Monday, May 25, 2009

As I've mentioned many times before (at least in my head if not in this blog), I hate my backyard. It's this weird appendage attached to my house that serves no purpose in the modern era, somewhat like an appendix. Unlike the appendix, this evil creature actually requires effort, sapping me of valuable time and energy, somewhat like a parasite.

It seems really weird to me that the typical American house comes standard with a yard. It's just kind of understood that you should spend time and money on upkeep of your yard so that it... uh... looks good? Jesus, who cares about this crap?

(Answer: almost everyone else)

I've stared at my crappy backyard for a long damn time now, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do with it. Flowers? Concrete? Waterfall? Only one idea seemed to rise to the lofty level of unridiculousness: vegetable garden. Small enough to be maintainable and actually produces food.

So, this weekend, I worked on building a raised bed for growing veggies. I had surfed around the web looking for some simple construction plans and eventually settled on this one. Yesterday I rented a pickup truck and went down to Home Depot with my shopping list.

Errands like that always take me forever. The material list included items like: 32 3½-inch #14 wood screw. Have you been to Home Depot? It's ENORMOUS and somehow I was supposed to find a wood screw in that haystack. I strolled past aisle after aisle labeled unhelpfully with nouns like "Fasteners".

Wouldn't you think that a screw would be in the fasteners aisle? Isn't the whole purpose of a screw to fasten things together? Apparently not. Eventually I found the wood screws in the aptly named "Mike, Look Here Last" aisle. I also eventually found the wood and almost everything else.

When I got home with the supplies and started to unload the truck, my wife eyed me hungrily. She gave me a raised-eyebrow look and said, "Oh my, seeing you with all this lumber just changes the whole way I think about you."

I explained that building things with lumber really isn't very different than building software, and that pretty much put an end to the look in her eye. Note to self: shut mouth.

Anyway, I spent the day today sawing, drilling, undrilling, swearing, hefting, stripping screws, buying more screws, and eventually plopping the near-finished product onto my weed-filled backyard. Next weekend, I'll finish the wood, dig some holes, and then probably wrench my shoulder when I try to pat myself on the back.

As for the rest of the yard? I bequeath it to the weeds.

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