The End of an Era

Jun 19, 2013 •

Backyard view from play place

It had stood in this location for 10 years1. The neighbors hated it, but they didn’t blame me - it was the previous owner who had made the purchase and then installed it without getting the proper approvals. Normally not a big deal in the backyard, but since it stood taller than the fence the neighbors didn’t appreciate the un-asked for eyesore. The compromise, I was told, was to remove the roof; although this only served to destroy the finish even faster than would otherwise have happened. It also meant that the tree growing next to it repeatedly grew into it, leading to some annoying spring time battles.

When we first mentioned to the neighbors that we planned on removing it, they got big smiles and almost gleefully volunteered the sledgehammers and their time to aid in the demolition. But one thing led to another, mostly laziness, and for the last four years it remained. Until now. With the annual ‘dump day’ arriving it was time to demolish the grungy, saggy, cobweb and leaf infested eyesore in a backyard which, if I’m honest, is a bit of an eyesore overall. So now the once proud bamboo gazebo has been reduced to this:

A former gazebo

Part of me is sad to see the gazebo go and I think its for a few different reasons:

  1. In the four years since we moved in, I can only recall using it once, I hate opportunities wasted.
  2. Despite never using it, it was a fixture in my yard, part of my yard’s ‘identity’ and I have several memories and even a few photographs2 and videos of my dog as a puppy resting underneath it, and of my cat hiding underneath it as well - he would probably claim it was for the shade, but in reality it was probably for protection from the evil, vile, no good blue jays.
  3. I’m generally opposed to change - not specific changes, if they’re needed I can get behind them completely, but as a general concept, I don’t like change and never have3.
  4. I’m a bit obsessive about saving things that can be re-used later.

If that fourth one seems odd, let me explain. Beneath the bamboo veneer which looked like it was wrecked (but was still remarkably difficult to break, cut, or tear off) there appeared to be quality wood that was still sound. As soon as I saw that, a metaphor began bouncing around half formed in my mind. Its tempting to tear down and throw away old beat up and unused things, particularly in an age where so many things are actually designed to be disposable and replaced. But sometimes we just need to strip off the old finish, or tear off the old veneer to find something useful and valuable beneath.

If I’m honest, despite my compulsion to save things for later reuse, this wasn’t one of those times. As I was tossing the ripped apart pieces into a pile I looked at the bits of wood and for a moment thought “I can salvage that, surely I can use it for something” but fortunately my wife was there to point out that it was too late. And truthfully, now that its removed, we can finally begin the actual planning of repurposing the space:

Future home of a grill station...

I’m thinking an awesome bar and grill station for summer barbeques, maybe even an integrated kegerator.

  1. Or so I’m told, I’ve only owned this home for ~4 years.

  2. Apparently and ironically the picture at the top is the ONLY picture showing the full gazebo, everything else you only see small pieces of it…

  3. Seriously, ask my parents - or my wife.