A rundown shed, two calls and answers for help, and a trip to Gehenna

From Nate

Our home was built in 1916. It was a little box of a house, but the backyard had a shed, presumably for sheltering the then-current, all-the-rage mode of transportation – a horse and buggy. Imagine a town filled with horses pulling buggies: the slow pace of life, the precious fertilizer. Oh to go back to those long lost days, but I digress… We moved into this house in 2008 and dared not enter this timeworn, termite and wood-rot-infested shed, let alone store anything of value in it. Its value lay in its legacy, its history, so we just let it sit. And sit. And sit. And sag. And bend. And crack. And lean. Until the infamous “Windmaggedon” of November 2011 took its toll on our poor shed, and nearly a year later it was clearly unfit and unsafe to remain on our property any longer. Another small piece of history lost.

A Facebook status calling any and all volunteers to help tear down the shed one October Saturday morning went out, and who should show up but a handful of Mountainsiders. Maybe it was the promise of cinnamon rolls, maybe it was the temptation of using power tools and seeing something collapse, or maybe, and most probably, it was the kindness, willingness to help, and spirit of friendship amongst our small community that brought everyone out to help. In all, the work took about an hour. The shed didn’t put up any sort of fight; it was resigned to its fate. It took longer to make the cinnamon rolls, but feast we did! We piled the scraps in our yard, intentionally, so that I could ever so slowly transfer said pile of scraps to the curb for garbage truck pickup over the coming months (or years). And we lived happily ever after…

… until we received the official (i.e. scary) letter from the Monrovia city code enforcement department a few weeks later on another Saturday morning stating (or accusing) that we were building an illegal apartment and that we would be fined thousands of dollars if we did not remove the rubble off our property within the next 2 days and prove we were not building an illegal apartment. Panic set in and I immediately began calling Home Depot to rent a trailer to haul everything to the dump. Except I had no way to hitch the trailer to our CRV. Ok, new plan, burn the pile of wood scraps. It would, of course, be controlled. After coming up with multiple scenarios where I would somehow dispose of everything, ON MY OWN, my wise wife said, “Why don’t you ask to borrow Kurt’s truck and ask for some help?” Oh yes, help, that could be nice. So, another Facebook plea and who should show up within ten minutes but three Mountainsiders, including Kurt/truck and another buddy willing to help. Over the next several hours, we sawed, piled, stacked, bent, loaded, strained, and properly secured and covered everything and drove to the dump, aka Gehenna (or hell in Bible speak). The process above was repeated in reverse order, but took more time as we all giddily stared in amazement at the enormous Star Wars-esque trash compacting machines while also avoiding the swarms of zombie seagulls curious as to what we were offering them. Quite the bonding experience.

In the end, no fines were paid to the city and all was straightened out, and I owe that to the generosity of my Mountainside community. Thanks for being a place, and community, that is willing to answer calls for help!