All work and no play makes Ronjohn a dull boy. Aside from my weekend reprieves at shelf road, and my week long hiatus for thanksgiving in southern Utah, giving up my time for money has dominated my life. Time is in fact the most important and precious thing we have, yet how often we think nothing of giving it away. I can’t wait to have my time back. In an effort of foresight, I am trying to set myself up a space where I don’t have to worry about how much money is coming in, therefore freeing myself of this burden if giving my time away. For five days, my dad came and slept in uncomfortably cold conditions so that he could help me build a nice shed to live in.
Knowing my dad as I do, I can also say that he had some joy in the creation of something. What is more enjoyable than taking a blank piece of land and erecting walls to hold the heat in, and windows to frame the mountains. It was nice to create with him, even though there were points of frustration, usually miscommunication. Since he’s been building or reworking a structure every couple of years ever since I can remember, my dad knows framing. Usually when we argued about how to do something, we were trying to say the same thing, but couldn’t communicate it. It’s funny sometimes the Father son dynamic. I had to convince him that my thirty-three years on this planet has bestowed on my some knowledge. In general, fathers expect that they will always know more than their kids, so it makes it hard for them to listen. We got better and better as a team each day, and once the stress of a bare plot of land was turning into the last few OSB panels on the roof, we were flawless communicators. I learned especially that Dad has to see things visually, while I like to imagine it in my head and describe it.
Unfortunately, we ate at about a third of our meals at fast food restaurants, and another third were turkey or ham sandwiches. Both of these have the benefit of no preparation time, so we could continue working. Is that how the rest of society regularly operates? So maxed out in time that the easiest thing to do is go buy a few things on the dollar menu. The problem of cooking was compounded by the fact that my van ran out of propane on the first day. Though I knew it was coming soon, it was very inconvenient. Still, I was able to cook a few meals on my whisperlite camp stove, usually late breakfasts with potatoes or yams, and eggs. Oh how I can’t wait to do dishes in a sink, and not squatting!
As far as the building is concerned, it is very tall. Disproportionately tall for its base. My dad had previously built a tiny home in Grand Junction, and I didn’t really want to use his previous specifications because the loft, to me, felt really crowded. My idea was to build a four foot wall on top of the first. And so we did. This extension, along with the barn style roof created such a high volume upper level that I had trouble going to sleep thinking, “I’m going to have to buy a ceiling fan to push all the heat that is going to get trapped up there.” Once we covered the roof however, the space seemed a little more reasonable. My goal was to store my 9’6” surf board suspended from the roof, which is certainly possible as it’s built. I may even have to use a step stool to slide it into place, which is good, because it will still be well overhead when I’m standing in the loft.
It’s getting colder now, and I still have to lay the shingles when I get back. I had to drive my dad back to grand junction after he delivered me a trailer and van, so while I’m here I’m trying to give back to a few of his reparation projects; he is replacing single paned windows and siding on a rental property he has. Our ability to work together has only strengthened. As my granny Jo has recently passed away, I also find myself cherishing these moments with my dad, since in twenty years I’ll probably be losing my parents as life guides and friends. Time seems to move faster when your older due to each year being a proportionally smaller fraction of your life. This opposed to when you were five and a year was one fifth of your total existence. I can only hope that I make the most of it.