Columnists, Tyler Mahan, V3I3

For Want of an Air Conditioner, Part 3

Our on-site job in Newalla was going terribly. The first day went great, until we discovered our trim was cut wrong and decided to come back and finish on the second day.

The second day was going reasonably well, until I needed a couple things from the truck, only to realize we hadn’t transferred them from our tool truck to our air-conditioned truck.

We had gotten back from gathering the needed supplies and worked a little while laying shingles when my helper began to puke off the end of the roof. That’s when I asked, “What else could go wrong?” If you’ve lived long enough, you know better than to ask that question.

I sent my helper down to the shade to rest and tried to get a game plan together to finish the building. I still had to build the double shelves inside, hang the doors, attach the ramp, touch up my helper’s finger painting, finish the roof, and then go through my checklist to be sure I hadn’t missed anything.

It was about 4 p.m., and my helper needed some nourishment, so we went back over to Newalla’s only gas station. After reviving my helper and resting a few minutes in the truck myself, I walked back down to the shed to try to finish.

I’m sure my fellow shed builders would be bored reading about hanging the doors, installing the ramp, building the shelves, etc., so I’ll fast-forward a little bit.

I finished everything but the roof and piled up the tools, materials, and scrap as I went. I told my helper to begin taking stuff from the pile to the truck while I finished. As I came around the shed to grab something, I noticed that my pile was about the same size it had been
when I started. I also noticed that my air compressor and air hose was nowhere to be seen.

Don’t forget that my helper was a recent high school graduate who was equipped with the standard amount of wisdom and knowledge of boys his age. Also, he paid attention to instructions about as well as most. He had been hauling things I still needed out to the truck, while walking around my pile of unneeded stuff.

It was about dark, and I was somewhat discouraged when I climbed back up to finish the roof. It had been a long day. I shingled as fast as I could but still had to finish with my cell phone flashlight. I climbed down, thoroughly exhausted.

“At least all I have to do now is collect,” I wrongly thought.

I told my helper to finish loading (the pile wasn’t much smaller yet) while I took care of the customer. We signed the paperwork, I collected the check, shook their hands, and headed to the truck. There was my helper, sitting in the passenger seat.

“All loaded up?” I asked.

“No,” he replied, “I was waiting on you.”

“What!?!” I yelled, “You were supposed to have this all loaded and ready to go!”

His answer still confounds me. “I was scared of the dark,” he said. We were in a backyard with the pickup’s headlights shining down to the building. I was on the back porch with the customers. There was nothing to be afraid of.

Well, pinching his head off wasn’t going to help me get home any sooner, so I started making trips with our onsite materials back to the little truck. Keep in mind we had traded our big dually tool-bed truck with a trailer for a little F-150 with no trailer. We piled stuff and piled stuff until it was finally all loaded. The fenders were only an inch or so from the tires by the time we finished strapping down. I had to drive extra carefully and slowly.

We left the jobsite around 11 p.m. and I didn’t get home until almost 2 a.m. Just one of those shed builder days.


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