Torn Down & Beat Up

Here’s a thing you can count on: when a 30-yard dumpster shows up in my yard…some shit is about to go down. Or, if we’re going to get all literal about it, some shit is about to get torn down…


For example, the horribly rotted siding that still exists on two sides of my garage. Can we just…


Ugh. How does fucking plastic trim on a fiberglass door rot? I don’t know, BUT IT DID.

Also, these windows. And siding.


I’ve had to look at these things every damn day for the last three years, and every time the first thought that goes through my head is, “I’ve got to replace all that.”

Which, if you’ll check out the list on my bigass chalkboard, was totally a part of my plan for this summer…


Now. It wasn’t exactly a part of my plan this early in the summer (I’m just barely keeping on top of the gardening, after all, and let’s not even talk about the landscaping around the house) but, when my dad mentioned he happened to have a crew available last weekend, I was like… Yes. Fuck it. Let’s do this. BECAUSE YOU DON’T LOOK A GIFT-CREW IN THE MOUTH, OKAY? Or. Something like that.

Either way, I was at least 50% unprepared to start demoing and re-siding these sides of the garage…


I mean, I already re-sided, half of this barn/garage a couple of years ago..


So I had some idea of what this was going to entail…


But add in four new windows, a new door, a weirdly placed octagon window, and the fact that I had to order siding and trim in the middle of one of most stressful weeks I’ve had this year… and that’s basically why I only slept a total of 10 hours last week. When I woke up (at 7 AM) Saturday morning to go pick up materials I basically looked like someone made a balloon sculpture of my face. It was not pretty. 

But no one screamed when I showed up an hour later with materials, so I assume I looked passably human at that point, but I assure you, it was all on the outside. Still, it never hurts your soul to pull up to your property and see a crew of dudes hard at work. The “crew”, by the way,  consisted of my kid brother and three of his buddies… My brother is 17 years younger than I am, so as far as I’m concerned he’s frozen in time at this age..


Oh my god, I love that adorable face. That was probably 11 years ago when he wanted to help scrape paint of the window sills at my first house, and I know that shit is embarrassing when your older sibling is like YOU WERE SO CUTE, but this kid has been making me laugh for 17 years now… I don’t know a goddamn thing about having an adult sibling so I’m just going to pretend he’s a kid for the next, oh, eternity.

But you can’t deny he’s grown up a little since then…


That’s my dad lifting him up in the bucket of the tractor so he can pull the siding off the top of the barn without scaffolding. We are nothing if not classy (and safety conscious) in this family…


Also, when the shit did he become an actual full-sized person who can tear siding off my barn while balancing in the bucket of my tractor, and why didn’t I realize this until 2 months before he leaves for college in Arizona? I could have put this kid to work over the last  few years. Last time I built a house he was still 6″ shorter than me…



Now he’s definitely 6″ taller than me (at least) and 1,) a way better shot than I am (I’m not bitter), also 2.) really good at tearing siding of my barn (definitely not bitter)… let’s get back to that, shall we?


My dad and his builder Jason…

If you can’t tell what they’re uncovering here, let’s back up for a minute… this “garage” is actually an old corn crib.

It probably looked something like this when it was first built…

I mean… this is what the back side looked like when I bought it. You can see the resemblance…


A few days ago I asked Facebook for opinions on refinishing the barn, and there were a lot of thoughts about keeping or restoring the barn to its original function…. which, no. Because I do not need a corn crib, but I damn sure need a two-car garage + workshop.

And a lot of the “fancy” detail was added to the front of the barn in the late 80’s (I assume) when it was redone. Here’s what it looked like post-dem0…



It all makes way more sense when you see it like this, vs this…



Still, I need to make it somewhat useful, so we replaced the door and windows on the face of the barn…


Whaaaaat?! Looks so much better, even without trim and paint, right?

This is right where my crew left me, and there were still a couple more windows to installed, so I tackled those by myself on Saturday afternoon.

Let’s be real, when you go from 7 people to 1 person, things go slower. So around 7:30 PM I found myself here, with two windows to install, a thunderstorm approaching, and a window opening that was 3/16″ too short for the damn window…


Hey, guys, let me share a cautionary tale about flipping the bird to your current project before you actually finish said project… because five minutes after you do something cocky like that, you may accidentally hit said “bird” with a hammer, and find yourself here… bleeding all over your window…


That happened. And, I mean, don’t worry. I got that fucker installed…


Of course I did. Both of them. By myself. But it required the sacrifice of two of my goddamn fingers for the rest of this week… that’s for usre.

When I fell into bed Saturday night, I had bruises on both hands, one leg, and, inexplicably, my right jaw. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about living on a farm, it’s to be grateful for every day you’re able to go to sleep feeling good about the work you did… even if your entire body hurts.


I am beat-the-eff-up right now, but I am also totally grateful for this… One more weekend and we’ll have this thing fully sided, and that will be a big accomplishment.

So that’s one big project I can cross of my list soon (but not the only project I’m using that big dumpster for….)

11 Responses

  1. That’s a big damn project. It’s awesome that you were able to get the crowbar wielding wrecking crew out there and complete so much for the low low cost of smashed fingers and a battered body.

    Your brother is welcome to work for free on my projects when he gets to Arizona. I’d hate for him to get too homesick.

  2. Pretty good sized undertaking for sure and very nice for the boys to lend a hand. Y’all kicked butt and it looks finished all but painted. Wil you tape and spray Kit or roll and brush it. It wil be nice and last many years. It will be nice to have that item crossed off the big assed chalkboard list as well as seeing it all the time, finished n new, with a feeling of pride and appreciation. It turning out great. Hopefully the monsoon will let up for two days in a row so I can spray effectively. 5″ in two an a half days then two days later another 2″ more….
    I’m thinkin I should be building an ark out in the shop.

  3. as always, i am so dang impressed by you & your family!
    i can’t wait to see how this continues to unfold!

  4. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to ask for help. But when I do have help, it is such a huge relief to get so much more accomplished in such a short time!

    And yes, a little brother is ALWAYS a “little” brother. My little brother is 35 with his own home and a “big boy” job but he is still my little brother!

  5. My fingers are hurting in sympathy! That’s a huge project and you all knocked a lot of it out. Great crew! I will always be the little sister … don’t think I’m as annoying as when I was 4!

  6. You are one brave woman, I would probably have been quite pissed off to have my fingers smashed.. stay cool and good luck with this huge project

  7. Looking Great! Take care of you body. Love it when I suddenly see bruises in odd places and honestly can’t remember how if could have gotten them 🙂 Nothing like having a younger brother lend a helping hand. Love working with my younger brother.

  8. Your tractor looks like it has a universal skid steer attachment plate. If so, get a set of forks for the tractor – very useful in moving stuff around. Then you can get a man-basket for the forks and you can do that high work safely. Standing in a bucket – probably not a good plan.

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I'm not interested in a mediocre life. I'm here to kick ass or die.