Last night Link and I were enthusiastic about getting back to the build site and finishing the shed. Unfortunately there were several things which made the experience less than ideal. First Link bought himself Super Smash Bros last night. When I went to bed the house was dark and I thought he’d already gone to sleep. Nope. He played that game all night. No sleep at all. He freely admits that this was not wise and it meant that instead of him being focused on the project, he was barely ambulatory. Then I got on a ladder and realized that while applying shingles is not difficult, I’m not able to climb on a roof to do them. I’m too scared and too aware of the terrible costs should I fall. So I could only do the lower half of the roof. Then of course we had the ongoing saga of air compressors which work fine at my house, but refuse to work properly at the work site. Four work days, two air compressors, each time they won’t function because the internal fuse keeps tripping. Next time I’m just bringing hammers.
So it was hot. Link was exhausted. Gleek really wanted to help, and would probably have climbed on the roof for me, but I’m not thrilled about handing her power tools. This meant we had the equivalent of 1.5 workers. I was focused, no one else was. So I sat with Link and we talked about what to do. I was concerned about volunteer fatigue, because some of Link’s friends have come to help five or six different times. I knew I was tired of endlessly organizing work days, surely they had to be tired of helping. Link decided that our fatigue and crankiness meant that we should let it go for the day. We’ll try to have one more work day next week.
Link fell asleep in the car on the way home. He tipped forward against the seat belt in the way that babies and toddlers do when they fall fast asleep in their car seats. At home, he stumbled into the house and has been asleep ever since. I sat for a time, listening to General Conference and pondering all the many things which I’ve sacrificed for building this shed. The hours of physical work haven’t been as much an issue as the stress which prevented me from contemplating other things. I’m not stressed about the shed anymore. I can see exactly how to get it done and it is close. So I was able to walk out to my grape vines and pick a load of grapes. As I plucked them from their vines and into the juicer, I listened to a talk on charity. I thought about the woman who lives next door to the shed we are building. She was out tending her yard this morning and we spoke briefly. In lovely, accented English, she told me that she’s glad for the work that is being done in the community garden. She smiled at me, her teeth brilliant against her dark face. She has loaned us electricity for our tools and been very kind. I thought of her as my hands were wet with grapes and my ears were full of scripture on giving to the poor.
This shed my son has undertaken to build is a gift, an act of charity. We’ve been so focused on the logistics, on the costs in time and money, on getting it done. The impetus of this project was my son’s goal to earn and eagle scout award from the Boy Scouts of America. Yet the value of the project is in the shed which will stand and be useful for people who need a place to store garden tools. This shed enriches a neighborhood that often struggles. I wish it were a better shed. I wish that our inexperience with building were not so very obvious. That is part of the frustration I feel with this project. I know it could be done better and more efficiently by someone else. Yet we are giving what we have, which is all anyone can do. Spiritually, it is all that we are asked to do.
It is a lovely pink grape juice which comes from our super sweet Reliance variety grapes. We got them long ago from the owner of bunchgrapes.com. My next batch will be more grape juice color because I’ll use the Muscat and Swensen Red grapes. This evening I can sit and admire the pretty juice in jars and listen for that little pop which lets me know the lids have sealed. I have to remember that somewhere ahead of us is the day when Link and I will be able to stand and look at a completed shed. I hope in that moment we can be glad, not just to be done, but also for the work itself, for the opportunity we had to do this project.