Saturday, July 19, 2014

Homeward Bound III, or How to Build a Shed in 12 Easy Steps


Where once there was not, now there is shed.
                And if I figured out how to get that picture I took off of my phone and onto this blog, then you can see proof of that fact just to the left side of your screen. If I didn’t, well enjoy this picture of a cat dressed like a carpenter and take my word for it.
                I, as a single individual, constructed that shed all by myself, using very little more than my own two hands, the rest of my arms, my legs and I feel like my internal organs and probably my brain played pretty important roles in the process as well.
                I mean, you should be impressed by that, even though for a skilled constructioner such as I, the amount of work I put into building a structure of that magnitude was pretty much equal to me just walking outside and announcing “Let there be shed!”
                It was just that easy.
                Of course, nothing I said there was in any way accurate. My girlfriend’s father did literally all of the hard stuff. My role was more of the grunt/go-fer variety. Something I could handle.
                I did a lot of smaller stuff, put in a few screws, nailed some stuff down, held a thing or two in place. It’s all very technical really, but in my own not humble opinion, I am a damn fine helper very nearly some of the time.
                The reason I can’t commit to any more than that is because I’m almost embarrassingly easy to distract.
                Case in point, about two weeks ago, we were working on putting the front, or as I like to call it, the face on the shed and get its teeth (the doors) all straightened out.
                Things were rolling along nicely when it happened: A dog appeared in the yard behind ours.
                Now look, it would be a lie to say that the very presence of a dog wouldn’t be enough to distract me a least a tiny bit from the task at hand under normal circumstances. But I usually have the wherewithal to get it together after a few minutes of shouting “PUPPY!” both vocally and in my mind.
                However, these were hardly normal circumstances. The house behind ours, the one with this dog suddenly running around the yard, had been empty for months.
                Even weirder, the dog looked familiar.

                It’s right around here that the construction part of my brain, a small enough part to begin with, completely shut down so I could funnel more energy into the Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, part.
                 See, that dog didn’t just look like one I’d met somewhere out on the street one time or shared a handshake with. No, I was almost certain that was the dog who used to live in that house.
                By that point, I’d lost the ability to do much more than stand next to a ladder with one arm draped across it. I’m not sure I even had the ability to not drool all over myself.
                My mind reeled with possibilities.
                Did this dog die before his family left? Is that why they left? Is this now the ghost of that dog wondering where his family is? Is he going to start haunting us until we help him find his family or cross over into doggy heaven?!?!?!
                All of that seemed unlikely. Meanwhile in shed world, I think my physical form was struggling to hold a door straight.
                No, a more plausible situation was clearly that the family had moved, they took this and their other two dogs with them, only something had gone wrong. This dog had been left behind or gotten lost or was kidnapped and had – in full “Homeward Bound” fashion – found his way home again. Only this was not the right house. His new house, the homeward he should have been bounding towards, if you will, was elsewhere.
                I think we were still on the doors at this point.
                I was halfway through imagining this dog being voiced by Michael J. Fox and battling a porcupine in the woods when something else hit me. An even bigger mystery than how it got there.
Who would care for this dog? Provided, of course, it wasn’t a ghost, which as I’ve already said, seemed less than likely.
Naturally, the dog would just have to move into our sort of completed structure and instead of a shed, we’d just have to turn it into an absolutely state-of-the-art doggie bachelor pad. Bringing him inside the main house was risky since he’d probably acquired fleas during either his cross country journey or his escape from the grave.
While I was busy working out the schematics for a dog Jacuzzi in my head, someone opened the backdoor to the house behind ours and let the dog in.
It was our old neighbors. My girlfriend’s father suggested this was probably their last day with the house and they’d come back to finish emptying it. The dog had made the journey with them.
Nothing supernatural or tear-jerking about it.
By then I was completely emotionally-exhausted after mentally going through that puppy’s fictional adventures. My girlfriend’s dad was physically-exhausted after doing the work of six or seven people.
When you really think about it, that shed that you may or may not see at the top of the page, isn’t just a place to store a lawnmower or a leaf-blower. I mean, it will be that, but it’s so much more. It’s a testament, a monument to the functional things a man can build … as long as he can overcome completely rubbish helpers.
                It’s just like what happened with the Eiffel Tower.
                French guy 1: “OK, I think we need a support beam here to keep ze structure from falling down.”
                French guy 2: “Sacre bleu! Look at that dog!”     

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