Dave Simpson: The Tale Of The Big Cardboard Box

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By Dave Simpson, Cowboy State Daily

One woman, five and one-half hours, and a screwdriver.

Five hours MY FOOT! Better yet, my CABOOSE! To quote President Joe Biden, “Malarkey!”

But it said so right there on an internet review – one woman, five and one-half hours, one screwdriver. I tell you, this is enough to convince a guy that everything we read on the internet may not be the gospel truth.

Chew on that for a while.

As God-fearing loyal Americans, we decided to do our part to defeat COVID-19 by following the pleas of our leaders in Washington, and spend every penny they send us in COVID relief, as fast as possible, so the virus will know we MEAN BUSINESS, My wife and I didn’t get the virus, so far, and since we’re retired, lock downs did not cause us to lose paychecks. Nevertheless, our government kept sending us borrowed money, so we finally decided to shake loose of some of it.

We had this old shed, which had been shot full of holes by hail. So we decided to replace it.

Normally, I would have built a new shed from scratch. But with 2x4s shooting up to $8 and $9 apiece, from what I was used to at a little over $3, the lumber alone would have been prohibitive.

So my wife found a shed kit at a home improvement store, and an internet review by the woman who claimed she put the thing together, with only a screwdriver, in five and one-half hours. So we ordered it.

I’m fairly handy, flipping several houses, and finishing three basements since I gave up the News Biz. My wife figures that, given that experience, I ought to be able to finish jobs in less than the advertised time. Experience, however, has taught me to double or triple the estimated time. And this time I was right. Way right.

I knew I was in trouble when the thing arrived on a flat-bed 18-wheeler truck, with a forklift hanging off the back. Two guys used the forklift to unload a huge box onto the driveway, then shoved it into the garage – no mean feat, because the box weighed 350 pounds. Now, how much sense does it make to put something into a single box that weighs 350 pounds? At that weight, if it tipped over, it could squash you like a cockroach. Where are our safety experts when we need them?

So it sat in the garage like a beached whale while I struggled for about a day and a half to demolish the old shed, and hauled it to the dump. Then I had to prepare the base for the shed, which took another day and a half, and two sheets of three-quarter-inch plywood at a shocking $82 per sheet. I figure the day I spent $164 on two sheets of plywood will probably be the day when lumber prices peaked. So look for prices to come down.

The instructions said it takes two people to assemble the shed, but the lady who said she did it in five and one-half hours didn’t say anything about having a helper. So I figured if she could do it, so could I. And things were going OK, putting up panels and screwing them together, until the wind came up. And suddenly it was like building a house of cards in a wind storm. But I kept at it, and the walls only fell down a couple of times, before I got it propped up with clamps, sticks, rope, a shovel, an old folding chair and lots of swearing, then screwed together. I figured if the neighbors were watching, they must have been laughing themselves silly.

It’s finished now, in a mere five and one-half DAYS, not hours. The cardboard box was too big even for my wife to save. (She lets loose of cardboard boxes like giving up her firstborn.) She cut it up and put it in the garbage.

If it’s true that the lady who wrote the review really put her shed up in five and one-half hours, with only a screwdriver, well, I know one thing for sure:

I’d like to get a look at her.

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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