26 07 2011

My husband is a genius. Of course, I’d expect that from someone who, if you flip two letters in his name, becomes Brain.  You see, in our backyard we have an Outhouse.  No, not that kind of outhouse.  We call it that because as Brian/Brain was building it, our girls decided that “out-building” didn’t describe it nearly as well as “outhouse.”  The name stuck, not surprising in our family.

Behind this Outhouse is the original metal storage building, the one that was old and rusty when Brian/Brain bought the house more than 25 years ago.  Although the purpose of the new Outhouse was to store the things from the old shed, somehow things never got moved over and the Outhouse quickly filled up with other stuff.  And since the old shed was now out of sight behind the Outhouse and doing no harm, it continued its peaceful existence, quietly changing from somewhat white to really rusty red.

But now it was time to do something about it.  The sliding doors no longer worked.  One of them could be wrestled to halfway close the opening, but the other was completely out of the track and bent beyond repair.  The best we could do was prop this half over the rest of the opening.

Of course, that didn’t keep the critters out.  Once when I was passing by the Outhouse, I smelled something, and it wasn’t good.  Matter of fact, it was the smell of Dead.  Although I certainly didn’t want to, I followed that smell to the old shed.  I peered in, and with the help of a flashlight I identified the source: a dead possum.  Piecing together clues from the crime scene, I figured that our dog, an amateur possum killer with the talent to go professional, had severely injured the beast, which had then found its way into the shed where it could die in relative peace.  Other, smaller animals lived there too.  Toads.  Wrens. And what we in the South like to refer to as Palmetto Bugs (it just sounds so much more genteel).

There were other problems beside the critters.  The walls were rusting away, shrinking from the floor like last year’s jeans. Sassafras and cat briar had somehow started growing on the dirt floor within. Hoping that a violent storm would take care of the issue for us didn’t achieve any results.  It was time to do Something.

Brian/Brain was on the problem long before it had even registered as a problem in my brain.  Several weeks passed before I noticed on our computer’s Internet history a slew of listings for “howtobuildyourownshed.”  Then one day he pulled everything out of the shed: a bicycle with no seat, two bicycle inner tubes with holes in them, a rusty wheelbarrow, a wagon filled with gourds and pinecones, a turkey fryer, numerous and assorted chemicals for lawn and garden care, three wrens’ nests, two sawhorses, a fertilizer spreader…Next thing I know, I’m outside on a thick summer afternoon being given directions to insert sections of PVC pipe under the frame of the shed while he lifts the thing up several inches.  “What are we doing?” I ask.

“Moving the shed.”

“Why move it?  Why not just lean heavily on one side and collapse the thing?”

Noncommittal response.  He weaves some rope around the frame of one side.  While he pulls the rope on that side, I’m to push on the other side.

Here’s where the genius part comes in.

At the count of three, he pulls, I push…and the shed starts rolling!  Just like the Egyptian slaves moved the huge stones to build the pyramids (which I know because I watched them in Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments), the shed rolls on those pipes.  We reposition the pipes and push/pull again, and again.  In short order, the shed has moved completely off its original site, which will become the site of the new shed.  We moved the contents back in the shed, minus the birds’ nests, so that they will remain dry and out of the way until the new shed is built.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.  I think it may be “Marry a genius.”  Or maybe “Those Egyptians really knew what they were doing.”  I think possibly the real lesson might be, “The value of the ‘stuff’ we keep should be greater than or equal to the cost and effort of storing it.”

Regardless, my husband is a genius.



One response

26 07 2011
Kathryn Fenner

“The value of the ‘stuff’ we keep should be greater than or equal to the cost and effort of storing it.”

True dat. The Humble Farmer, a Maine public radio character, talks about the importance of “aging” our trash. I know too many people who have “cellared” their rubbish for far too long. Set it free!

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