David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   

April 22, 2021

There's been a lot of shedding this week. I feel transported back to the time of "Two Sheds Are Better Than One" (August 31, 2017).  However, with all that shedding comes a lot of void.

One shedding is literal, the removal of a rotting, decrepit storage shed with the eventual replacement of a new one, a job that at the moment is likely to cost $8000 when all is said and done.  $8000 to have a place to put my $300 Lawnboy, some rakes, hoses, and deck furniture for the winter seems rather ridiculous, and as money matters have a tendency to do, created a bit of tension in the home, even though we are fortunate enough that $8000 from our savings is hardly a big deal.

The other shedding is figurative, the cleaning up of my office after a 3-year project got wrapped up this week (April 12, 2021, blog can provide more details).  My desk had been covered with dozens of files and hundreds of notes, lists, and old minutes. Yesterday I set out to rid myself, through shed and shred, the papers of my labor.  As opposed to the shed, which frankly started showing its rotting foundation about 3 years ago also, this is a day I anticipated and should have looked forward to.

It's that cost of discovery when you shed that has me down.  We all know with construction work that most costs come from what you don't know initially. Water had gotten into the wood floor of the shed and created a treacherous path for anyone to enter. In addition, some squirrely rat-bastard rodent had taken advantage one winter and burrowed through the decaying wood to take up a winter residence.  In fact, when a first contractor came to provide a quote on the demolition of the old shed and construction of the new, he didn't even seem to notice the pile of dirt in the corner clearly left by the little shit. Even now, in the void from the removed shed, I can see the hole near the back that probably was the bastard's escape route.

More importantly, this suggests we need a concrete foundation. I don't doubt that and those added costs are just part of the "shrug-my-shoulders" bit of home (or shed) ownership.  

As for the metaphorical shedding, despite all of my efforts to show the foundation as solid and supportive, it is clear there is some decay.  We await official confirmation, but much still needs to be framed within the void. Could I have prevented some of the neglect and contrary measures that undermined this foundation? Certainly.  Some of the tension with the literal shedding came from those moments when, as Warren Zevon sang, "should have done, should have done, we all sigh." Even with the work-related shedding, I ask myself, "what should have been set aside to work on this foundation?"  However, there's only so much time and energy one can put into all the professional and personal things we juggle. Unable to avoid the tendency to wonder "what could I have done differently," I need to find the grace to forgive myself.

I have 157 Mondays until I might retire at the age of 62.  This metaphorical void is probably someone else's problem; the storage shed will be in my life a lot longer.  I know which void I'd like to avoid.  However, I am a professional: responsibilities are not so easily shed.

The actual void:

The figurative void: