I didn't really build a house. Did you think I could?
If I did try it and you saw the results, you'd say I should …...
..NOT have tried it!
It would turn, from a "Dream House", into a ……..NIGHTMARE.
I'm sure BOTH my mate and I would pull out our hair …
‘by the roots'.
I'd build it in the summer …when the weather is nice.
No worry then about Spring rains OR Winter's snow and ice.
I would not bother to dig the basement ‘deep', …
just deep enough for a plumber or electrician to creep …
on her belly if need be.
If the earth was firm enough I‘d skip a concrete floor,
just laying down a plastic sheet and some gravel, nothing more.
For "basement" walls I could get concrete blocks from "CHEAP BUILDERS' SUPPLY",
and use medium-grade mortar. Why buy ‘top grade'? Why?
‘B-grade' lumber would suffice for framing. Yes it would.
My saw cuts would not be too accurate; I wish they could …....
...be, but I'm no ‘carpenter'!
Quarter inch plywood should do for exterior roof and wall sheathing.
NO sense getting sheets any thicker which would hamper house's breathing.
I‘d drive nails as best I could, with a hammer, the old fashioned way.
[NOT] "each nail would be driven straight"; "that" I COULD say …….
but SOME would be!
Tools like levels and squares can be pricey. I'd just "Eyeball It".
If you, my Readers, have some complaints ‘bout that …."Bring it ……
Window holes? Who needs them? I'd build unblemished walls.
[BUT, that said, I DO like windows …in public bathroom stalls.]
If my wife or I wanted windows later, that could be arranged,
but nothin'fancy; more like ship portholes, which could be easily-changed.
If I dared to build a two-story house, no fancy stairs I'd use.
A long, gradually -inclining wooden plane with footholds made of 2 x 2s ….
NO furnace, needing all those expensive ducts and vents, you'd see.
Portable electric heaters and electric blankets would..…..work for wife and me.
Our winters only last four months, so heat's not needed …..more than that.
And NO A/C; if summer days got hot …., outdoors we could sat …..
…. I mean sit.
"Home Sweet Home" [a sign] would grace our entryway,
and if things ever turned ‘sour', we'd only need to pray …....
As I said at first, my house would be a nightmare.
Almost everything that could go wrong ‘DID'; it wasn't …..REALLY fair!
The house was finished before the leaves fell from the …..trees.
It was cozy, though creaky, at first. But soon ….the air did freeze ….
I think having no windows helped hold in some of the ….
but I remembered too late "the insulation"; I'd not used …..one sheet!
I MEAN not one, not two, not three. I mean NOT ANY.
And it wasn't even that I had been "pound-foolish" while …."penny-
wise". I just FORGOT!
AND, windowless, the house was dark, night AND day,
without lights on.
Soooo ….we used a LOT of lights to light our way …..
in our new house.
And as the outside temperature dipped, so did ours ….
As Autumn turned to Winter, the sun, more often than ……not, did hide …..
AND, the electric heaters were good for use in small places,
but one room away there were, of the heater's heat, no …..traces.
But if we used more heaters to, .....with heat, the whole ….
can you imagine what soon happened to our monthly electric bill?
[Can you say: "skyrocketed"? ]
I hastily bought insulation, and we bought VERY heavy …..sweaters,
but the cold at times made us feel like we were wearing fetters!
I closed off the second floor, insulated the first floor …..ceiling,
and its walls. [All along I had the terribly-haunting feeling ….
I was forgetting something.]
Snow arrived, and whistling winds blew from the North.
Still, with more heaters and hats AND gloves we held forth.
But then, as I tried to wash my hands one morning,
the water from the faucet came in a trickle, without …..warning.
Oh NO! Now I realized what I'd forgotten to insulate:
the water pipes under the house! But it was too.............LATE!
Can you guess what a plumber's weekend HOURLY rate ….would be?
More than enough to pay for a ‘Night on the Town' for ….
my mate and me!
[AND I'd not built any access door to the "crawl space"]
When the plumber arrived, how red was my by-then-….embarrassed face!
So out came a saw and now we've a hole in our floor,
through which the plumber and electric heater ……descended, and what's more ……
is …I'd built the house "illegally"; no permit had I used.
NO inspection by a city inspector. The plumber was NOT ….amused….
[though she laughed at first].
THAT problem dealt with, there were MORE to come. The Roof.
I learned that quarter inch plywood was not ‘good'. The …..Proof:
As the snow built up, the roof, in spots, began to sag.
Before long, I was wiping up drips from bedroom ceiling with a rag.
I began to doubt, as well, my choice in roofing. Shingles.
My spine was experiencing bouts of shivers and some …..tingles.
Hadn't I read that, if I used tar paper first, shingles need not overlap?
NOW I began to think I'd dreamed it OR what I read …...was full of crap!
I paid the neighbor kid [lightweight, but strong] to scoop ….snow off roof;
[the medical bills for his broken legs.......made our last savings go "POOF" …..
‘up in smoke'].
Trying to cut our electric bill, I sawed some "portholes".
But several cuts severed wall supports, adding to our ….
Increasingly, the roof and THEN walls did creak and groan.
One very windy night I almost called "911" on my phone,
fearing the house would suddenly collapse and bury ….
The next day my wife went to visit her parents; she took ….a bus.
It was "just me" against the house and weather now.
Each night AND day I‘d kneel at my bedside and bow ….
my head in prayer:
"God, are you there? "
The roof still sagged and it still leaked.
The walls sagged too. The Whole House creaked.
Finally I moved into my brother's house …...
where I had trouble sleeping; it was "quiet as a mouse".
As a precaution I moved our furniture, ‘just in case'.
At least now we didn't have to heat the horrid place.
Two weeks later, one windy night, the house collapsed ….
Electric wiring caused a fire; it sure burned FAST! !
First thought: "Our Homeowner's Insurance will cover that."
SECOND THOUGHT: "I KNEW I forgot something else! "
And ……THERE …………I ……………..SAT.
(November 5, 2016)