I stood at the top of the hill at Field Notes Farm, looking skeptically back and forth between the pack-shed, and the trailer. “You really think we’re gonna get this thing moved today?”
“Yeah.” replied Oren, “How many more times you gonna ask me that?”
“Hmm… okay man; let’s do it!”
It was a lovely Sunday morning and we were optimistic. For all the false starts and broken promises of the past, this was, it seemed, the one. Pack-Shed Moving Day. We lavished in the pristine beauty of early fall — trekking through the tall grass in the dappled sunshine; clearing the little ends and pieces from around the pack-shed which, theoretically, was destined to end up on the trailer, then over to Rising Sand to its new perch on the cement pad next to the cooler.
Oren, Polly, Fanni and I constituted the team for the day, carrying out our classic Sunday double-date routine. No Packer game; no patio furniture; no cocktails — just drills and sawdust and muscles. The four of us drilled, jacked, hoisted, raised, lowered and sawed legs; conforming as best as we could to an abstract procedure existing only in the mysterious alleyways of Oren’s brain, and surfacing only through concentrated bursts of vagary complemented by wild hand gestures. “Kay, so, we’re just going to triangle this side, then tilt, and tilt, then drop and go.” Okay, man… However, after a great deal of maneuvering, we finally got the trailer in place beneath the crude, skeletal remains of the shed.
“Oh man; I didn’t think of that…” lamented Oren at this juncture, “We really should have cut those legs to the same length.”
“I told you that!” shot back Polly, emphatically.
“When I said, ‘don’t you think we should cut those to the same length?’!”
“Well, if you’re just going to keep critiquing you should find something else to do.” said Oren saltily.
Bickering aside, we installed some sketchy stilts, made a couple more cuts, and there was our shed: sitting crookedly on the trailer, rear end sagging sadly off the back. Oren hopped onto the tractor and pulled slowly forward. A ripping sound came from the hoophouse plastic near the rear end. “WHOOAAAA!!” we all yelled in unison.
“You have to shout; otherwise I can’t hear what you’re saying!”
A few more forwards-and-backwards later, we were finally free of hoophouse number one, and embarking on an intense journey through what used to be garden beds; shed creaking and groaning as the ramshackle trailer bounced dangerously through the fields.
“WHOOAAAAA!!” I yelled, as the sagging back legs dug into the dirt and the entire shed cracked.
“WHOOAAAAA!” yelled Polly and Fanni as the leaning shed nearly caught the corner of the a yet-undestroyed hoophouse.
WHOOOAAAA!” I yelled for no reason in particular, besides freaking out and needing a break from the motion for a minute.
Finally, after a seemingly endless, teetering venture, the shedded trailer was on the driveway at last.
“Man,” I told Oren, “that was some wildcard shit.” It reminded me of something out of the Bartnik Trucking playbook.
After 2 more miles and a bit more wildcard shit, the trailer was mostly in place on the concrete pad. The sun beamed high in the sky as we (Oren) made a few lumber calculations and headed for Menards in the Shadow.
There, in that vast, otherworldly abyss of sky-high departments and endless warehouses, we lost all of the morning’s momentum and came to a screeching halt: bodily, mentally, and spiritually.
From this we never recovered. As the beautiful afternoon ran its course, we slogged uninspired through processes unknown: jacking here, lowering there; building legs here, removing them there. Nothing worked. We hemmed, hawed and bickered; head-scratched and beard-rubbed, but the shed would not allow itself to be coerced from that trailer.
So, in a last-ditch effort at stability, we built a wall of sorts: 4 beams, held together by triangles of 2X4’s, to theoretically fit in the proper spaces beneath the roof. We awkwardly hoisted it into place beneath the roof where, unsurprisingly, it did not fit. Oren lamented our failures from the midst of the end-of-day anxiety. “That’s supposed to be 8 feet… I don’t understand why… how did this end up so far off…” Somehow, as the sky blackened, we got the wall jammed into place beneath the roof: two legs on the ground; two hanging pointlessly in the air. The other side rested on cement blocks and precarious stacks of boards on the trailer. It was the best we could do.
Jaded and exhausted, we split up wordlessly at the end of the day. Fanni and I enjoyed a mostly-silent ride home.
“Wow, I feel like I didn’t really do anything today…”
“It’s exhausting to spend the day just trying to figure out what’s happening…”
“It’s great that we actually got it moved, though…”
We ate, then slept, having lived a day perfectly analogous to our season thus far. Try to accomplish something; fall short; acknowledge ambivalently the decent progress that was made; sleep; wake up, do it again. And thus, the season continues…