Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Family of fix-its

I come from a family of fix-its. I recall that no one hired plumbers, landscapers, roofers or any other home-maintenance professional. It just wasn't done. The primary reason that any of our generation came into the world was to provide a more laboring hands. I was the sole grounds crew in the unfortunately vast grassy and featured yard surrounding a house always needing paint. Why bring in the pros or high powered tools when you have help that works for just food and shelter? Of course, the way things got done was through excessive complication. A task could only be complete if it required my father to construct some Dr. Seuss contraption. Building that contraption will always be more time consuming than the simple task at hand.

I too like to do a few things myself, but I am able temper the tendency only because I lack the time to do more. Though I am occasionally reminded that the do-it-yourself gene runs strong throughout the family tree. Cousin Adam's wedding occurred recently on a very rainy Saturday in the family barn and adjacent tent. That wasn't exactly the plan, but that's what they came up with when the skies opened up. It was very pretty.

We soon realized that the power supply in the barn could not handle the lights, the cookware, the DJ, and everything else. The circuit flipped every five minutes until....
Cousin Aaron jumped up from the table without a word and disappeared only to come back twenty minutes later announcing that the problem was solved and the lights were just fine.

He did not have to look far to find a readily available extension cord to run to the house...400ft away. And that wasn't even the long cord. Out from the tent, into the other barn window...

...neatly plugged in, amid the garden of redundant industrial grade tools and the tractor. Yes, the bride and groom did go for a hayride. Well done. Admittedly, running some extension cord is no engineering marvel, and it was not made more complicated in any way. The interesting observation is, however, that in any situation any of the family households would be well-equipped to fix whatever might fall on the occasion. Had the roof started leaking, it would be quickly patched, and patched in a way that no hurricane would ever dare challenge the quadruple strength reinforcement. Do it yourself, overbuild it, and make it complicated if at all possible. That is the way of things. Thankfully we didn't need to break out the chainsaws this time.


mike said...

nice timber frame.
that's what i do in real life.

stevep33 said...

Timber framing is amazing. Someday... the dream house will be built.

This barn was built by my uncle; it is the nicest barn I've ever seen. It goes with a beautiful house from the early 1800's that was moved from somewhere CT to Marion, MA. A marvel in every way.