I had to reef on the plywood doors to open them. Cautiously I had stepped inside and upon gazing at the ceiling (or lack thereof) and then at the floor (or lack thereof) I immediately marched back inside and informed the children that they were not, under any circumstance, to step foot inside the 'shed' or they would die.
No, this was not a threat. It was a simple fact. The thing was clearly a death-trap.
Oh, there was also the matter that this structure, if you will, encroached a good seven feet onto one neighbour's property, and two feet onto another. Far be it from me to guess at whether or not the shed, which the Well-Travelled One and I have guess to be roughly 60-odd years in age, pre-dated arbitrarily drawn property lines or the shed was unceremoniously dropped onto what was 'roughly' the corner of the yard.
Anyway, this encroachment kept us from doing anything about it for a number of months as we pondered what the etiquette is in demolishing a frighteningly unsafe structure that straddles two properties.
Last spring, I had chance to meet the neighbour who has the misfortune of sharing this monstrosity and with some hesitation she asked what we planned to do with it. When I mentioned that I hoped to tear the blasted thing down, I have never seen someone's eyes light up so brightly..
Apparently the former owners of my little abode were unreasonably attached to the shed in question and had, on numerous occasions, refused to have the thing torn down, even after the neighbour offered to have her son and potential son-in-law come tear it down for FREE.
Not long after, The Well-Travelled One embarked on a mission over the summer months to single handedly dismantle this portal to hell, at risk of personal injury and respiratory infection from gord-only-knows what airborne toxins were kept in with all the animal bedding and so on and so forth.
This weekend we borrowed my parents pick-up truck and approached the back-yard neighbor about accessing the shed from their yard. Never have i seen someone so excited about the prospect of someone driving a Dodge Ram across their lawn. We proceeded to make upwards of five trips to the local dump, filling the box (not the cab.. See, I got it right this time!) to the brim with all manner of rotted wood, torn vinyl siding, I don't-even-want-to-know what kind of pathogens and enough nails that I could have built a replica model of the Eiffel Tower, to scale.
Okay, so I might have exaggerated slightly there.
We even got the kids in on the project with the promise of a decent hourly rate for helping out. The little one was unfortunately limited in what she could do, given her size and tendency towards unwieldiness. However, she was able to put her destructive streak to good use by helping break down window frames and chunks of wall with a claw hammer, and otherwise helping to fetch tools and such.
Surprising was how well the oldest took to the work. I've been struggling lately with how to deal with my 12-year-old's sense of entitlement and adversity to hard work when it comes to earning money. I've been tearing my hair out in frustration as she complains about not having money, wanting expensive things and yet not being willing to work towards them, unless absolutely convenient, and then completing task seemingly with the least amount of effort possible.
Thing is, when she puts her mind to it, she can work hard and work well. When we went back-country camping, she was the most vocal about her inhibitions where the 8km hike was concerned, but she made it through with little complaint. Yesterday was a prime example. She was hesitant at first with helping me load and unload, gingerly picking up small pieces of wood and carefully placing them on the truck. Rather than slowing down as they day wore on, by our third and fourth dump trip, she was tossing and and heaving beams onto the woodpile like a champ and leaping in and out of the truck box with the agility of a gymnast.
Both the girls worked exceptionally hard, as did my love, and by the end of the day, the former death trap had been reduced to a manageable pile of rubble, a scant 2-3 more loads and the cursed thing should be gone.