What is the truth about this blog?

Well, in my case, I am starting to wonder.  I started out simply trying to improve my writing by writing about my experiences and nonsense off-the-grid.  And, to whatever extent that happened, that exercise is mostly over.  

More exercise usually, in theory, continues improvement.  Incrementally.  But we all have to face the law of diminishing returns.  I live by the 80/20 rule. My writing might be getting a little better.  Maybe.  Slowly.  But not everything is.

Writing is more than just crafting sentences and telling anecdotes, it includes interesting topics and wrenching efforts at truth-telling. And that’s today’s topic. Truth-telling. 

Case in point: Writing and building are different.  I have lost faith in any improvement in my construction.

And I have found some holes in the 80/20 rule.  They were discovered by my constructing the world’s worst greenhouse.  Too complicated to explain but, trust me, it’s bad.  You’d think I would be getting better at building small structures but I am not. Incremental improvement is not working for me.  I am now building to the 20/80 rule: 20% of the effort is yielding 80% of the mistakes.

I don’t know why, exactly*.  I mean, a part of it is that I have become dysfunctionally comfortable with building-on-the-fly.  I like to ‘wing it’.  Feels more creative, organic, fluid, expressive…ya know..?  I guess I am a hippy at heart when it comes to building.  But, those kinds of feelings can be a smidge difficult to reconcile with square, level and plumb. There is something about building that requires discipline and I have always had trouble with that. (*I do know why: Sal supplied the discipline by nagging me about such things but she is quilting, yoga-ing and book-clubbing now and it is noticeable by her glaring absence on the job site). 

So, I told my neighbour my problem.  “My greenhouse is crap!”

“What’s wrong?  Show me the plan.”

“I don’ need no stinkin’ plan!”

“No plan?  How did you start?”

“By looking at all the loose crap I had under the house and sorting through the assorted windows I had salvaged….”

“So, you are using a pile of stuff that isn’t of the same materials or dimensions or designed for the intended purpose and, with no plan whatsoever, you are attempting to cobble it all together into a rectangular, strong, functional greenhouse?”

“Yeah.  What’s your point?”

My neighbour just laughs.  Mind you, I am talking to guy who does several drafts on paper before building a birdhouse from a store-bought kit. He reads the instructions.  He studies the manual.  He goes to the university library and looks up ‘BIRDHOUSES’.  We are different peas in different pods, he and I.

“Do you want me to come over, maybe offer some advice?

“Absolutely not!  Not ever!  If you come to visit, from now on you have to wear a blindfold.  I swear.”

“Well, did you at least use a string line?”

“Of course I did.  But it kept getting in the way….so…no, not the whole time….”

“Getting in the way of what?”

“The walls.  They kept weaving up against the string and pushing it out of straight.  So, I was going to try to straighten the walls when it occurred to me that removing the string was easier.”  

“You still building to the 20 year rule?”  

“I’ve cut back.”  





7 thoughts on “What is the truth about this blog?

  1. Jackknife carpentry rocks. The day that there is moratorium on re-cycling, up-cycling, re-purposing, reusing and all those types frugalites love in their quest to junk nothing will be a dark day. The day that my father brought home the Charlie Brown Chistmas Tree that had tumbled off the truck and drilled the trunk and inserted branches to make it fuller, was the day that frugal went too far. But you my friend have not gone too far. Wavy walls is a technique to reduce wind sheer in exposed locations. Just look at the bridge to P.E.I with its undulations and serpentine meanders and no length of string used anywhere. Keep true to OTG! Here at the Lodge we’re pulling for you. Red Green.


    • Dave it is never too late for duct tape. You surprise me that it is not already your constant friend and companion. Check your stocking at Christmas. RG

      p.s. there are no dumb ideas. Only ideas ahead of their time. People will come to you.


      • The only people who come to me are Coast Guard first aid attendants. Everyone else heads away.
        I am the OPPOSITE of a leader. I am a natural repellent for most people, money, women and fish….
        …which is usually just fine by me (readers of this blog being the main exception).
        Incredibly, I seem to have double the attraction for gravity…increasing mass….who knew?


  2. Classic! I spent last Saturday afternoon being bamboozled into helping a friend.
    You know the type, ” What are you doing?”
    “Well, my wife just bout a new convection oven and I need help installing it above the stove………..”
    I let that hang for 5 minutes, thinking of ANY reason not to help my criminally inept handiman friend…….
    So over I went and , just in case, I brought tools. He has none. Not even a screwdriver? WTF? So after reading the instructions while he watched the Blue Jays on tv….trust me, it was better that way.
    We hung the damn thing, after pinching my index fingernail blueblack because of the tight fit…….powered it up in about 10 minutes and voila! Finito!
    Wifey arrives home and gives him a huge slobbery kiss for a great job well done and looks at my finger stuck in a glass of ice water. Hands me a warm beer…..
    Monday at work……… guess which fingernail gets jammed between a steel dolly and a friken wall……and not even a warm beer to cheer me up.
    Renos, my curse, even when it isnt my own home.


    • So………………..? What are you doin’…..?
      And what do you know about greenhouses?
      Oh, relax. I am only kidding. I’ve got this. It will be ugly but it will be functional. Like Forest Gump, I build as I am…ugly but functional.


      • Im great at following instructions on a piece of paper as long as they’re written in english. Bought a dashcam from China a year ago. OMG….

        As long as the plants in your greenhouse are happy, who cares about appearances.
        And it will make you folks look even more like your “roughing it”. You’ll have to give it a name. I owned a used 1984 Hinda civic with 400,000kms on it. It leaked oil everywhere it went. Hence my name “Spot” for the ugly beast. The next Honda civic was grey so I named it “G-Spot” . The last honda civic was white and didnt leak oil so it was dubbed “Spotless”.
        “Voyage of the Damned” is a little long but it gets the idea across of whats gonna happen to your winter veggies. 🙂
        “Diamond in the Rough”….”Valhalla’s Vexation”, etc.etc.
        And of course, the name has to be roughly carved with mixed font and crooked letters….justt to add to its “Gump-ness”……..


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