Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In which we fail to buy lumber

Here is a small house. Very cute, and just right for the "Chicken Project" the family is about to embark on.

Alas, the house costs $1300. A bit pricey for a few eggs.

Aha, we say, let's build our own!

Phase I of the "Shed Project" involved a great deal of research, mostly involving reading library books. We did however buy a book of our own, which contains fabulous pictures of romantic barns and very charming sheds. None of them looks like this picture.

Phase II (a Monday, of course): Panic ensues.
All people who have forced neighbors to tear down offending structures for failure to meet zoning requirements (and yes, the neighbors really were trying to pull a fast one) labor under the secret fear that they will be punished in like measure. So part of me felt that it was inevitable that my tiny little shed project (48 square feet) should be subject to the permit process. Descriptions, drawings, construction specifications and instrument surveys would all be scrutinized. My husband, who evidently does not fear cosmic judgment, thought this was silly and he called the building inspector, who confirmed that structures under 50 square feet (YES!) are not his problem.

Phase III: Sketches and lists.
Softball games are good for this kind of thing, because you can be there, but your full attention is not really required. The result was 6 pages of drawings, most of which are wildly inaccurate due to the absence of any actual windows to plan around. So I'm guessing, which probably is not the way professionals do it.

Phase IV: Materials are not purchased.
After a great deal of cowardly procrastination (we are not a building people, and housework suddenly seemed vitally important this morning), we went to the big box store with a list of materials for the foundation and floor. Not the whole project, because that would be an undertaking of mind-boggling complexity and would never fit in the car. Just a small list of some supplemental tools and basic joist/flooring supplies. Still under the influence of my I'm-not-a-builder-and-everyone-will-know-and-laugh-at-me jitters, I took great care in selecting a cart, which turned out to be the wrong kind. As a warm up, I grabbed a whole bunch of tools. Matty tested out mallets, and decided that they suit his look very well.

I decided that a reciprocating saw (if I am nice to it, will it be nice to me?) and a new framing hammer made me look in-the-know. We added some spiffy builders crayons and a speed square for good measure, and went to get lumber.

Which they do not carry at this store. So, tomorrow we will repeat the process and head off to a real live lumber yard to order heaps and heaps of lumber and plywood and other shed type things. The nice people at the lumber yard will even deliver the goods to our house, which will solve the problem of how on earth to haul 7 sheets of plywood home in a minivan.

p.s. They really don't recommend that you drive people around on these lumber carts. Wonder why?

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