Ta-da! A two-car garage with — count ’em — two cars inside!
Now, it’s not pretty and we’re still overstuffed, and I’m not altogether sure how Lynn reached her car door this morning, but as winter weather might be encroaching, two of three cars have a place to be safe from the elements. (The third might too, but it depends on whether it can fit in Carol’s back garage. We’ve measured, and you know how well I do with that; the real test would be to try to drive my truck in.)
You will notice the shed to the right in the picture above. This, I doubt, is what the HOA had in mind when it wanted the shed by the side of the house, but there were problems where I and the HOA had envisioned it might go:
1) Dusty’s seed project did not gain much traction on the west side of the house, and it has been, and remains, very, very muddy over there.
2) The way Dusty had the dirt restored to the lot post-construction pays careful attention to draining moisture away from the house, so there’s a slope that isn’t overtly noticeable — until you want to put a shed there.
3) The ground is very soft and probably not at all settled.
I don’t recall what my last update to you regarding the Shed Saga was. I know we went over Kara’s find of this used shed, which Jim Barry pronounced to be well-constructed. I think I mentioned it got moved here by a towing company, and in the process of moving it from its previous lot a city streetlight was broken. (The preliminary moving bill, without an itemized invoice, is more than the shed itself cost.)
Once here they set it where I said I wanted it, but the back was sitting on mud and we had a weird roofline thing going on between the shed and the garage, so I plied the guys at work with food from the new Taco Cat taco cart (did you know Taco Cat is a palindrome? I didn’t) for what they all described as a “team bonding” exercise, rolling the shed over the fence posts Lynn and I now proudly own, first to the north to get it completely on the driveway, and then to the east to level it out a bit more.
[Lest you think I’m being sexist, I tossed this “team bonding” opportunity out to everyone at work, but Gilly pleaded a sore knee and Kara went with her sore tooth, so it was a boys-only activity. Maybe Gilly and Kara are just smarter.]
The shed still wasn’t level, so we ended up putting 2 x 4s under three corners. Then Lynn and I started putting things in it, but the stability felt a bit dicey to me. After devoting yet more hours to thinking about this shed, I wondered why we had most of it up on 2 x 4s, so Sunday after breakfast I emptied the shed and jacked each side up again with my new Tractor Supply jack that has already seen enough use to cover its $35 price tag, removed the 2 x 4s — and watched the northeast corner of the shed riser higher and higher with every 2 x 4 that left.
So then I jacked each side up once again and returned 2 x 4s. But at least I took the time to use my radial-arm saw, which I’ve had for years and use perhaps once every three or four of those years, cutting the boards so they would fit better. Lynn and I had brought my lumber collection from the storage shed we are renting, so I had access to some one-inch boards as well. Just to be safe, I loaded all my lumber collection on the uphill, or east, side of the shed, putting Lynn’s oversize pots and fountain collection to the west. It now feels more stable inside.
I of course still managed to go wrong: after great debate, I turned to the Miracle of the Internet to tell me which way to set the cinder blocks (holes to the side, or facing up), and it said to face up for better strength. So I had them all like that, but while I was fussing around Sunday I decided that was wrong and turned about half of them to the side. If you think about if for a moment, you don’t need the internet to tell you that this offers less stability, but that’s what I did nonetheless.
It is clear: I should avoid a trade in engineering, structural logistics, or really, anything involving construction, even if I did use my saw.
In the meantime, though, that nearly freed up enough space to fit a second car in the garage, but for our underutilized bicycle collection. I emptied a couple of boxes that had been sitting in the house, replaced them with boxes that had been sitting in the garage, piled stuff a little higher and then last night inched and inched and inched bikes forward, trying to keep a path clear. Lynn, her legendary patience shining through once again, just moved the bikes into the path and like that her car made it into the garage with room to spare. We just can’t access any tool or anything else on those shelves until a car leaves the garage.
But we’re still working on it. Our local Habitat for Humanity doesn’t have a Re-store, but it does have a storage shed and Julie, the executive director, said they would take our excess flooring and decking. They may not use the vanity we have left over, but she thought they could sell it in a garage sale.
And Lynn is in preliminary talks with the arts center, which is building a commercial kitchen to address the culinary arts, that might result in a new home for a couple of large appliances that get used about as much as my radial-arm saw.
The snain is starting as I type this, so we were just in the nick of time, making our little cars happy. And doesn’t that make it all worthwhile?