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Take The ‘You’ Out of 'Do-It-Yourself'

I have finally come to the realization that perhaps I am not a do-it-yourself kind of guy. Recently, I tackled, what was supposed to be a simple project, of setting up a vinyl garden shed and that decided my latest revelation. Spring is a great time to start simple projects and the fellow at the garden shed store told me it shouldn’t take more than a day to erect this new structure.

The project started because my old and quite functioning red metal garden shed was partially demolished by a tree during the winter, causing a mess inside and slight damage to some of my ‘man toys’, like my rake and my shovel. It was built by someone else over twenty five years ago and if it hadn't been for that tree it would have lasted me another twenty five years.

I was excited, when the shed arrived... in a box... that weighed 100 Kg. Two men, twice my size pushed it from their truck into my garage, where it sat for two days ominously reminding me to undertake this now challenging project. My first step was to demolish the old shed and get rid of it. I woke up on the third day ready to begin, only to see a grey sky and lots of rain. Pleasantly I returned to bed deciding that tomorrow would be another day.

Tomorrow came and the sky was clear, so off I went, yet again. I had no idea how rusty twenty-five year old screws can be and was thankful I had a reciprocal saw to cut through the metal. It took a bit longer than the three hours I had allotted and was tiredly grateful, the next day, when the last piece finally came apart. The next challenge was what to do with all this metal. It certainly wouldn't fit in my car and thank goodness my neighbour has a trailer and offered to take it to the dump for me. That in itself could be another article.

I returned to the construction site and looked at the patio stone foundation, still intact from the old shed. It didn't look quite level so I decided to check it. I knew that level app on my iPhone would one day come in handy. I stood back, scratching my head, and as learned the entire floor was crooked. No problem, I thought, I will simply level the stones. Do you have any idea how much a patio stone weighs? I certainly didn't and when someone said 80 lbs., (which translates into 36 kg) I was shocked. Not as shocked mind you until I actually lifted the first stone.

It took me the better part of a day to level the floor (level being defined as an acceptable straightness based on my weariness) and now it was time to open the secret shed box. I looked at my watch and decided that it was too late in the day and 'tomorrow' would be a better day to start.

The next morning I was surprisingly eager to tackle the project, thinking the most difficult part of this task was behind me. I knew when I could not get the box open, that I should rethink the entire thing, but with my handy reciprocal saw I felt confident and managed to finally remove the lid, only to stare at hundreds of pieces of vinyl, metal and whatnots. I found the instructions, opened them and wondered who wrote them. Phrases like ' take the part with marking AAA309 and attach to part....' made me think this was obviously something which requires a little bit of planning, not to mention a degree in engineering.

I was pleasantly surprised to find it was easier than I thought, once I got the hang of the manner in which the instructions were written. The pieces started to flow together and it was only noon when I had the floor and side walls standing. It was time to grab some lunch and view my artistic work. I contemplated continuing, but as I had to head out of town for a few days I decided this would be a good place to stop.

Two days later, when I pulled into my driveway, I was shocked at what I saw. There was my architectural masterpiece blown over and laying in pieces. I was heartbroken but immediately attended to its needs. I was pleased to see that there was very little damage and rebuilding would be easy... tomorrow.

It took me half a day to get the shed back to where I had left it a few days ago and confidently I ventured onward. The roof took some doing, as I am terrified of heights, but somehow I got it together. Finally around noon the next day, it was finished, complete with window, floor and doors. I stood triumphantly pondering my creation and invited everyone I knew to share my moment of success. Unfortunately no one was as enthusiastic as I was, but no matter, I had reached a new plateau in 'do-it-yourselfness'.

There were 7 or 8 items from the box left over, which, considering I started with 200 plus pieces, was not a bad percentage. I got rid of them quickly and presumed they were extras.

Later that week I tackled assembly of a BBQ, which with the help of a friend was pretty easy, now that I was a Master Builder. I was on a roll so I also decided to assemble a weed whacker, all by myself.

It is evident that I have turned a corner in my life and have discovered a new talent. Grant it I am not yet at the stage where I can rent out my services as a handy man, but am now certainly available for consultation on any do-it-yourself projects.

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