I have this fantasy. It’s a bit out there.
There’s an unmarked cargo van, a generator, a five-gallon container of gas, solar powered battery chargers for the cache of power tools in the van, cases of nails, water, granola bars and dried fruit, a few living essentials such as clothing, blankets, a folding chair and folding table, my watercolors, painting and writing paper galore, a fishing rod, and some pots, kettles, and a campfire tripod. I drive to a remote spot in a large mountain range, hidden from human existence with the exception of the one road that I have just used to get to this spot. The road leads to lake access. The land is mine and I am there to build my little cabin and become a recluse.
I imagine cutting down a few small trees to build the structure of my dwelling, digging a deep fire pit that will eventually become a kiln and a smoker for all the fish I’ll catch and things I’ll make out of mud. I live happily and busily establishing my old self in this pristine land, essentially wrecking my part of it not out of malice but out of a desire to be closer to it, and I finally drop the fucking weight from 2020.
Does anyone else have this fantasy?
I know there are easier weight loss methods but the appeal of my survival in the wilderness, alone, and without the temptation of an oven in which to bake cakes, pies, muffins, breads or cinnamon rolls makes my lack of will power obsolete. Who needs the strength to say no when a bear is looking at you the way you look at a donut?
There are other fantasies. They pop up like corn in hot oil and I butter them, salt them and gobble them down like the delicious morsels that they are.
I imagine turning my dilapidated garden-shed into a chichi she-shed by knocking out a wall, raising the roof, putting a deck around it and so on. I went so far as to contact a friend who’s an architect. He hashed out my idea on a napkin before it occurred to us that I was wanting to build a building to escape the building that I already live in. MY WHOLE HOUSE IS A SHE-SHED! Why would I want a second one fifty yards away?
That had nothing to do with diet and has everything to do with being forced to look at the former owner’s hack-job of a homemade shed.
Looking at it from my back patio is like a punch to my eye sockets every day. I blame its aesthetic for the furrow lines in my forehead, the dragged down mouth and sagging jowl. The actual fault belongs to aging, but the shed certainly isn’t helping matters.
It reminds me of when I was ten and building forts in the back yard to escape my overly boisterous family.
I built a ramshackle two-sided shack near a creek on the wild back lot of our fourteen-acre yard. It had a front and a back that were held feebly in place by the single sheet of plywood precariously balanced and faintly nailed down as a roof. The whole thing was draped in clear plastic sheeting, giving the sides the option of being tied back for air conditioning. I was living large.
The garage, attic and storage sheds were scoured clean of scrap materials and tools, much to the annoyance of my stepdad who was constantly yelling “where is the damn hammer?”
I have my own tools now and when I start wondering where the damn hammer is, I also have to wonder if I rearrange things while sleep walking or if the shoemaker’s elves are drunk and messing with me again.
My fort was many things and well-built was not one of them, not too unlike my current shed. Thankfully my home remodeling skills have dramatically improved since the weeble-wobble lean-to that eventually fell down. My current skills have more patience and understand the engineering component to my artistic vision. Also, not only am I allowed to use power tools, but I have my own collection of them.
It’s given me a false sense of security in my fantasy life for the great outdoors, but owning power tools has definitely helped me out a great deal in the very real life of being single and owning a home.
Last summer, the patio gate finally gave way. The rot that had been overlooked for four years finally let go of the nails that were pretending to hold the gate together, and the thing crumbled like feta cheese on an omelette. It took a little over an hour and one—ONE—trip to the hardware store to cut, sand, stain and assemble the new gate.
I’d be lying if I didn’t start of this project like I normally do by wanting someone else to do it. I go through my options: me, me, hire someone, ask for help from a neighbor, phone a friend, me, me or more me. I weigh the options: asking for help will put this immediate need on someone else’s timeframe and hiring someone, also a time thing, will cost money that is being meticulously saved for a gym membership and a diet plan…or a sweet pair of Frye boots. I can’t decide.
Sometimes a whiny voice cries out in my head, “I wish I had a man around so he could just fix it.”
Oh damn. Really? I take umbrage with that sniveling twit in my head because she isn’t speaking from experience, rather railroading mine. I argue with her about what she thinks a man can do that I can’t. Between youtube, pinterest, woodshop in college, and a shit-ton of experience fixing things because, as mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been taught to fish, so-to-speak, I’ve got this.
And so I do.