Patrick’s Barn: A Perfect Place for a Party
This past weekend was a coming-out party of sorts for our barn. The building made its debut at our son’s sixth birthday party. We cleaned up the space, rolled a coat of white primer on the insulation, and closed off the stair opening to keep in the heat. Despite the cold temperatures, the space stayed pretty warm. We used a propane space heater to warm the room before the party, then tucked the heater away shortly before the party started so nobody would get hurt.
The party was a great success, and it was quite liberating for a neat freak like me to host a kid’s party in such a bullet-proof space. I laughed off the blobs of Play-doh and chocolate cake, and the spills of beads and colored water. These things would have been quite upsetting had they occurred in our nice, tidy home.
With the space somewhat useable, I have a renewed incentive to make the rest of the space habitable. I’m sure anybody who has tackled a room addition or other major building project on their own would agree. You can enjoy a space long before it’s completed. In our last house, I remember how my wife and I would climb an extension ladder to visit our second-story addition long before it was done. We’d sit on a stack of lumber or drywall and drink a beer or two and imagine how we’d use the space. We found spending time in there extremely valuable for planning how to partition the large, open space.
If you read this someday, son, I hope you enjoyed your party. I know having a birthday celebration in our unfinished barn might not be as cool as Tumble Jungle or the Truck Museum, where we hosted your last two birthdays, but I suspect you’ll have a lifetime of stories describing your wacky parents and how living with hard-core DIYers affected your life. I hope it’s for the better.
You can read more about my barn here.
My wife decided our air compressor would a great way to fill the many balloons needed for our little boy's sixth-birthday party, but she wasn't sure which was the right accessory. My son pulled the blow gun out of the drawer. Holding it up, he said, "It's this one, Mommy!" He filled all the balloons with it. Seeing him with ear protection and a blow gun warms a handy dad's heart.
We hosted 15 kids and their parents. Our small house couldn't easily have accommodated so many people, but the barn was the perfect size. The space looked a little rustic, but everyone was too polite to be critical. It was great not worrying about the mess created by chocolate cake and pounds of Play-doh.
Here you can better see the tables and benches made from leftover pine and OSB floor sheathing. One of the moms asked if we'd keep the furnishings. I replied, "Until we need steps. The tables are made from the stock I was planning to use for treads and a landing." She gasped, "But they're so nice!" Maybe I should go into business making OSB tables.
On Sunday I took a trip to the home center (bet you can't guess which one) to pick up a bunch of material. We're down to one car, a two-door Chevy Cobalt, which is not up to carrying building material. The rental truck was the perfect solution. It cost $20 for the rental and $10 for gas. I've been wanting a pickup for years, but the rental is a way better deal.
One of my purchases was flue pipe and accessories for an unconnected woodstove we have in our basement. After exploring every possible heating option, I was finally convinced to go with the woodstove by a neighbor who said, "I hate the oil guy! Get a woodstove. There's wood everywhere!" He's right. We have at least a couple cords from downed trees and branches from Hurricane Irene and the early season snowstorm.