The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

102 Pieces Doth A Shed Make

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The rains came, the rains went, and once the skies cleared the heat had dissipated to a certain degree. At least now, a nice breeze was blowing. And so, Saturday saw the two of us up early – well, at least Nat, but I followed an hour later – to begin assembling the shed that’s been the bane of Nat’s existence. For more than several weeks now this project has been weighing on his shoulders and mind and he’s been ever so anxious to get it erected and done with. We both felt pretty sure that the actual panels of the shed could be erected fairly easy, and they were. The slow and grinding part was selecting the proper numbered panels for the left wall, right (window) wall, back wall and front wall with door. Each panel was numbered individually (and of course some panels were missing their numbers), but like tongue-in-groove flooring, we were able to discern which piece connected to the other. We were somewhat surprised how well each panel went into place, as with most some assembly required items, it’s never that easy. There’s always one piece that’s missing, disjointed or cut wrong. Keeping the good thoughts, we continued on until all four walls were up and the corner posts secured to prevent the whole damn thing from ¬†falling down around us. The tedious work involved Nat climbing up and down the ladder in order to connect one panel to the next. With the shed being located in direct sunlight during the morning hours, we took our time and broke at 10 minute intervals. Towels in hand and water bottles at the ready, we cooled off under the patio umbrella, enjoyed the nice breezes that blew our way, reread the instruction manual and looked over at our handiwork thus far.

Knowing we earned a good break, we headed down the road to our usual haunts – Tim Horton’s and Wendy’s – for lunch. We also took a few extra minutes to pick up milk and the newspaper, headed home and continued on with the task at hand. We were so close to being done. At one point during the construction we noticed two hawks soaring around in the clear blue sky right above our heads. We looked at each other. Were they looking for fresh meat? Were we in their way and thus preventing the little critters that scurried around our backyard from getting snatched up in their talons? If that was the case, we were going to hang about for as long as it took for them to look for greener pastures. One of them had already done damage last year by swooping in and whisking away a baby cardinal and that was not going to happen again, if we could help it. After surveying all around our yard for close to five minutes, the hawks soon realized there was no food to be had and moved on. Thank goodness. The baby bunny that’s been bouncing around our yard in the evenings and feeding with the birds was at least safe for another day – or so we hoped!!

By mid-afternoon the four walls were up. The heat was beginning to build and now satisfied that everything would hold for the night, we stopped. The tough part was going to be Sunday morning – the roof beam. Nat poured over the instructions again and again to make sure everything was clear in his mind for the morning. We were now in for the night and despite the fact that TV viewing is pretty cruddy on Saturday nights, we enjoyed the cool air of the house, the peace and quiet of our surroundings and a bacon sandwich with chips for supper – easy, breezy!!!

Sunday morning came soon enough. Nat didn’t get a whole lot of sleep, and I’m thinking he was anticipating the task ahead – that roof beam. Before I could even down my morning meds, he was outside and had the roof beam assembly done. Without me yammering away at him and confusing things, he was able to follow instructions and get the beam assembled without too much hassle. He had a couple of concerns but wouldn’t know the results until the actual beam was sitting atop and joining the front and back wall panels. Once I arrived outside, still a bit tired from the previous day (more exercise than I’ve seen in several years) he was ready for my assistance in lifting the beam up to be inserted into each end wall unit. Naturally, the first try wasn’t successful. The rear wall had a narrower gap than required by the roof beam and being vinyl it was going to be a perplexing fix. Nat felt the individual wall panels weren’t sitting evenly and decided to take a few pieces out, readjust what he could and then re-assemble. Once done, the second try wasn’t successful – albeit 1/16th of an inch closer! Again, Nat made another attempt but this time shaving small pieces off each end of the caps to widen the gap just enough to accept the beam. Again, the third try wasn’t successful – albeit 3/16th of an inch closer! With utmost determination, and being so close, he continued to shave away a bit more. Another trek up the ladder, another holding of the roof beam by me until Nat could climb his ladder with his end of the beam and insert each end into the respective gaps. VOILA! We had success!! With one or two taps by his trusty mallet that damn beam was in!! At this point we were both exhausted. The sun was beaming down on us with each try, I kept banging my shins on the little step ladder with each try and the sweat was pouring off each of our faces faster than running tap water. After completion we ran for the cool of the patio umbrella, grabbed a cold drink and took a deep breath. Thank God, that was over!!

By the time the roof beam was inserted it was nearing lunch time. Nat took the time to cool down and called Jenny in England – his regular routine to check in on her every couple of weeks – while I started fixing our lunches. We were now certain the worst was over. The remaining roof panels should be inserted like their tongue-in-groove wall panel cousins with relative ease. Nat assured me he could continue on his own, for me to retreat to the cool air indoors and he would call if needed. He wasn’t too far off the mark. Most of the panels were put into place and screwed down for security, except for the last panel on each side of the roof. There’s always one, isn’t there?? The last panel on each side was going to be an extremely tight fit and as I held the shed walls to prevent them from tilting too far left or right, Nat pushed as hard as he could to get the panel into place. Putting his thinking cap on he ran for the WD40 and with one or two squirts the panel was in. Naturally as he continued on with the opposite side of the roof, the same thing happened, but this time this sucker was really tight. Nat had to unscrew the panels on either side in order to allow for some give and with that, the last panel was slipped into place. We had lift-off – the shed was complete, except for the door!!!! I could see in Nat’s blue eyes he was thrilled with the whole thing. At least now 99% of the worry would slip from his mind as he was in the home stretch. With the installation of the door, this shed would contain 102 pieces, excluding screws, and Nat’s heart and soul is in each and every one of them.

I’m now hoping this will be the end of my postings regarding the construction of the shed. Having said that, the door may be a bit of a problem, but at least the structure itself is up and Nat will soon have a place for his snow blower, lawn mower and bicycles, along with anything else he can find room for. After storing each and every one of those 102 pieces, he’ll have his garage back ready for the Van and his workshop. Now, I’m beginning to wonder what kind of project he’s going to get up to next!! We can only hope it will contain fewer pieces!!

Our Little Shed

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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