If You Build It…

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Via Rail, Canada’s national passenger railway, that the train that was supposed to take us out to the Maritimes IN AUGUST was cancelled. I was shocked—we’d planned the whole trip around the train voyage, and I’d already booked hotels, a ferry to Newfoundland, and a couple of bed and breakfasts. The vacation planning, of course, had all taken place before the great lockdown. And aren’t events around the world just doing their damn best to tell us that the end of days is nigh? There’s a plague of locusts in Africa, Murder Hornets have landed on the shores of North America, the world is infected with a terrible pestilence, and now it’s snowing in f*cking May here. If I see a horse galloping down my street, I’m immediately going to live in a cave.

Anyway, I was super disappointed that our trip had been cancelled, even though they refunded all the money and points I’d used to pay for it. “Peut être ze next year,” the Via rep said in a thick, French accent, which certainly didn’t leave me feeling very optimistic. But then I had a thought.

Me: If we have to do a stay-cation, that’s OK. We can always get a hot tub.
Ken: What?
Me: Hot tub.
Ken: Hot tub?
Me: I feel like this conversation is circular. Like this hot tub. Look…

So I showed Ken the Canadian Tire website, where they had fairly inexpensive inflatable hot tubs on sale. Now, if you’re not Canadian, you’re probably wondering why a tire store sells hot tubs. But Canadian Tire sells tires in the same way that Walmart sells walls or Winners sells lottery tickets, which is to say that the majority of things they sell are not tires. “OK,” Ken said. “Where will we put it?”

“On the back patio,” I answered. So I ordered it, and Ken went to get it. Canadian Tire was only doing curbside pickup, which meant that he had to pull up to the door, show them his order number and receipt, then go and park while someone brought it out. When he pulled into the driveway and unloaded the big box, I was super-excited, but then he said something to me that filled me with dread.

“I’ve decided to build a gazebo for it,” he announced. At that moment, thunder may have rumbled ominously in the distance, the birds may have stopped singing, and the hydro might have flickered.

“How—how long will that take?” I whispered.

“I’ll have to order the wood first,” he said cheerily.

“Just a square gazebo, right? Or rectangular? Something easy to put up?” I held my breath, hoping for the best.

“No! Octagonal!” he cried, leaping into the air and clicking his heels together.

“Aw, f*ck,” I said to no one in particular. A squirrel laughed darkly, as if to say, “You will never sit in the soothing waters of the hot tub. NEVER!!” (It wasn’t THIS baby squirrel who’s currently living in my yard, but he’s too cute not to show you.)

So THE NEXT WEEKEND, Ken and I went to get the wood from Home Depot. Once again, we had to show our receipt and order number for curbside pick-up, then park and wait. After half an hour, an elderly woman came to our window. “Would you mind pulling up by the contractor’s entrance?” she asked apologetically. “Only, there’s so much wood that I can’t push it out here myself.”

“So much wood,” I whispered, as Ken loaded it all onto our trailer.

The weather all week was gorgeous, but no sign of activity on the back patio, and no lovely warm waters to soothe my weary soul. Then on Friday afternoon after work, Ken announced that he was going to lay out the frame see how it looked. Immediately, it started to hail. I feared the worst, but Ken was determined, so he put on a parka, and began framing the base. It looks pretty good so far. And at this rate, barring a shower of frogs falling from the sky, I’ll be soaking my cares away by the time we were supposed to be on a train heading to Nova Scotia.

Just for the record, I want it known that I have no doubts about Ken’s abilities; it’s just his timelines. For years, our front door only had an overhang; here’s the porch that he put on, all by himself (with a little help from me, Kate, and my dad). It took him two summers but it’s gorgeous.



61 thoughts on “If You Build It…

  1. So, if you decided on above ground heated pool, would he have built something over that? Just asking because Ken sound like a man of many talents. 😎
    Oh if you saw a house galloping down the street that might have seemed normal, BUT what if it was a Pegasus? Now that would definitely signal the end is really nigh…..just sayin’…..lol.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How weird is it that a few hours ago I ordered a pergola kit? It’ll be a 2.5 x 3.5 metre wooden thing in the corner of the garden that keeps the sun until evening. I have a bad feeling my wife will want me to put in some block paving under it too.
    Not sure about the hot tub idea. Fine for the odd dip on holiday but the idea of creating a tepid human soup in my back garden doesn’t really appeal. A colleague has got a cheap inflatable one and regrets buying it. “It instantly gets full of grit,” he told me (and I’m not fond of beaches because of all that pesky sand), “and it costs eight quid a day to run.” That’s £240 a month (over 400 Canadian dollars).
    Sooo… good luck with that (and if I may, I’ll add a “Bah, humbug” too). If I were you I’d focus on the joyous gazebo that is being built by Ken’s righteous hands. Get some pretty lights and a nice table and chair set so that you can sip wine under it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That squirrel is absolutely adorable! Would you mind if I featured that cutie for my Saturday Squirrel next week? It’s rare enough that I get to post a picture of a baby squirrel…. let alone black squirrel which we don’t have where I live (other than a stray genetic mutation I have yet to cross paths with).

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Inflatable hot tub? I think I’d have taken it for a test drive. Maybe you still can. What’s 500 gallons of water anyway? Maybe it leaks. Or the heater is inadequate. Or it attracts scuba-squirrels, mosquitoes or lightening…

    Liked by 2 people

    • If it doesn’t work, we can take it back, no problem. Canadian Tire is good like that. The only problem is we have 30 days, so Ken better get cracking! And there’s a lid, so no squirrels will fall in (unless they decide to join us when WE’RE in it!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We have a hot tub that we very much enjoy on our back patio. In its early days we had a tent-style (non permanent) pergola over it but it was victim to a windstorm and we never bothered to replace it. We just wear swimsuits in the hot tub now 😉

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  6. I don’t know what’s more impressive: that Ken can build a gazebo or that he can leap into the air and click his heels together. Although I’m still not sure why the gazebo is necessary for you to enjoy the hot tub. I think it would be pretty impressive if you were soaking in the hot tub while he built the gazebo around you.
    And I have no doubt that’s well within Ken’s abilities.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I love your staycation idea. When we had our pond dug we traded in vacations for future years. But having the pond for swimming and fishing and the property for nature walks, riding the 4 wheeler and camp fires made for our perfect staycation. Plus we can sit on the beach with our dogs. 🙂 It’s great that Ken is a skilled builder that is a talent that we lack.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lovely porch!! Wow! Nate and I had a conversation about building a deck/hot tub just this weekend. We have a conversation about getting a hot tub at least once every other week. We still keep talking about it. Maybe we’ll actually get one–because it’s not coming to us any time soon:) Cheers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know–we’d been toying with it for a while. If we like this one, we might eventually get one of the proper hard shell ones, but for right now, I’ll take the what I can get. I think building the gazebo is helping Ken with this whole lockdown thing–at least he has something creative to focus on:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Words I shall never say include “What a great president the 45th one was,” “That was a nice hike,” and “I’ve decided to build a gazebo.” Words I might say are “What an adorable baby squirrel,” “I want a hot tub,” and “Hello, this is Tom. My wife wants a gazebo. How much would it cost for you to build it, Ken?”

    Ken can be exchanged for “Brad” or “Dave” or “Gertrude the Handy-Woman,” as necessary.

    Incidentally, I have mass porch-envy right now. So much wood.

    And, finally, PS:

    So very sorry to hear about Titus this morning. Our condolences to you and the whole family. The hardest thing I ever go through is saying goodbye to my furry kids, and I know Titus meant as much to you as any of mine have ever meant to me. Always be grateful for the time we get to spend with them. Much love, sister. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

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