Mr. DD is the hardest working person I know. Bar none, as the saying goes. Yes, I have (and will continue to do so) complained about his inability to shut cabinet drawers and doors; wring out a dish rag; throw his clothes into the hamper instead of dropping them on the floor, but none of those things are because he’s “lazy” per se. Just bad habits.
He’s also very methodical when it comes to doing the job right. Prep and carry through on step A correctly and step B will be easier and step C will be easier still. It’s why he’s so good at his job at auto-body repair and painting.
Now if you have just an inkling of the type of person he is, take that to the nth degree. That’s Mr. DD.
We have been on the lookout for an old shed to move to our property to use as my gardening getaway. Sure, we could build one, but I want something that has rustic character. Something that wasn’t perfect. I want weathered paint, old wood, Character. A couple weeks ago, my husband received a call from a friend who was razing some dilapidated houses in town, and did Mr. DD want one of the detached garages? If so, move it and it’s yours. You bet! My husband responded.
It was a one car garage approximately 12×21. It would easily park the old golf cart that had been converted into my garden mule and implements of destruction as well as a plethora of pots, garden art (minus a garden gnome, yet to be acquired), and boxes and tubs of poisonous fertilizers, weed killers and slug bait. All these things were taking up space in the garage, his shop and our basement. With them spread out like that, it makes it hard to find something when I need it. Don’t even ask me how many hose sprayer attachments I have (six, seven, maybe?).
After inspecting and subsequently approving it for structural integrity, Mr. DD set to work on getting my future gardening shed prepped for its move from cracked and warped foundation to its new one on our property.
He bought a pickup truck-bed full of lumber: 12x2s and 4x2s and nearly 100 lag bolts. He rented a roll-off as he decided it would be best to strip the building of all its nasty sheetrock and useless rolled insulation. He would spend every night after work stripping the walls and filling and refilling the dumpster; jacking up its four corners so he could get a sawzall to cut the nails and bolts that originally secured the building down; and finally creating a support structure that a trailer could be backed under in order to lift the building in whole and release it forever from its foundation.
For two weeks this went on. He was too tired by the time he got home at night to eat supper. He barely saw XBoy and ZGirl during that time as they were usually in bed an hour or more before he’d walk through the door. He wanted to make sure that everything he did was perfect. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt because he took a shortcut. He was so worried about safety, that he didn’t even want me to follow him in my van with the kids when it came time for the actual move, for fear that we might be the ones that something would happen to.
He drove the route several times to make sure there were no low hanging trees, no electrical wires. He took the flattest and least traveled streets. He called the county to get the permits. He called the city for an escort inside city limits. He called on his friends to be his escorts outside of city limits. And finally earlier this week, the move was on.
I imagined how I would arrange all my stuff. My. Stuff. The way I wanted it – on the walls. Finally, my shop, while much smaller, would be ALL mine.
I stopped in town with the kids to take a picture of the garage before its move, went out to eat with them and before heading home, detoured off to the planned route Mr. DD was taking to see the progress.
Oddly, I did not encounter him. I didn’t think we had eaten that fast or that he’d be traveling that slow…but since I had received no phone call from him indicating otherwise, I assumed all was well and headed back home to wait for him there.
Over an hour later, he still was not home. I was dying to call him, but knew he’d never hear the phone if he was sitting on the tractor he was using to haul the trailer.
Finally, my phone rang. It was Mr. DD and he said, “You won’t be getting a free garden shed after all,” and silence. My first thought was that he was ticketed and handsomely fined for some kind of improper permit detail. Oh how I wish.
He went on, “We didn’t get five blocks away. I was going through the intersection and it had a small dip in it. The back end of the building was ripped off when it bottomed out on the depression.”
He went on to explain how he had to cut away what was dragging as the city police refused to let him continue on, and rightfully so. His friends used the chains to reinforce the straining walls enough to keep it safely on the trailer. They picked up the debris the street. And then they returned to the start of their all too short trip and set the now leaning and collapsing garage back onto its original foundation.
When he finished telling me all that had happened, his voice was cracking. He wasn’t near tears. He was in tears. All that work and time, utterly wasted. The time he could have spent with XBoy and ZGirl. Time he could have spent in the back yard when the soil was dry, but now saturated with a week’s worth of heavy rains. The money frittered away on lumber and supplies and rentals, while not excessive, was enough to add insult in injury. He was – he still is – gutted.
No, there is no way to salvage it. In fact, we were surprised that the morning after a nasty thunderstorm with strong winds and hail went through, to find it was still standing. Probably because of all the reinforcement Mr. DD put in it but was unable to recoup safely.
And next week he scheduled his vacation with plans to pour a foundation and setting the shed permanently in its new home. This, he had told me, was to be my anniversary and birthday gift . . . and now?
And now, I told him, you can take a week off and do what YOU want to do and if that’s nothing? then do nothing. I remind him that yes, while it sucks what happened, I am so very grateful that neither he nor anyone else was injured, even though his pride and confidence took a heavy beating. Letting him take the time off without throwing a list of honey-dos a mile long will be my gift, my much too small and insignificant gift compared to what he was trying to do for me, to him.