Thirty-three years ago we built a little shed. It wasn’t much to look at, but it was considered temporary so it didn’t need to be pretty. Its purpose was to be a construction shed while we built the house.
Soon it became apparent that this shed was useful and too well built to tear down so it became the Pump House/Storage Shed. And then a lean-to was added to hold the new riding mower and a few garden tools.
A few years later we bought a horse for the girls so yet another lean-to was added to hold hay and, of course, provide shelter for said horse. And then a third section was constructed because we had no place to keep the firewood dry. The little shed that wasn’t much to look at got downright ugly. (For the full impact do be sure to click the pic. :))
Last year we were preparing for a wedding so the shed got a massive makeover. The first things to go were all the lean-to sections. Then we stripped it down to bare bones, added siding and put a new roof on it. And for the first time in over thirty years, the ugly little shed became downright cute.
Then we got chickens.
You can guess where this is going can’t you?
We were going to build a nice new coop, but some life emergencies got in the way. There was plenty of room in the shed so, you guessed it, we decided to remodel the shed again. The chickens would get the end over there by the door and the other end would remain as the pump house.
Mark emptied it and tore a couple of walls back to the studs so he could frame for windows and move the door to the back side on the other end nearer to the plumbing. In the process he found a bit of dry rot around the foundation so he also replaced several boards with treated lumber.
All was going well. And then he got to the plumbing and noticed some potential problems around the tanks due to water damage. Like all good builders, he decided to fix it while he had easy access and proceeded to drain the tanks.
Remember how I said all was going well?
Well all of the sudden it wasn’t. I heard a creak, looked up from my computer and out the window just in time to see this happen.
The entire building collapsed before my eyes and Mark was nowhere to be seen. I knew he was in the shed and my heart just about stopped.
I went running and remember yelling his name several times before I finally heard a grumpy-growly “WHAT?” and saw him emerge from under the roof.
Ummm, oh I don’t know, the shed collapsed and I got a little worried because ummm, oh I don’t know, I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!
Mark was unharmed. There was no warning until that first creak, but when he heard it he knew it was going and dove thru the open back wall and hit the dirt. The building fell right over the top of him, but nothing actually hit him. Praise God!
But it did completely knock out the water system. Fortunately, we know how to deal with that and with the help of good neighbors brought in enough water to see us thru a couple of days while Mark set to repairing the water system.
We are not entirely sure what caused the collapse, but did find more rot in one corner that could not be seen because the platform the water tanks sat on hid it from view. Mark also thinks that draining the tanks may have caused a shift in weight. The building did twist just before it collapsed so I think it quite likely both factors played a role.
Three days later, it is still hard to take it in.
But we are resilient and will rebuild. Mark already has the water restored and site cleanup is going on today.
There is also a life lesson here.
It is the rot you don’t see that is the most dangerous. It’s true in buildings and it’s true in life in general. One would do well to dig deep from time to time to check for it and make the needed repairs to ensure that everything doesn’t come tumbling down around you when you least expect it.