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Bad idea

09/30/2010 @ 10:32am

I had a bad idea last week.

Okay, actually I had a bad idea about a year ago; it took me until this weekend before I realized it.

Here’s the thing. Our garage is about 30 feet from the house.  Actually, 33 feet and 9 inches, but you probably don’t care about that. The original blueprints for our house, which were probably drawn on the back of an empty paper bag with an indelible pencil, had no provisions for an attached garage. I’m sure it was an oversight -- Great Grandpa had plenty of other things to think about, what with prairie fires, plagues of grasshoppers, and whatever else came with farm life a century or so ago.

Of course, without a car, there wasn’t much need for an attached garage.

But, times change. We have a car, plus a pickup, and there are occasional moments, say from October to May, when it would be very nice to have a little better access to where the vehicles are stowed.

We could have built a new garage and stuck it on the side of the house, but that would have been easy, contrary to the way we like to do things out here. Plus, we have windows on all four sides of the house and we rather like them, so the garage had to stay put.

That left me with several options. I could have dug a tunnel with an elevator at each end, which seemed excessive and…not really in the budget. I could have bought a few umbrellas and left some in the garage and some in the house, but that wouldn’t have helped the snow shoveling issue.

Also, I have some friends who have mobility challenges -- wheelchairs and the like -- and I love having them visit, so I decided to make the place fully accessible. A ramp to a side door seemed like a good idea and having it covered seemed even better.  As it stands, my wife leaves for work about 7:45 a.m., which means on snowy days I have to postpone my second cup of coffee and half of the newspaper in order to get the sidewalk shoveled and get her off to work on time. 

I know – you’re wondering why I don’t just let her shovel the walk.  Well, with a heavy snowfall she’d need to get up about 5:30 in order to not be late for work, and that would mean she’d probably have to set an alarm, and I hate the sound of an alarm clock.

Because a simple, straight ramp wouldn’t quite line up right, I figured I’d make a little jog in the middle, then decided that the right thing to do was make a little blockhouse sort of a thing where the wide spot was, and that would have to be taller because the two sections of ramps wouldn’t have the same roof height...you get the picture.

I finally started working on it last week, and yesterday, as I teetered on the top of an eight foot step ladder, I suddenly realized that I was attempting to build a cross between the Eifel Tower and the Taj Mahal, just to connect my house and garage.  I stepped back, turned to my wife and said, “This is a bad idea.”

I think she had probably come to the same conclusion some time previously, but was hoping that I knew what I was talking about.

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