Outdoors: Some days, it doesn't even pay to get up out of bed

Have any of you ever had one of those days, where it doesn't even pay to get out of bed?

Well, I did, late last week. Only, instead of one day, it was two days. Here's what happened:

On the, soon-to-be-regretted, advise of Norm Budden, I had bought one of those "Easily assembled in two hours," 6' X 8', metal, storage sheds for my backyard.

That first morning was when we were going to put it together. BIG MISTAKE! And more importantly, remember that key phrase "Easily assembled in two hours."

Initially, there were two of us, Budden (Hereafter known as "The Contractor") and Little Donnie Q (Hereafter known as "The Apprentice").

I say initially there were two of us because later that morning we were joined by another good friend, Bob "Slick" McCulloch (AKA "The Trouble Maker") and then somewhat later by Elaine McGee (AKA "The Lunch Bunch Gal").

That's a total of four people involved in one, little, "Mickey Mouse," 6' X 8' shed.

We started at 7 a.m., and I said, "Heck, Norm, if that box says this shed is easily assembled in two hours, the two of us ought to get it done in a lot less than two hours."

Norm, being much wiser than I because he is The Contractor and I am only The Apprentice, said, "Gee, I don't know but we can try."

Our first warning of trouble should have been the small box of floor pieces that said, "This floor is easily assembled in five minutes."

It took us longer than that to get the box open and the eight pieces of the floor laid out on the ground. It's true! Some 25 minutes later, the 8-piece floor was assembled.

Then, we opened the first of two, huge boxes, I took out the instruction manual and opened it to page No. 1, where it said, "18 easy to follow steps for your new shed."

That should have been our second warning of trouble, but like fools we charged full speed ahead.

At 11 a.m. (four hours later!) Elaine called to see how we were coming along.

We were both wringing wet with sweat, had skinned knuckles, were rapidly getting short tempered and had pieces and parts of that shed scattered all over my backyard.

I snarled and told her about our slow progress, mostly caused by The Contractor not reading the instruction manual.

Then I asked if she would bring lunch for us, at noon, as it looked like we were going to be a while. She snickered and asked, "Gee, what happened to the "easily assembled in two hours project?"

I said some very bad words, hung up and hurried back to being The Apprentice (AKA the guy who gets The Contractor his coffee, doughnuts, napkin, eye glasses, diagrams, knife, screwdriver, tape measure, marking pencil, etc.).

Now, it gets interesting:

While The Contractor was drinking his coffee, eating his doughnuts, putting together various parts of the shed, pointing at me and shouting orders, The Apprentice was busy finding a level spot in the backyard, where that miserable shed was going to be erected.

This little task involved cutting back some big sections of the branches of my Lilac bushes, removing the base of my birdbath and cutting out a large section of my lawn.

Somehow, I don't think that work was included in the "Easily assembled in two hours."

About, 11:30 a.m., we finally reached a point in the construction project where it really was beginning to look like a small shed, almost completely built.

Then like a fool, The Apprentice said, "Hey, Norm, if this damn shed is almost done, how come there are so many parts still left in that one box?"

The Contractor carefully read the instruction manual (for the first time) and said, "Oh Oh."

The Apprentice said, "What in the hell do you mean, "Oh Oh?"

The Contractor said, "I missed two pages in the manual and we are going to have to tear the shed back down to put in those pieces that are still in the box."

It got very loud and noisy, while I was using words that my Mama never taught me.

In the middle of the "taking the shed back down" phase of the project, we heard a loud snicker, turned around and "The Trouble Maker" was sitting in one of my lawn chairs, watching us, with tears of laughter in his eyes.

We wiped the sweat off our brows, said some very nasty things and told him to get out of the chair, stop laughing and join us in re-assembling the shed.

I quickly discovered that it is very easy to hate someone who can't stop laughing at you.

About noon, The Lunch Bunch Gal, like an angel from Heaven, arrived with fried chicken, macaroni salad, chips and lemonade and we all took a very welcomed lunch break.

Then it was back to work for the three of us, while the wisest of all, Elaine, took off.

At 2 p.m. I told The Contractor and The Trouble Masker that I had to quit to get cleaned up for a doctor appointment. The Contractor cursed, The Trouble Maker continued to laugh and they also decided to quit for the day.

At this point, the project had involved lots of swearing, skinned knuckles, a total of seven hours, four individuals, coffee, doughnuts, lunch, cutting down Lilac bushes, digging lawn, etc. and that no-good shed was not done yet.

Fast forward to Day No. 2:

At 7 a.m., The Contractor arrived and immediately demanded hot coffee and fresh, cream-filled doughnuts. Not being too polite, I told The Contractor where he could put his cream-filled doughnuts.

We began to work on that hated shed and, wonder of wonders, guess what? Everything went as smooth as silk. Right on!

Hmmm, maybe it was because The Trouble Maker had decided to stay home, rather than come on over and laugh at us.

By 10 a.m., all of the pieces of the shed were in their proper places, and most amazing, all of the pieces were used up, the roof was on, the door opened, closed and locked and the floor fit like a glove. Hallelujah! My shed was done and it is beautiful.

It had only involved:

The better part of two days.

Four people.

Four pots of coffee.

Eight doughnuts.

One large bucket of fried chicken.

One big bowl of macaroni salad.

One big bag of Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

One pitcher of lemonade.

One trip to get two sheets of plywood (forgotten by The Contractor).

One trip to re-rivet a door hinge (broken off by The Contractor).

One badly cut finger (on the left hand of The Contractor).

One very vital screw (lost by The Contractor).

Two badly skinned, bald heads on The Apprentice and The Trouble Maker (caused by some low-hanging Lilac branches).

Lots of swearing (by everyone except Elaine).

Lots of snickering and laughing (by The Trouble Maker).

25 minutes to assemble a very simple, 8-piece floor.

And, last but not least, 10 hours to assemble that dirty, rotten, no-good, miserable, 6' X 8' metal shed (AKA "Easily assembled in two hours").

But, best of all, now that my little metal shed is built, I am not under any obligation to give any reference to anyone about the Norm Budden Construction Company.


-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you about my next home-improvement project.

If he says, "It's going to be a large, storage closet on the rear of my garage," he wins the bet.


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