Short satire on Do-it yourself (mostly true)
|How to Build a Shed and Other Things you Should Never Do
Not long after we moved, we (read “my wife”) thought we needed more storage room. We had just moved from a 1700 square foot house to a 2900 square foot house, but we needed more storage. This only proves that junk will multiply to fill all available space. Take out a small piece of junk from the pile and it gives enough room for the rest to do their multiplication thing and fill that space. It is just like rabbits, but you don’t have to feed junk.
But, to keep peace in the family, I agreed and went looking at storage sheds. At our local Home Depot, I found a small 8 by 10 foot shed that cost $1700. As I was talking to the salesman, he pointed out the crew that built the sheds as they came walking up to us. It was a crew of two. One appeared to be about 18 and had a nose ring the size of a CD and tattoos where most people don’t places for tattoos. The other looked like an illegal alien. No, I don’t mean “not from this country”, I mean “not from this planet.” He had one eyebrow from ear to ear and no neck. His knuckles left grooves in the dirt as he walked. I knew then that if those two could build sheds for a living, I would have no problem building just one. That was my first mistake and it just gets worse from there.
I went home and told my wife that I could build a bigger and better shed and do it cheaper than buying one. It took two weeks to convince her of that, since she remembers the results of some of my other projects. I have a selective memory and tend to remember only the one that was right. I still remember the feeling of triumph after I changed that light bulb.
But, after promising that I would build not just a shed, but a work of art, I got permission to proceed. I then ran a search on the internet and found I would only have to pay $14.00 to download a free plan on shed building. (Second mistake)
I downloaded the plans and started looking through them. I had always thought that joists were what knights did to knock each other off their horses and rafters were people who went down river in flat bottom boats. But, the pictures were big, even if the words were wrong, so I went and bought what I thought was enough lumber to build my shed. Hey, it was in the picture in the plans. How was I to know? (Third mistake)
I started with the floor, since that was the second picture in the plans. The plans also said it had to be square and level. So, I got one corner square and one of the others level. Close enough, right? (Fourth mistake)
Then, I went and bought more lumber. The plans said I had to put up studs. Now, I only know two definitions of studs. One is a complete male horse and the other is a good looking man. Neither of these seemed right, so I built some walls. There was more of that square and level crap, but I had been there and done that. (Fifth mistake)
By this time, the thumb on my left hand looked like raw hamburger. All I had to do was think about a hammer and it started bleeding. In order to stop pounding on my thumb, I bought a screw gun. That is a thingy like a drill that feeds screws from a belt and you do not hit your thumb with it. That means you can’t hurt yourself with it. The word “gun” should have told me something. The plans did not show one, but my neighbor has one and I saw him use it once. (Sixth mistake)
While I was at the hardware store, I bought more lumber to build the rafters. To build them, I had to cut out gussets. I had never heard of a gusset, but I had pictures. (Mistake number seven ) Things went along well, screwing my gussets to my rafters, until I read I had to put the rafters across the walls and stand them upright. The rafters were shaped like triangles, so why worry about square. It was hard enough just to get them upright. I found by nailing them together so they would all fall at once made it much easier than letting them fall one at a time.
Putting up the siding was not much of a challenge, until I got to the last piece on each side. For some unknown reason, each one of the pieces of siding was not square. I thought about stuffing the plans under the shed and setting them on fire. I had a promise to keep, so I cut enough off the pieces to make them fit and put in pieces where needed. (Mistake the eighth)
I managed to put the roof on by dragging the plywood up from the other side with a rope thrown over the top of the building. I put the shingles on and had no broken bones from the fall, just several large bruises.
Then I started the tricky part, building the doors. I followed the plans, exactly, step by step. Then, I followed the plans exactly, step by step, again. On the fifth try, it looked like I was going to actually make a door. I was holding a corner brace in place and, with my trusty screw gun, screwing it in from the other side. (Do I need to tell you--mistake ten) All off a sudden, my trusty screw gun turned on me and screwed my hand to the door. I immediately said, “OH, my goodness, OH shucky-darn, Oh my, this causes pain. Golly Gee Whilikins” Well, that is what I meant to say. What I actually said blistered the paint on my neighbor’s house and killed three rose bushes in his front yard. The grass shriveled and turned brown for two blocks around. Birds fell from the sky, dead or dying. And there I stood, a door screwed to one hand and a screw gun with no reverse in the other. I considered chewing my hand off at the wrist, but the blue flames and black clouds coming from the shed attracted my wife’s attention. She came out side and handed me another screw gun, with reverse. She paused only long enough to go back and get the camera so she could record the moment for posterity. Now, whenever someone talks about a mistake they made or something silly they may have done, she gets out the picture. “You think that is stupid. Here, let me show you what my husband did.”
I did go ahead and finish it, after I had healed. It averages out to be 12 feet by 16 feet. Counting tetanus shots, emergency room costs, materials and labor, it is only three times as much per square foot as Home Depot wanted. And the damage to my ego, priceless.