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Los Angeles, CA, United States


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Organically Built

I love watching movies and admittedly, I'll take in a chick flick every so often.  One of my fave chick flicks is Pretty Woman.  I know-that's so old you're teenage daughter never saw it (she didn't even the Fonz or Happy Days).  Remember that scene when Julia Roberts points out to Richard Gere that he just buys companies then sells parts of the them  for a profit and later Gere changes his mind during a negotitation  and decides to go into partnership because he'd rather build something than break something apart.  I kind of related to Gere in that movie.  No, it's not my rugged good looks, those beady little eyes or my american gigolo past.

Like Gere in Pretty Woman, it was just easier to buy than to build something.  I'm talking building something from scratch using real power tools, a shovel, a level, a hammer and some elbow grease.  Yeah, construction work that Bob Vila would be proud of.  It was so easy in the past to hire a handyman or contractor or buy something pre-built instead of doing it myself.  I took the easy way out using the excuse, I'm too busy or I don't want to give up my weekends.

Not working, I learned a lot about time management and realized, time is a commodity I do have and our social calendar isn't so busy so why not build something.  Which leads me to my current project, THE SHED.  Yes, I have been building a garden shed behind my garage.

Going into this project, I resisted the thought of building it.  The excuses came up like "It's going to cost more," or "I don't have the time." or "I don't know what the heck I'm doing."  Then came the justification not to build-putting hard numbers down on paper and pricing it out.  Bottom line-I convinced my self that saving a $200 and building it would be cheaper only because my time is valued at a lot less than it was when I was working.  Little did I know, the learning experience was invaluable.

So this piece is not going to detail the steps on how to build a shed.  You're bored shitless already, and I want you to finish reading this blog.  Rather,  I want to discuss the journey.  Ah, there's that word "Journey."  We hear it  all the time at church, at seminars, in the shelf-help books (not a typo) and on TV with Dr. Phil.  The journey is about being open to possibilities and taking each step at a time and reveling in the satisfaction of doing it on your own.

So how does this relate to shed building?  I want to preface that I'm not on this journey alone.  I have a friend who also wanted to create with a lot more knowledge of construction than me so we embarked on the project together.   So this journey begins with the planning phase, the foundation, the framing, and the final touches.  Note, we only sketched this thing together.  We are not working off blueprints or an actual instruction manual.

Now you're thinking, didn't he just say he wasn't going into detail on how to build a shed?  You're right. but it's my blog and I can write if I want to.

So the journey is broken into phases and like life, there are so many parallels.  During the planning, a vision is created along with the design with discussion about the fundamental things we want included in the shed. 

Once the bill of materials is created and purchased, it's time to lay down the foundation. The foundation is the hardest part of the process as it takes time and effort to ensure things are level.  Doing this right makes everything later a lot easier.

The framing process is straight forward and actually fun as the shape of the shed gets closer to the original vision.  The roof goes up and the final touches like paint, trim, and shelving are done.

So what's the big deal about building a shed?  First, it's creating something from nothing.  Taking pieces of wood, some nails and some sweat and putting something together that is useful.  The final product is greater than the sum of its parts.   Secondly, there is a satisfaction every step of the way.  We work on this every Saturday and every Saturday evening, we stand around and admire our handiwork.  There's a certain pride and a sense of accomplishment as we get closer to completion. And finally, we make adjustments along the way.  Our vision changes as we see opportunities to improve upon our original plan. 

So how is this a journey?  The parallels to life are so obvious. As a sparkle in our parents' eyes, they made plans and had a vision for us.  They gave us a foundation-a moral code, their values, their traditions.  They watched us grow (the framing) as we became educated.  Our parents put the final touches on us by giving us advice and words of encouragement and love.
We became sheds to stand alone and make ourselves useful.  We are greater than the sum of our parts.  And the cycle continues as our parents built their sheds, we move forward to build our sheds.  Enjoy the journey.

Some days, I like to go out back and push and lean on that shed, sit back and admire the craftsmanship and for a brief moment  bask in the glory that I built that. 

1 comment:

  1. I like the analogies. I guess the hubby and I have been building 3 sheds. At this point we are "reinforcing" them so they can withstand "harsh weather" and other unfavorable conditions :)