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Bruises inspire greater DIY projects

If you bump into me in the next couple of weeks, don’t be surprised if I happen to be sporting a bandage or two, or am limping a bit.

That’s because in my spare time I’ve taken up carpentry.

You know how there are always those projects around the house that need to be done. This is one of those projects.

My husband and I are building a workshop/storage shed to house the many tools we are using to build the shed.

And we are both getting a little banged up in the process.

This isn’t the first time we’ve tackled such an ambitious project. However, the last time we undertook such a major build, we were a bit younger.

We were living in California and had a small ranch. We needed a place to house our horses, so we decided to build a barn.

Fortunately, my husband’s family was in the construction business, and he learned how to build things from the time he was old enough to swing a hammer.

So we got out our trusty pencils and designed a barn to house our horses, store tack and hay, and provide a covered area for grooming. It featured six 12-by-12-foot stalls, each with an open 24-by-24-foot outdoor area, along with running water, automatic waterers for the horses in each stall and electricity.

Our neighbor did stucco and taught us how so the outside of the barn would match the exterior of our house.

After a few months of hard labor, the barn was complete. The horses were happy in their new home, and so were we.

Fast forward a decade or so and we had a few home-improvement projects on our hands.

Tackling these types of projects has never been an issue for us. We watch countless do-it-yourself programs on TV, gleaning ideas for what we can do in our own home.

The problem is they make it look so easy. They never show you all the help who stay off camera to get the work done in what seems like 30 or 60 minutes.

You hardly ever see anyone get a splinter, hit their finger with a hammer or lose half a day because you have to run back to the store for more supplies.

We started small, building a closet in the garage to store out-of-season clothes. Using a corner of the garage, we only had to build a floor and two walls and frame in a door. We were able to use an existing light fixture, but did add an extra electrical outlet on the outside of the closet.

It didn’t take us much more than two weekends to finish the project. We gave ourselves a bit of extra time to ensure the drywall was completely dry before we sanded the seams and painted the closet. Then, the paint had to dry before we carpeted the floor.

By the time we were done, our confidence was soaring and we were ready to tackle the next big project.

That’s when we decided to build a workshop.

By adding a closet in the garage to store the winter coats and clothes we weren’t wearing, we used valuable real estate for housing tools and other items needed to maintain a home. The best solution seemed to be a storage shed for the backyard.

Looking at the prices of prebuilt sheds or shed kits, we knew we could use a little “sweat equity” to build a larger custom shed.

Out came the trusty pencils, along with the his and hers drill-drivers, saws, hammers, etc.

The design was flawless. The execution not so much.

Although we have had a bit of help from our daughters, the brunt of the work fell upon me and my husband. We’re moving at a slower pace than the one we used to build the barn, and have, at times, seemed more like the Three Stooges when moving lumber around.

But we are wearing the splinters, scrapes, bumps and bruises like badges of honor.

Time will heal our wounds — and our wounded pride — and I have no doubt that looking at the completed workshop will inspire us to tackle some other projects, leaving us once again with a bandage or two and a limp in our step.

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