If I build it, no one will come
The Way I See It
by DON WEST
Drought then flood, then drought, then flood. We must be in Southwest Louisiana. We have about a zillion dollars invested in our yard with flowers, dirt, fertilizer, plant food, mulch, fruit trees, berries, tools, labor and all the other paraphernalia that accompanies home ownership. So, if the plants get just slightly dry, Bobbye is out there with the sprinklers, watering cans and a couple of rain dances to make sure all “her babies” are smiling. I, too, help with some of the chores, just to protect our investment, not because I have any love for playing in the dirt. She keeps a wary eye on me when I break out the poison, as I cannot tell weed from exotic plant, but sometimes I still make a mistake and kill something that is not classified a weed.
People tell me that I have the gift for writing, and that only comes from God, my mother, and a few good teachers. Though I do appreciate this gift (right brain), I would so appreciate some skills to fix, repair, replace or construct (left brain). I have none of those. Let me repeat, I have none of those. If you give me a hammer and a nail, I can nail that into whatever, but someone has to tell me where the nail goes. I can operate a power saw, and if careful, can cut a fairly straight line, but someone has to tell me the size, shape, and where to put it after it is cut.
You may remember my endeavor several years ago, to redo our master bathroom. Though it is complete, I shudder every day when I have to go in there and see the results. Bobbye tries to make me feel good about it, but I know my limitations. Yet, from time to time, I will still take on a project that I should leave to the professionals. Having said this, we have spoken on occasion about the need for a shelf in the garage. The combination of bringing together two houses when we married, along with retiring from our business, and having to move some stuff from our large building, has caused my pickup to stay outside while our garage has become a storage shed. We did have a garage sale. However, business and personal records, along with valuable equipment that has not been sold, were just moved into an empty spot and have pretty much been left there.
So, recently I decided to take some scrap lumber, nails, screws and put together a shelf. To those I admire with skills, I know it may sound simple, but to those who have my building talents, you can see what is coming. How hard can it be to make something flat, level and large enough to hold what I need? I’ve heard the advice, “measure twice, cut once”, but I usually ignore good advice. I have a couple of levels, so that should be a no-brainer, but it’s not. The results are never level – nor square – -nor smooth – and you can forget aesthetic. My projects are limited to out back, way in the back, or in rooms where no one is allowed. I will put these musings out for public display, but my building skills are private and personal – don’t ask. Trust me, I am critic enough – I don’t need a critique from all you semi-professional artisans. You could tell me to put crown molding up around a room and I could cut molding from here to the Pacific Ocean and no two pieces would fit together.
Because I am running out of space in this column, let me just say that after two days of grief, cursing (forgive me Father, for I have sinned), a dozen trips to the lumber store, and an interruption of my nap when the whole damn shelf came off the wall and scattered crap everywhere, I have completed my building projects for at least another couple of years. Good thing I can buy glue, ropes and chains to keep it in place.
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