Shedstory: Part 2

Continued from Part 1, in which we began to build a shed and which was picked up by an automated aggregator site which scraped the entire entry and reposted it as part of some sort of ongoing collection of ill-gotten shed-related content in order to build not a shed but a shadowy shed-related online empire… or something.  Anyway, on their site it was given these tags:



Good luck to anyone building a shed based on my expertise.  The correct category to file my shedstory under is probably “But I boringly digress.”  Well, we’ll see if they jack this one too.

ANYWAY the shed.  When last we saw it, it looked something like this:

shed skellington

As you might be able to tell, it got rained on. Luckily wood won’t really melt in water, but we wanted to get a roof and tar paper on it before any more rain came in. My wrist was acting up so N. stepped in as shed sous chef once the shop closed for the evening. We aren’t strangers to crazy nocturnal backyard projects (I think the last one was putting in some drainage) and we have enough worklights to make work possible at night.


You can tell that this neighborhood isn’t as hard up as it used to be because two years ago if we’d been working back there we would have had a few guys drift by and ask for work. Since we were a crew of relatively clueless flannel-wearing youngsters digging ditches at midnight who didn’t have the wherewithal to buy workboots much less hire another human being, this clearly indicated that work was scarce. If it wasn’t work, it was smokes. And if it wasn’t smokes, it was the police wanting to make sure that we actually owned the place.


ANYWAY, K. put in a lintel and the guys framed an additional wall section to form a shed roof. A shed roof is where you look at the side of the shed and it’s a parallelogram. You’ll see in pictures later. There’s a technical term for the specific slope we decided on, but K. is at work and I have no clue, so you will have to use your imagination.

Speaking of calculating stuff, at one point I had to go haul out my personal favorite tool:

my crutch

Yes, it’s our old friend the TI-83 Plus. I have fond memories of playing the Mailman game someone coded where you go around delivering mail and wreaking havoc – it was like a primitive Grand Theft Auto for calculators. Also being hobbled during the “learning about matrices” part of math class because we were supposed to have TI-89s but mine got stolen so I used the 83 which was fine for everything except something to do with matrices, BUT I have literally never had to use matrices to figure out anything in my life, just as I knew that I would never need to use the skills I was learning in most of my high school math career (an exercise in personal failure, for the most part.) The exception is geometry and trig, which come up from time to time and which make more sense to me because they have to do with actual stuff. Plus people in building have come up with cool shortcuts like the 3-4-5 thing, so other than being able to work with fractions with 16 on the bottom, you can have discalcula like me and still do stuff. Sorry math people, I respect you but I am incapable of ever being one of you, I think. So it is fortunate that my TI-83 still works so it can bail me out when math is needed.

bizarre threats

It was freezing so we called back to the days when we worked later here before we had a functional kitchen and ordered pizza – extra cheese, extra pepperoni. On the way to pick it up, K. and I found this bizarre cardboard threat in front of a building. Obviously I brought it back with us. The bar a few doors down always have a few folks hanging out in the front, and they get really excited when you walk by carrying a pizza.  I had to tell them that no, they could not have a slice because I would personally be eating the entire pie.


On request I started a fire in our grill, Christopher, to kill some scrap wood and serve as a hand warmer. Tip: paper towel is a great fire starting material. Glossy paper is a crappy fire starting material and often it’s treated with fire retardant which makes a noxious smoke and your eyes burn. So don’t use the Bingo Bugle.  Another tip: sometimes people will assume you won’t be able to start a fire.  The best thing to do in this case is start the fire and then they will tell you that you defied their expectations, and you will be all “?”  Last tip: Christopher is a great name for a grill.

We burned the greasy pizza box and it burned so hot, flames were shooting out the grill chimney. It was great.

shed roof

This is a shed roof! It slopes backward so the snow falls away from the door of the shed. Also note that part of the shed has been covered with OSB, or “oriented strand board,” which is that chipboard stuff nailed to it. This ties everything together and is going to be covered in very metal siding, in both senses of the word.


Here are the dudes nailing plywood to the roof. They did this and then covered it in tar paper, just in time for rain to start falling again. Our timing is excellent. We were helping Friend C. pull grody shingles off her house the other week and seconds after we finished the rain started to fall. Lessons learned: always work really hard because it will rain soon, and the more you use a hammer to do stuff (whether banging in nails or pulling grody shingles off a house) the better you get at using a hammer to do stuff.


Part 2 ends with the shed fully OSB’d, tar paper on the roof and most of the sides, and windows installed. Soon to come in Part 3: the rest of the tar paper, a 40 inch door built from scratch, and of course the siding. Stay tuned if you care about our shed or my personal issues with mathematics!

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