Saturday night at a holiday party I mentioned my new, incremental efforts on the barn addition to my friend Natalie. She immediately volunteered to come in Monday to help. (She had a couple of hours free before a medical procedure!)
I don’t know why it surprised me so much to find that a fabulous gourmet cook could handle a hammer so well. It turns out that Natalie drives a 16-penny nail better than many of the young men I’ve hired over the years.
She also has a much better spatial awareness than I do. (As D says of me, I very often don’t understand nothin’ ‘less it’s drawn out in a pitcher!) Together Natalie and I nailed up the long middle girts along the length of the barn. To my relief everything fit perfectly.
Meanwhile excitement was added to our morning by the gradual failure of the gear shift cable in my rusty old truck. For several days I’d had a little trouble getting the truck to shift into park. At one point we drove up the hill to get another 16-foot board from the garage. I parked. “Cut your wheels into the hill as a back-up,” Natalie advised. We were inside the garage and my finger was pressing the control to roll up the overhead door when I heard a deeply alarming crack-crack-crack.
When the door rose I saw my truck had fallen out of gear and rolled backwards fifteen feet, missing the car of our guest staying in the apartment by inches. Natalie climbed into the truck with a cheerful shrug.
My heart was banging for quite some time.
Natalie just laughed.
After that I wasn’t sure I had the fortitude left to tackle the heavy header at the top of the posts.
“Of course we can!” Natalie said.
So we did.
Here’s Natalie starting a nail before I climbed my ladder to pull the twisted board into position.
This header will consist of four 16-foot treated 2x12s and four shorter treated 2x12s on joist hangers sandwiched between them — eight boards in all. We got the first one up that morning before we ran out of time.
Of course, driving 16-penny nails is doing my tennis elbow no good at all.
Still it makes me very happy to see progress.