It’s An Old-Fashioned Barn Razing!

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It was a nice little shed. The kind placid suburbanites plant in the green carpet of their backyard lawns. Sort of a mini-barn. A testament to an older, quieter way of life. Back in the day when we worked the land because, well, that’s what we were born to do.

Such were the fancies of a young man about to embark upon the American life, the American Dream.

The official Town Permit was obtained on April 29, 1991. It’s signed by June L. Smith, Town Clerk. For those of you who don’t know, she was the mother of none other than Tim Smith, half of the prolific writing duo of Tim & Deb Smith.

The shed itself was a kit. Meticulously researched for both size and value (and appearance, it had to have that “barn-like” look with a color scheme that matched the house), the shed had to hold all the lawn care and gardening tools and supplies.

It would be the home of much more than that.

We found a suitable model at Sears. It was a typical wood-frame construction, nothing too difficult for the experienced builders we thought we were. (To be honest, my brother actually was an experienced builder. I was just a computer programmer in over his head.)

It was 12’ by 12’, with brown siding and white trim. We built it in the month of June, 1991, nearly two months after mother June signed the building permit.

By the way, a lot of folks questioned why I would pay $60 for the building permit. That answer was (and remains), because that’s what the Town Code required. I generally avoid cutting corners and prefer to over-engineer (and overpay) for things only because I suspect it makes things easier (and more comfortable) in the long run. Getting the permit is an example of implementing that particular philosophy.

My future in-laws were visiting that weekend. My father-in-law helped build the shed. (We had just gotten engaged earlier that month, so perhaps he figured it was worth the investment.)

Raising the barn was a fulfilling experience. There’s something about constructing trusses… Even a little SNAFU didn’t dissuade us from the swift completion of our appointed rounds.

It would have been swifter had we read the instructions more carefully before launching post haste into all that nail pounding. It turned out we used the particle board intended for the roof on the floor instead. Oh, well. A quick drive to 84 Lumber resolved that issue.

In fact, for a moment we considered simply switching the provided materials and using the supplied plywood on the roof instead of putting it in its rightful place on the floor. But its weight and the realization a particle board floor would likely break made us conclude it’s better to pay for the extra particle board.

Over-engineering. Over-paying. Yeah, it’s a burden I’m accustomed to.

In three decades of heavy use – from storing lawn tractors to weighty masonry equipment – the floor never budged. It was rock solid.

The same couldn’t have been said for the hefty doors. It wasn’t long before that elegant white trim began to decay. We soon replaced the worst pieces with composite board that wouldn’t suffer the ravages of Western New York weather.

The hinges, on the other hand, were an entirely different matter. Attempts to repair and replace came to nothing. In the end, we would merely lift the doors off their resting place. As a result, during the shed’s final years you wouldn’t exactly call it “hermetically sealed,” but at least snow and rain could not get in it.

Alas, there comes a time when life tells you to move on…

Hmmm, that’s a rather depressing way to say it. Allow me to reframe the scene…

Alas, there comes a time when the pursuit of cheerfulness – again, the American Dream – requires you to set your sights onward and upward.

The old shed, though serviceable, was just too small to meet the needs of a growing portfolio of happiness. A new real-life “barn” (a.k.a. a detached garage), has been erected to realize other visions (see “Journey Beyond The Center Of The ‘Stacks’,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, August 12, 2021). And that old pesky code demanded the 30-year-old structure be demolished.

And so it began, an old-fashioned barn razing.

It took three generations of Carosas – one for brawn, one for leverage, and one who is a Certified Safety Engineer – to take the thing down. And along with that, all those wonderful memories.

Ah, yes, those memories… Like learning how scaffolding can be stacked in a way that makes very useful shelves for holding tools. It was (and still is) on those shelves where my grandfather’s vast array of masonry and carpentry tools rested, patiently waiting for their next assignment.

Then there was the time my brother Kenny came to the house to borrow one of those tools out of the shed. He casually opened the doors (the hinges worked then) and walked in to where the scaffolding shelves stood (or, rather, leaned) against the back wall.

He had disappeared into the shed for only a moment before you could see (and hear) him gushing out, screaming like a banshee. It turned out those scaffolding shelves not only were the perfect place to store boxes of tools, but they were also the perfect place to stores nests of mice. Kenny never did like mice.

So, I guess it was fitting that his son Pat arrived just in time to take down the wooden trusses.

Now the shed is gone. It lived a good life.

The detached garage will live an even better one.

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