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August 15, 2011

Those Ants Ate My Shed! or How Tom and Ruth Spent Three Weekends Working

By RetroRuth

So who out there is a weekend warrior?  Tom and I definitely are. To the extreme.  Our weekends are constantly jam-packed with home improvement projects, shopping, more home improvement projects, working out, home improvement projects and then yard work. And if we have extra time, we usually do something around the house.

The good news is that our house looks great. The bad news is that I am completely exhausted. It wouldn’t be so bad, except we are constantly underestimating the time it takes to do stuff. For example, we recently decided that we were going to repair our rotting shed in our backyard.


We imported my Dad to help us with this one, because it was a big deal. (Footnote by Tom: Two days to completely rebuild a shed with only a cordless screwdriver? No problem! What’s a sawhorse?  Is your Dad bringing a measuring tape?) 

That’s my Dad bending over and staring at all the carpenter ants streaming out of the walls as he is pulling away the rotted wood.  I helped discover these ants quite by accident when I was helping him pull apart some pieces of the door, and I got showered with a colony of ants. After I stopped running around the yard and screaming, “They’re in my hair! They’re in my hair!”, we all realized that the wood wasn’t actually rotting, but was being eaten. (We made those ants pay)

Yeah. It was a good time.

Anyway, back to our poor planning skills. 

So, in record time my Dad had the shed repaired (3 days) and we were ready to go.

“Okay,” Tom was rubbing his hands together, “This weekend we are going to caulk the siding (we used wood), prime it and then paint it… or do we need to put on trim first?”

I choked on my piece of toast.

“What?” He downed another huge gulp of coffee. “We’ve got a lot to do.  I think if we get started we can be done by Saturday evening.  Maybe we can seal the driveway after church on Sunday. How does that sound? Hey…you okay? Why do you keep choking?”


Needless to say, we didn’t get all of that done in one weekend. This is a picture of Tom during our second weekend finishing the shed. The trim is up, it’s caulked and the primer is finally all on. The T1-11 we used for the siding really sucked up the oil-based primer and a lot of time.  Tom is working on the first coat of paint.


Pretty nice, huh? The whole back was pretty nasty, and the board at the bottom had to be replaced because the other one was completely ant-eaten. Ew. However, we were able to merely put the new T1-11 over the old particleboard walls because the interior frame was pretty solid.


We went a little crazy and decided to paint the shed orange (Rookwood Terra Cotta from Sherwin Williams) rather than the more sedate brown we originally thought we were going to go with. They are both trim colors on our house (which was painted during many frantic weekends last summer) so it didn’t really matter which one we went with.


But I ended up loving the orange.


Here it is, almost completely complete. We still have to add some gravel around the base, but overall, it turned out really well. I am surprised how nice it actually looks back there now, which was nice because before it was a purple ant-eaten eyesore. Blech.

So how about you, readers? How do you guys do when you are planning projects? Do you budget enough time, or are you like me and Tom, and think everything will take “about an hour”?

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8 Responses to Those Ants Ate My Shed! or How Tom and Ruth Spent Three Weekends Working

  1. Jennie from Mrs Beckinsale Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Every project I sit down to takes “about an hour”. I laughed when I read that!

  2. Betty Crafter Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 10:16 am

    The shed looks fantastic! I can’t believe you handled such a big job in 2 weekends actually. But yes, I’m totally with you. I always under-budget time. But the biggest problem we encounter during weekend-warrior type stuff is marital strife. When we were first married we used to butt heads a lot during this kind of stuff until we learned to delegate responsibilities – he does demo, I do reconstruction. It helped a lot, but home improvement projects are still a minefield for fighting! Am I the only one?

  3. SusieQT Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 10:24 am

    That color is great. In fact, we painted our barn a similar color (I think it was called ‘Georgia clay’). I originally wanted to paint it white, but I am glad we didn’t go that route- too much maintenance. A power painter would save you a ton of time- well worth buying!

  4. ae Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

    What an improvement. Love the color!

  5. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

    That shed looks fantastic now girl! Yay!!! for you and Tom — and Dad too, great work! And that color is awesome.

    Projects…………don’t even get me started on my project list and the time it takes to get things done! 😉

  6. RetroRuth Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Jennie – Isn’t that the standard time for all projects??? Some “hours” are just longer than others, I guess!

    Betty – Thanks! It did turn out pretty good, huh?? Yeah, we both have strong ideas about that the “right” way to too stuff is and some times it can lead to some stress, but mostly we work well together. I’ve found that loud, incessant complaining actually just makes Tom laugh. 🙂

    Susie QT – I adore that color, and think it is actually a great barn color! Yeah, I’ve been looking into a paint-sprayer type thing, but when it comes down do it I always just end up reaching for a brush…

    Thanks, ae! Glad you like it! 🙂

  7. RetroRuth Reply

    August 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Sara! Glad you like it!! I know what you mean about the project list. Last night we were chatting about all the crap we still have to do this summer…turns out it’s actually quite a lot!! Boo!

  8. Andrea Reply

    August 16, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Awesome shed! That really came out cute!

    I am just relieved to know that me and my hubby are not the only people who have no concept of time whatsoever when it comes to projects! After reading the comments, I see that we are far from alone, LOL

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