Tuesday, August 28, 2007

When reality isn't quite what you imagined

A few years ago, I discovered a place on the back of my property with an absolutely stunning view over the rolling green fields with a backdrop of Lake Ontario. In the winter, this place is along the trail my snow mobiling buddies and I take to the Northumberland Forest and beyond for our snowmobiling adventures. Since discovering the natural calming effects of this lookout, I've had it in my mind that someday I would build a little cabin there with my bare hands. I thought that this exercise in manual labour would be good for me - an opportunity to get rid of frustration and maybe even build some muscle. I was also excited by the possibility of using the on board generator feature built into my GMC Hybrid truck. In my mind's eye, my cabin would have a big window to take in the view from a hammock or a comfy old sofa. There would be no TV, no telephone, no reliance on electricity; just me (and my dog) and the view. Maybe it's all part of my approaching middle age, but I find myself longing for the simpler things in life. I'm hopeful that this isn't the first step towards becoming a reclusive old man like the unabomber. My cabin was supposed to look something like the picture above. To get things started, I hauled some lumber up to my little hide-a-way to build a floating foundation. I had some leftover 18 foot 6X6 timbers that I thought would make a good base. At the time I made the best of the fact that these old timbers had warped somewhat; nothing a few good spikes and a sledge hammer couldn't correct. Three months later and I have four walls up, windows and doors more or less installed, and roof trusses in place. This weekend I started to install the plywood on the trusses to make my roof. The little mistakes that I could get away with in the foundation and the walls have now magnified themselves into big problems on the roof. Now the cabin itself was becoming a source of frustration. I packed up my tools with my head hung low and decided I was going to have to hire professionals to fix up my mistakes. However, after a good night's sleep, a full moon and exposure to some sunshine, I've decided that with a lot of trimming and shimming I'll eventually finish my roof and be able to hang my hammock, but between now and then I expect to be making lots of trips up and down the ladder. Lesson learned - take the time and invest in the materials to build a good foundation and the tougher parts of life will come easier, also - I have a new found respect and admiration for the men and women in the construction trades who make it all look so easy. Wish me luck and maybe I'll invite you up to my cabin!

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