Yesterday I got a letter in the mail. It was from my uncle’s lawyer and basically said that I had officially gotten the lot of land that was willed to me by my grandma. At least I think that’s what it says; I’m still not good with translating legalese. I think I have to wait until the property is “officially officially” transferred to me at the county recorder’s office (right?) and then I’ll be mailed the deed. I think! And once I have the deed that should be about it. Until next year’s tax bill that is…
It’s a lot of land. My grandpa used to farm it. A long time ago it used to be wooded; grandpa tore all the trees down by himself because that was the type of guy he was. A very dedicated do-it-yourselfer. Did I ever mention he farmed about 10 acres of land by hand? He would be out there all day, literally, tending his garden. He’d sell his literal tons of vegetables off the side of the road, taking his profits and rolling them right into next year’s crops. It was a big hobby for him and what he kept busy with in his retirement.
I don’t have a good reason to be excited for this land but I am. There’s nothing on it so what’s the point of even wanting it? That is the point though. I can do whatever I want with it within legal reasons I guess. Farm it? Sure. Build a house? Sure. Camp on it? Sure. Build a chicken coop and have homemade eggs? Yeah I think that’s legal in the city of Rockford. The possibilities are nearly endless and that’s what I’m excited about. There’s so much I can do that I don’t even want to commit to anything yet. I’m content to look at the land and just daydream about what I can do with it.
I do have to keep it mowed lest the city hit me with silly fees to keep it mowed themselves. This happened to my grandma and the costs are not what you’d expect for someone to mow the yard. They’re stupidly expensive! I’ll need a mower, preferably a riding lawnmower because the field is so damn big. I also have no truck to drive a mower over every few weeks. And I can’t just leave a lawnmower sitting around outside. The weather will tear it up and that’s assuming it doesn’t get stolen. I need a fucking shed to keep it in.
A shed! I can buy one for a few hundred dollars, but where’s the fun in that? There’s also plans you can buy, but once again where’s the fun in that? There is no fun in it, at all. And it’s my land…and what if I just built my own shed? No one is stopping me. That’s my plan. I’m going to build my own damn shed. And I’m going to make it a fancy shed! I’m talking solar panels, wired electricity from the panels, light switches, sockets, windows, a nice door, maybe even carpeting in the upstairs! Upstairs, yes. The little area between the roof and the ceiling can act as a little loft for storage (or sleeping…), with a little ladder heading up to it. According to the City of Rockford, you can build whatever the hell you want (basically) as long as it’s under 120 square feet. My 8×12 foot shed will be just under 100, perfectly legal, or so I hope.
Consider it a test-run to building a house without as much risk. It’s like a tiny home but without a kitchen or bathroom that’s only called ‘a shed’. There’s no worry about plumbing. There’s no worrying about goofing up the basement or foundation to where it’ll flood. Worst case, I do a shitty job and the shed falls apart in a few years. It’s a loss that I can take. It’s meant to teach me the fundamentals of construction and get my feet wet actually building something with purpose.
I haven’t built much with wood, not enough to properly consider building a shed. I put a 2×4 on our mailbox and built a janky stand for my wind generator, but that’s about it. A gate and a small fence a few years ago were easy enough to build, and how hard can scaling that up to a shed be?
My mother-in-law told my mom I was going to build a shed. My mom said, “Jeremy can build a shed? I didn’t know he knew how to build a shed,” which is totally laughable; it’s like my mom doesn’t know me at all. More accurately, doesn’t pay any attention to anyone outside of herself. Hell, I remember my fourth grade teacher saying I should be a carpenter because I did such an accurate job of measuring lines and angles. She knew my skills better than my mom does/did. Thanks for the support Mrs. Graceffa! Isn’t that all carpentry is? Measuring and cutting shit as accurately as possible? I mean there’s more to do than that but that’s the foundation of construction, isn’t it?
My dad tried to give me his shed, a shitty, ugly plastic one that came with his house when he bought it like a decade earlier. “No,” I said, “I want to build a shed.” He totally didn’t understand my whole motivation for this crazy plan. I didn’t want a shed just to house a lawnmower, I wanted a shed so I could finally fuck around with doing something I wanted to do on my own lot of land. Maybe I can build my own home and maybe building a shed is a good way to test my skills? Basically I’m just bitching about my parents here who apparently want you to work 40 hours a week and just buy a fucking house like a normal person would.
I’m on vacation next week, and that’s my goal: build a damn shed, or at least start building a damn shed. I don’t know what I’m really doing, but I’ve been plotting it out and feel confident in my abilities to solve any problems that do come up. That’s the fun of construction; I can just build a fix into the structure if something goes wrong. Knock out some 2x4s. Take out some screws, add some elsewhere, and bam, there’s a shed. Cost-wise it might be pricey – I’m hoping for less than $1,000 – but I’m prepared for that especially with all the dooming about lumber prices going on. Oh well, that’s also part of the adventure I guess. At the very worst, this might be a very cheaply built shed!