If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Giant Step In The Journey

A couple of months back I shared a progress report about Mike's son, Stephen and his wife, Bonnie Following Their Dreams.  Today I thought I'd share one more step in the process.  I guess this post could be called Nesting. 

It seemed like things drug along for a long time when it came to them making their own business relocate from a rental site to one that belongs to them.  First there was the search for property and then plan creation and the purchase steps.  Then, there was the permits process and revisions and more permit requests and more...  Well, you know how all that goes when you are in the early stages of buying and building.  It seemed as if it was ten times worse when it came to building a commercial home than it is when one builds a personal home.  Yet, this young, tenacious, ambitious couple persevered.

Then came the coordination of several more steps.  There was the dirt work.  Then, there was the concrete work.  Next was the framing work... and so on.  Of course, peppered in there were pauses and delays due to weather circumstances.  Finally, things suddenly seemed to take shape and this rose up on the horizon:

 Without too many more delays, it really started taking shape and looked like this: 

Of course, this was just the outside.  The inside was transforming as well.  Even before there was electricity to enhance visibility, indoor improvements began taking place.  Stephen and Bonnie would spend their days at the store taking care of business as usual.  (Of course, Stephen was also required to make several trips to check on progress at the store during the day from time to time and Bonnie would have to run errands to pick up this or that, leaving the store to run with only one of its proprietors sometimes.)

One of the big jobs that was done with drop lights and extension cords after putting in a long day taking care of business as usual was painting.
Bonnie making the painted corners meet...

Stephen muscling a coat onto the ceiling...

Hitting the high spots and the low ones...

Painting was a job that was done in stages - one coat at a time - and usually in near darkness using a drop light or a simple spotlight on a makeshift stand.  They rolled paint on the ceilings.  They rolled paint on the walls.  They used finesse to paint straight edges and keep a smooth even coat.  Somehow they even got Mike in on the act...
He who would not help me paint here at the house...

I think he was the only one who seemed surprised that he could do a good job painting (at least that was the excuse he always gave me when I was painting rooms here at the house).  Yet a smooth, even coat glistened under his hands!

We will do most anything for our kids won't we?

I did a little bit of painting, too, and let me tell you.  It ain't as easy as Big Papa above makes it look!  Of course, I was up and down the ladder and stretching to reach the edges.  I felt muscles I didn't remember ever having - ever! 

Then there was a flurry of activity.  Electrical hook-up.  Light installation.  Inspections.  Baseboard installation.  Interior door installation.  Door and window facing installation.  More inspections.  Cabinet and counter installation.  Plumbing installation.  More inspections.  For about a month it seemed like that place was a bee-hive of activity.  It was like a freight train roaring toward its destination.  Then, on Thursday before Memorial Day, the light at the end of the tunnel signaled arrival!  So, a small crew gathered to assemble shelving.  What an adventure that was!

I really hate that I didn't make a video of us unwrapping the stacks of shelving and support pieces and sorting them and determining which went together with what.  I'm sure that some of us (me in particular) might have looked a bit like The Three Stooges.  I asked Stephen a few questions, I think.  (I'm pretty infamous for that and I think he really, really likes that part of our interaction when working on a project!)  Then, things began to shape up to look like this:
Seth, Papaw, and Stephen analyzing before adding the next piece.

They really sort of worked like a well-oiled machine.

Seth and I became the fetch and hand-it part of the team.  Since he is a young, nimble, teenager, he also took on a role in the assembly team along with Stephen, my Daddy, and Bonnie. 
Can you tell who is really in charge here?

There was the matter of holding it together, fitting all the pieces together, and clicking it into place.  If you stood back and watched, it might have resembled a three-ring-circus a bit but really, it was a well-oiled machine.  Really.

Soon, the back wall began to look like a real store ready for merchandise!

Section-by-section shelving began to line the outer walls of the room.

First the outside edges of the showroom were set up with shelving.  The three-man team set up the base, supports, and backing.  I continued to be the fetch and hand-it person.  Bonnie determined the spacing between shelves and began that part of the assembly. 

Bonnie wrestling with a shelf.

After the master-horticulture-hydrator (Mike) finished watering the upper shrubbery and trees, he came in to join the assembly team.  This freed up Daddy to help Bonnie with the shelf wrestling assembly.  Some of them clicked right into place...and some of them did not.
Bonnie and Daddy wiggling a shelf into place.

Then, came the moment where the placement of the aisles and floating banks of shelving were to be determined.  Since reinforcements came in from plant watering duty to help demonstrate placement and spacing, a visual concept was easily established.  Here was one end of the room:

Have you ever seen such a fine crew as this?

Here was what it looked like at the other end of the room.

In the two previous pictures it may have looked like Stephen was the one measuring, figuring, and deciding where the rows would go.  However, look at the far left edge of this shot and you will see who this decision fell to...
Notice from who these brawny guys are looking for instruction?

The debate was whether to set up three rows or four.  I really missed a good photo (and audio) opportunity.  I think this was the point where Bonnie said in a quavery little voice that she didn't think she had enough merchandise to fill all of these shelves.  So, it was decided - three rows.

Assembly continued and it soon looked like a store waiting to take life.

Shelf-by-shelf it soon became ready and waiting.

The next night Bonnie's sisters and parents came and helped to wipe the dust off all the shelving that we had assembled and Stephen attached the end-caps.  I was at home nursing my aches and pains.  So, sadly, I didn't get any photos of that stage.  However, they did a fabulous job because, on Moving Day, Saturday afternoon, everything was shining and awaiting the products that would invade the empty space. 

I'll share a separate Moving Day post soon.  Stay tuned to see how this new nest comes to life!