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Assembly required

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Assembly is required…

When I saw the storage shed fully put together, sitting innocently on the fringe of the Lowe’s parking lot, I thought “What’s the big deal?  We can do it ourselves in a weekend.”  After all, John designed and built one at our old house; twelve years ago we set up a smaller one for my grandparents in a day.  I really didn’t understand why the estimated labor expense was greater than the cost of the building itself, but our limited budget didn’t allow for an outbuilding of this size and the fee for assembly too.  Besides, my sister’s boyfriend offered to help us…

Fast forward ten months…the lake house had to be cleared out so an urgent plumbing issue could be addressed.  The helpful boyfriend’s long gone; the shed flooring system has been exposed to the elements since last fall and the various panel components loosely draped in plastic.  Hopefully nothing warped from the weather or the weight, because we’re down to it…heading into uncharted territory in more ways than one…

End of day three…my body aches in ways I never thought possible...  I’ve contorted myself into positions, stretched and overextended from my fingertips to my tippy toes in order to hold the panels, screws, and nuts in the right place.  At times I forced a piece into a spot through sheer stubbornness alone…only to realize it belonged on the other side.  I’ve crawled on the ground, sifted through dirt, leaves and twigs to find errant screws and washers flung aside in the heat of frustration.  I’ve heard enough angry four-letter words to scorch the earth and shamed myself by uttering similar things after smacking my head on the door header for the *&^%  umpteenth time.  I watched in horror, helpless, as a freak gust of wind from a sudden storm snatched a panel out of John’s hand and sliced open the bridge of his nose as we struggled to fasten one last section securely before the sky opened up.  I exhaled in relief when the last screw was driven home, and promised myself never again…  I’m not sure when I’ve been this tired, filthy or enlightened…

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I never fully appreciated the physical exertion something like this required of my husband…and my son...until today.  My contribution to past home improvement projects primarily consisted of design elements, painting, tiling and making sure to feed my laborers well…  Now I’ve been promoted to my level of limitation by default…

I’m a poor substitute for obvious reasons; this forty-something woman cannot match the strength, size and condition of her teenage son.  But this endeavor has allowed me to glimpse another facet of my husband’s grief…

John and Brian were a team…the men of the house, a master and apprentice, a teacher and student, working side by side, not only father and son, but friends, making it happen, getting things done.  Their shared sense of accomplishment and pride grew with each completed project.  John longs for this camaraderie and mourns its’ loss as well…  And yet he told me he regrets wasting so much of their time together doing these home improvements instead of other activities, fun things, like playing more golf, something…anything…  I disagree…I think that’s exactly what allowed their friendship to grow beyond B’s actual years.  It was being together that mattered, not what they were doing…  Hopefully he will come to realize that…

Assembling this outbuilding has been sort of like our life: a lot of fragile, confusing pieces, no instruction manual, emotionally draining and physically exhausting, an ongoing process of trial and error…  Thankfully though, our foundation is built upon the Rock…

Wishing you many blessings and always, hope…tg

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator    

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