The Norman Transcript

July 6, 2013

Mind over matter

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — When faced with a challenging task, do you automatically assume “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”? Do you pick up the telephone and hire someone to do the job? Or, are you the “can do” type who will tackle anything?

Some people have bypassed the “I can’t” line. Instead, the motto “Where there is a will, there is a way” is part of their genetic makeup. However, this willingness to tackle anything and everything does not come without the inherent hazards of such undertakings.

Several years ago we wanted to build a large storage building on our property. Our Bouncing Baby Boy (aka BBB) was visiting at the time and he took the project and ran with it. This meant he had to choose an appropriate metal building (with input from Hubby and yours truly with regard to color and final size), get a price, order the building, find and hire someone to pour a concrete slab. And set up the building.

The building arrived in pieces, many pieces. This 30’ x 40’ building became Bouncing Baby Boy’s grownup Erector Set. The difference between this and the one from his childhood was size. To get the right perspective, imagine the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk as a toddler sitting on the floor of the castle playing with his Erector Set.

Attaching the base to the concrete slab was fairly safe, which was followed by the metal posts all around the edge of the building. When Hubby and I left for work, this basic framework was set up. But when we came home, the entire framework, including the part which will support the roof, was completed.

How did BBB manage to raise the girders and attach them all by himself? The clever lad fetched the John Deere tractor and used the frontend loader to hold the ceiling girders in place until every rivet was firmly attached. The vision of the John Deere with frontend loader raised in the middle of the building is etched in my memory, along with the ensuing heart palpitations as I considered all that could have gone wrong.

The building looks great and is very versatile. When the Grands visit in the summer, we set up the “indoor” pool, complete with a ceiling fan on the ceiling that sounds like a B52 Bomber. There is also plenty of room for the ping pong table and improvised indoor soccer matches.

Not to be outdone, Hubby recently completed a project which the directions clearly stated in fine print, that it would take five men. Naturally, he decided to do it himself.

How did he get around the five-man requirement? Ingenuity. And stubbornness. The five-man team included Hubby, three tall ladders and the fifth “man” was created out of two-by-fours. Each “man” held up and/or propped up his side of the immense gazebo while Hubby connected the “dots.”

Just as with BBB’s project, the gazebo looks terrific. Situated on a slight hill in the backyard, it catches the perpetual breezes and provides beauty and shade. Terrific place to dance under a full moon.

My personal favorite “Hubby Project” was a small storage shed he installed in the corner of our suburban backyard. The memorable part was when he started speaking in tongues because he put up three walls and left the one against the fence for last. The situation called for a tear-everything-down-and-start-with-the-fence-side-first.

This linguistic moment was followed by the 8-months pregnant wife trying to hold up the walls while Hubby attached the roof, during a sudden 30 mile per hour windstorm. Even the beached whale had a time holding her own in that breeze.

For all the DIY people in our family who thrive on doing the impossible, the operative words are “No Pain. No Gain.”

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels The Dionysus Connection and The Marathon Man are available on Visit her website: