Tomorrow’s Project

My column has a rhythm as regular as the seasons. Stories of my
projects unending have typically been reserved for the summer months;
however, this week I want to talk about our new, pre-fab pump house.
Don’t worry, this project will be more interesting than it sounds and, if it
isn’t, you won’t realize the fact until you’re done reading.

Perhaps you read about my sorrow and frustration at our frozen water
this winter. It wouldn’t have been so bad but our pump house was
built more with an eye for cost than convenience. Any work I did on
the pump or internal plumbing had to be done hanging upside down by my
upper thighs, fighting the inevitable pooling of blood in my head and
eventual black out. We need a new pump house.

I wanted a winter project anyway. I was purposeless except for my
duties as husband and cat tender. I started this construction project
in December in the warmth of my shop. My shop leads a separate life
as my garage when it isn’t a shop so the act of construction
displaced my pick-up from its usual spot.

I am a Nelson and we are a people who build everything extra-heavy. I have no formal training
as a carpenter so I use plenty of nails and lots of lumber. My shop
teacher would probably hang his head at the years of his own effort lost on me,
but my techniques are at least unique. Van Gogh didn’t paint by the numbers
and I don’t build that way, either (that comparison might be a reach.). I become focused and creative only when I must correct a mistake bourn of my own method.

2 by 6 lumber, ½ OSB panels, yellow batting insulation joined with
torx-head screws stand as a reminder that next winter our water
supply will be protected much better. Unfortunately, this whole mess
stands in our shop and must eventually move out the seven foot garage
doors. I panicked briefly last week when I realized that this small
shed must be tipped on its side to remove it. During this act, it
would be in a diagonal position and briefly taller than its highest sidewall, which might bar its
exit. This fact caused the sort of panic which is tempered with self-loathing, frustration
and emotion so intense that childhood issues long since buried may
become unearthed. These are the times when we strike bargains with
our Creator. My resolution came in the form of my tape measure and its
application when I realized I fortunately had a few inches to spare.

The true drama of this project will occur in the spring. I will have to tip the structure onto a dolly, tow it outside then hoist everything over the pump and pressure tank onto the current concrete pad. It won’t be as big a project as when JR Holmgren expertly moved our granary, but my own inexperience should increase the project’s difficulty exponentially.

My only sadness with this project is that I was unable to locate a viable deep freeze for a door. I like to recycle whenever I can, however this time I had to build my own door. Happily, in life, there’s always tomorrow, and for me there’s always tomorrow’s project.

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