Sunday, November 14, 2010

I See, Said The Blind Man, As He Picked Up His Hammer And Saw

Serial Builder H is at it again. He's building a bedroom addition onto his MiniMansion.

That man is a regular Sara Winchester. Well, except for being a man and not named Sara, and not being 4'11", and not being heir to the Winchester repeating rifle fortune, and not believing that ghosts are out to get him, and not being dead. But other than those trivial inconsistencies, he's exactly like her. He has been working continuously on building his own version of the Winchester House since shortly after I met him.

The building bug bit H The Builder back in 1988, before we were married. He started building a shed/workshop out of particle board and bits of shipping crates and wooden pallets that were cast off at his job at the time. Instead of paying to have that scrap lumber hauled away, the company let people bid on it. Many a time, H The Builder won such a bounty with a bid of $5. In the city, people don't want scrap wood, apparently. Or have a truck to haul it somewhere.

Toolshed 1 was constructed on the land of Buddy, which sits one parcel away from where the Mansion would later take shape. Back then, it was only a sawdust mote in H The Builder's eye. Toolshed 1 was a project for Apartment Dweller H to escape the hustle and bustle of outer suburbia, chug a few Milwaukee's Best, and let his hair down in a carpenter kind of way. When I bought my $17,000 house in town, H The Builder towed Toolshed 1 to the backyard on the back of a car-hauler and set up shop. Which meant that he never worked on it again, but planted some daffodils around the perimeter.

After we married, H The Builder used Toolshed 1 to store fishing tackle and small tools. The purchase of Hillmomba led to the building of the BARn, which at first was just a red-metal barn. Then came the barroom loft, with its bar and black-and-white checkered floor, and TV, and John Deere memorabilia, and Falstaff collectibles, and stools garnered from work cast-offs, along with a drafting table. Quite an eclectic mix, but suitable for boyhood sleepovers once the #1 son reached the age of 11. But the BARn was years in the making, even though it was started before #1 was born.

The barn led to construction of the original outhouse, because there were no sewers in Hillmomba, and when you gotta go, you gotta go, and driving 20 minutes back to town just doesn't cut the mustard. Toolshed 1 was hauled back to Hillmomba to keep the outhouse company. Then the Mansion was begun, which kept H The Builder busy for about 18 months. During which time The Pony was begun.

For a time, the Mansion basement held the allure for H The Builder. It received a workshop, a home office, a bathroom, and a very special treasure room with walls of concrete. But ADDH soon tired of such domestic pursuits, and started the A-Frame, a little cabin down by the creek with a sitting room and loft. He and his older boys spent many a weekend down there, which beat sleeping in the back of a pickup truck under a tarp, which is what they did while working on the barn.

The A-Frame was no sooner sprouting weeds around its wide base than H The Builder embarked upon the MiniMansion project. A homey cabin like one might find at Silver Dollar City, the MiniMansion broke ground just before The Veteran shipped off for the first of his 3 Iraq tours of duty. The MiniMansion became a three-dimensional billboard for all things flea market and countrified. Its outer walls were festooned with skillets and saws and harness and an occasional giant snakeskin.

With a MiniMansion down the creek from the A-Frame, on land newly purchased from the Land Stealer, another outhouse was necessary. One built of 4 x 4 lumber scraps from crates used to ship rolls of band steel that would be turned into butcher saw blades at the job of H The Builder. Outhouse 2 was not very satisfying for H. He was restless, building chicken coops, and an entrance ramp for his very special chicken, and a rabbit hutch, and a couple of goathouses.

This summer saw the construction of some kind of wildlife observatory cabin, next to a food plot, on the upper 20 acres, much to the chagrin of the #1 son. It destroyed part of his paintball field. No sooner was the final nail hammered into the observatory than H The Builder began plotting his next build: The MiniMansion bedroom.

The MiniMansion bedroom is necessary because H The Builder wants to buy an old iron-frame bed. And where else do you put an old iron-frame bed than in a spare bedroom built onto your MiniMansion. Never mind that it has a nice woodstove and a sleeping loft and a rocking chair and a table and all the amenities. You never know when a guest might drop in and require an iron-frame bed.

I will begrudge H The Builder his construction projects. May he enjoy a full 38 years of hammering and sawing. Just like Sara Winchester. Then he can travel amongst his projects and sleep in a different one every night. Unlike Sara Winchester.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

I am assuming that he at least completes a project before beginning a new one. The hole in the ceiling (a good 4 X 6 feet) from last winter's pipe bursting .......... still there. He has been working on it for the past two weeks. I just try to saty out of the way. Looked like a simple two hour project to me. What do I know?

Hillbilly Mom said...

In the beginning, AD H juggled three or four of his projects at once. Then I put my foot down on the basement bathroom with a flush toilet but no sink water, and he started tying up the loose ends.