of my hands. Wait a minute I still needed to spin it around. Over the boat it went knocking the pre position ladder and tools over along the way. It was then I remembered telling my boss that I wasn’t going to do anything stupid when I left early that day. I was wrong on so many levels but what should I do. There was no way I was going to stop now and putting the heavy door down was not an option. Placing the edge of the door on top of the 3rd panel (6’H) wasn’t an easy task but I did it. Sure shit this was the first panel that wouldn’t stay there by itself. No ladder, no screws and no way to secure it by myself. It was like a light flashed when I noticed my 4 foot level resting against the wall. I’m pretty sure I mimicked a mime as I walked my hands carefully down the garage door trying to keep the top panel from toppling over on me.

I grabbed the level and made my way back to the center. Using the level I propped it high on the fourth panel and worked my way nervously down the level supporting the all so heavy door above. With one hand and the level I balanced the door panel above, the other patted the floor in search of the drill and screws scattered on the ground below. I found what I was looking for and made my way back upright. Did I mention that it was late and the natural lighting was now filled with the garage door? I did my business and the door was now temporarily secured in place. A few rails here, screws there, and two well placed wooden blocks and the door was now secured against potential winds. My treasures were safe and I was not just physically exhausted I was mentally exhausted as well.

In hind sight I realized only after I was done I should have turned the panels around while the opening was open. Each panel was harder than the first only because I didn’t do what Doug would do. As far as the hired hand goes he never did call me back although he mentioned to Harry later in the week that he told me he wouldn’t be coming if the weather was bad. Sure I was wet, but not from the drizzle outside.

Adding insult to injury I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked him to finish the install the next time I saw him. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it was more of a matter of doing it right the first time. I envisioned tightening the springs and numerous trips up and down the ladder. Or even too much spring tension which could send the door flying into the back wall. At this point it doesn’t really matter he never showed or called. Burn me once no problem, burn me twice I have an issue three times no way.

Susan and I have been married a while and she called in the reserves that day before I did something else stupid. She called the neighbor, who had a cousin, who installed garage doors for a living. As luck would have it he was right down the road at his brothers cleaning the barn. He made it look easy and we were done in no time. So Susan thank you for not letting me do something else to add to your list of stupid things I’ve done?

If you’re ever looking for me or want to add to the story of our cabin stop by, I will leave a light on for you!

That is all,


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