Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

The Shed: Labor

January 1, 2011

The site, ready for carpentry (finally!)

One of the many morals of construction is often summed up in the phrase, “It’s all about preparation.”

Preparation in terms of tools and knowledge, preparation in terms of a mind ready to solve the inevitable problems that come up, the preparation of hands that can find practical ways toward theoretical solutions.  But most of all, preparation means putting your head down and plugging away at plain old grunt work.

This photo doesn’t look like much, but it represents a lot.  Below the surface lies the hand-dug foundations that will support the structure for many year– piers filled with 15 80-pound bags of concrete carried up the steep hill below.  Above the surface lies the two rim joists that will provide the backbone for the floor (and therefore the rest of the shed and all the stuff it will hold).  Which also represents the carriage of the lumber up that same hill– 2 tons of stuff in all.  And in between the foundation and the lumber lies a whole bunch of dirt, pushed up the hill in half-loads in a wheelbarrow (since a 3/4 load inevitably slides back down on the operator at the steepest section).

Not that any of this is unusual or heroic.  It happens every day, and not only on construction sites.  Parents change diapers, students memorize stuff, lawyers read documents, doctors take notes, engineers document data, teachers grade papers, chefs prep mise, mechanics reach for tools, musicians play scales, nurses do charts, designers write code, professors ask questions, salespeople wait, and someone always sweeps the floor.  We’re always doing something inane to get ready for something important.  Something monotonous to get to something interesting.  Something boring to get to something stimulating.  It’s what we do.  It’s the human race.

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One Response to “The Shed: Labor”

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