Stuck to the side of our fridge is a very official looking over-sized $100 savings bond. It looks like the paper love child of a check and a currency note. I guess it’s designed to reassure you that in 30 years it will actually grow up to be money. Until then it’s just fancy junk. I won it in an essay writing contest in 10th grade. It’s the only time I’ve ever made money, or theoretical money, from writing. I have no idea how I’ve held onto it this long. It’s been on the fridges of at least 2 houses and was for more than a decade lost in the boxes of sentimental crap that I haul to each new address in this life. The bond turned ten the year I got married and the twin towers fell. Next year it will be 20 and I’ll have only ten years left to decide how to spend a hundred dollars in 2021. Probably to pay a cell phone bill.
I’ve got the savings bond on my mind because today I cashed in a different type of investment. Much like the bond it’s been sitting around worthless until maturity finally set in. In this case the term was about eight years and like the bond it’s been buried away in multiple houses. I’m referring to the stack of cedar german lap siding that I stashed away after tearing down a bunker of mail boxes at a retirement community with my first carpentry mentor, Chris Blair.
Chris Blair went to school to be a singer songwriter and after a decade or two of being a musician built himself a house almost entirely singlehandedly and has been stashing architectural salvage underneath it ever since. I’ve pretty much followed his lead on both the stashing stuff and trying to build way more than is reasonable alone. By the time I started working for Chris his crawl space was full and he was in the process of demolishing and rebuilding parts of the house all over again as his tastes and talents had developed. Again I’ve followed his lead and am constantly itching to undo finished parts of my house. Most of the time Ada is successful at keeping me from gratifying this dangerous urge.
I kept some of the mailboxes from the bunker for several years but they didn’t make the last move. Keeping mailboxes would have shed too much light on the madness involved in my habitual hoarding. Even I could’t justify moving mailboxes along with the memorabilia and flooring and siding and old doors and windows. I mean, it makes perfect sense to transfer a truckload of ancient and decaying bricks from one backyard to another, but mailboxes? Coo-coo!
Today the wait paid off. My friend and neighbor Megan lives on a small corner lot without a garage. She commissioned me to build her a tool “outhouse” and was gracious enough to give me a budget and the instructions to simply build what I wanted. You can see why Megan is in the highest ranks of my favorite client list. She lets me have my way and then sings sweet praise. Thank you Megan!!
Here’s the mailbox bunker reincarnated:
Soon to be seen tottering down Highland Street on its way to Holland Street in its very own one man jackass-of-trades parade! I used up my cedar siding stash down to the last board and was able to find all the other materials without even scratching the surface of the hoard. Just needed to buy hinges. Scary and wonderful.