Sunday afternoon I was lazing on the back deck when I decided to get productive and test how hard it was going to be when I (eventually) took down the old garden shed in my back yard. People who’ve known me or read this site for a long time will remember that a year and a half ago I walked out onto the back deck the day after Thanksgiving and at the conclusion of an extended triple-take came to realize that a tree in the back yard had fallen onto the shed. The shed itself was still standing in the same way a crumpled soda can can be carefully balanced on its end: precariously. Given that it was still standing, though, I continued to store the lawn mower and various other things in it because, well, how many alternatives did I have?

I finally got around to ordering a new shed in March and it’s been awaiting construction ever since. I now have offers from Pants Wilder and Mr. Pink Eyes to help build the new one and so I needed to at least appear to have done something towards taking down the old one by virtue of having judged how much of a pain the old one would be to disassemble before the new one could go in its place.

With much languor and little energy I dug out one of the various power drill/driver things my father has given me over the years as a subtle way of trying to get me to butch up. I tested the charge on the battery, walked over to the shed with a cigarette dangling from a corner of my mouth and removed one (1) of the many dozens of screws holding the thing together. I was impressed by how easily it came out and started to call that a victory given I’d just demonstrated to the low standards of my own satisfaction that this would be a minor task when its time came. I half-turned to walk back to the deck.

Then the shed made a noise. Specifically, it creaked.

I have watched a lot of movies that fall into the noise-in-the-dark category of horror films. There is a specific kind of creak – door, cabinet, whatever – that communicates on some animal level that death is very imminent. It was precisely that kind of creak. It was the sort of creak that immediately, without a moment’s delay, summoned forth in my mind the certain knowledge that I was going to be that dumbass who dies doing some handyman project in his back yard and isn’t found for days. I was going to be so posthumously humiliated.

All at once, the race was on. I got all the tools and the mowers and various things out of the shed. Every now and then there’d be another creak. I took the garden rake and tried to pull some of the accumulated leaves and other biomass off the roof to lighten the load. Nothing was making a difference. That thing was coming down whether I liked it or not, so I might as well like it.

In a matter of a few minutes I was able to get the wall panels off the back and start grabbing the shelves and old paint cans and whatever other environmental disasters our home’s previous owners managed to tuck away in there for me to find. Finally I had it cleared out and the roof was sitting lower with each passing moment. With one final shriek of metal the whole thing folded in. I jumped back – so loud! – and the roof was sitting in a heap on the floor of what had been my shed.

I knew I needed to drag everything off to the side and try to get someone to come and haul it away, and I couldn’t find my work gloves, so eventually I settled on an old dish towel for a little hand protection, wrapped my hands around some edge or another on the underside of the roof, lifted it up and made my best Hulk smash! noise. In a single heave I dragged the 8’x10′ metal roof off the base, piled up the walls on top of it and that was that.

I don’t have a shed anymore.


Time to see if Pants Wilder or Mr. Pink Eyes is busy on Sunday…