Utilitarian Projects #3: Dirty Dancing, and Quick as well- Garden Honey Do

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 06-07-2010 12:34 AM 8425 reads 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Apology Part 3 of Utilitarian Projects series Part 4: The Planter Stands......Dancing in the Sun »

Innocently Sherie asked me, while I was in a good mood, yesterday out eating lunch, and this is a for real quote…...’Could you cut up a couple of boards for me?’

I looked at her suspiciously, and I am sure she batted her eyelids as she spoke, so I started trembling with the opportunity.

Cut up a couple of boards? Can I….........the neighborhood Lumberjock….........cut up a couple of boards?!?

Now those of you that are married realize that wives are much smarter than husbands. I am sure all you lady LJ’s will verify that here, right Now QUICK......(-:

Wives know how to get things done. No demands or ultimatums, just give old gullible Archie the chance to put on a show, as they wheedle and woo the unsuspecting victim into the web. Let him think he has a better idea, and what’s more he can make it, from scrap, for free!

She knows the hook is set as you hunch closer to her over the table, stretching a little out of your chair, down tilted head, looking out from under your bushy old sawdust covered eyebrows, your voice rumbling, the table vibrating as the words emanate from the grotto of your manhood, and you say…...

’Just what did you need those little ol’ sticks for, hon?’

Now this interchange is much more than it seems. There is a lot at stake here. With her nonchalance, she hopes to minimize the importance, and maximize the output. You, on the other hand, would kill for any chance to show off the masculine power of those gleaming machines now quietly lurking in the dim man-cave….....while justifying the purchase of the next essential wood working monster megamachine.

It’s a dance…....but folks, it’s really hard to tell who is leading…............

‘Well’, says Sherie, ‘I bought a couple of planters for tomatoes…..the greenhouse lady says buy black ones and put steer manure in the bottom, and the heat from the fermenting will make the tomatoes grow much better up here in Alaska, I just wanted the planters a little off the ground, you know, the thickness of a board would be just right.’

....and she held her fingers about 1 1/2 inches apart in front of her face, smiling, tongue wetting her lips, as I gazed at the space…....between her fingers.

Who’s winning???

So the planters were in the back of her truck…..yes, 4 wheel drive Lexus Bubba truck, so I got them and placed them in my…......2 wheel drive, Honda Odessy van, soccer-mom car…......and off she went with her wallet in the pursuit of other indispensable purchases for the home…......

She’s winning…...

So of course, I telling this in retrospect, after some analysis and embarrassing realization, unsuspecting, thought I was on the road to a new essential purchase for the shop, I was in control….......gotta have a dream…......

So I immediately head for home. Sherie had thought, wouldn’t it be economical to use the boards lying there in back of the house, the boards that failed to maintain position to hold the gravel near the foundation, why…...wouldn’t it be smart to use those under the planters.

But I, thinking I had one up one her, pulled out one of the big guns…......SKETCHUP….....

(later she noted, upon seeing my drawing with exact dimensions, in color, full plans….........’Oh, you even made a picture!’ Believe it or not, that is a word for word quote!)

So I made the plans…....I would really wow her…..:


So I took the wood, some pressure treated fir, I suspect, good wood for the project, gathered it all up and brought it in the shop. I brushed off all the dirt with a wire brush, noted it was a warp-gods delight, but decided with small pieces I could make it go.

Let’s be honest, there are no one hour projects of any complexity.

I even ripped that warped lumber to get some 2 inch pieces. I figure for two planter stands, it took me 3 1/2 hours. I spent another 1/2 hour painting them this morning with some old Olympic Oil Stain, water-proofing stuff at that. 4 hours total.

They are constructed from standard treated wood 3×1.5 inch stuff, Titebond III glue (waterproof), and BLO covered drywall screws. In our climate they will remain unchanged for 10 to 15 years at a minimum. Done this before, and that is a fact.


The Unpainted Stand:

The Planter on the Stand:

The Two Stands Painted and Drying:

Now you should know, she said over and over again, ‘Oh no, I don’t need them to be painted.’


OK, doesn’t that all seem wonderful, win-win situation, right…......?

Well, let’t think about it.

1. She has been trying to get me to clean up that old wood for a couple of years…...score one for Sherie, nah, that was a real sleeper, she gets 2 points for that.

2. She got me to make what she really wanted, we have been married for 26 years, and she knows exactly how I am going to rise to a challenge. Another point for Sherie.

3. I didn’t even complain, because, now I get another point for the value of my shop. One point for me.

But then, and this is the gospel truth….......

The planter stands are out there drying in the sun on the stone steps leading to her planting shed. And I come out to gloat, get a little praise, and the following transpires…....

We are standing there looking….......and she gives a little kick to another metal planter sitting there, and there are a bunch more around, puts her hand on her hip, with a little hip swivel turns to me, with a little giggle and says…..

‘Got any more wood?’

It’s a dance, just gotta enjoy the rhythm, and the music…....................(-:

Alaska Jim

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

28 comments so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 12:52 AM

Thanks for the view, truly was a simple straight forward project….....but there are a lot of planters out there needing stands….........(-:

......they are baking in the sunlight as we speak…....and Sherie is still out shopping….........(-:

Have a good summer….....


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 4401 days

#2 posted 06-07-2010 01:18 AM

This is a great post.

Let’s be honest, there are no one hour projects of any complexity ... – so true, so true!

Those planter stands are great! Love the design.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#3 posted 06-07-2010 01:27 AM

I always underestimate by at least double what it will take to do something. Even when I realize I underestimate!

I’ll never learn. But I keep trying.



-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1626 posts in 4641 days

#4 posted 06-07-2010 02:07 AM

Great story Jim, and several pearls of wisdom in there too! Hey! is this is this your first project?

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#5 posted 06-07-2010 02:17 AM

Thanks for the comment Tim. Nah, this is still a blog item. I have to do something fancy to make it a project.

Really liked your hand resawing item, pretty darn interesting.

Hope all is well, have a good one…...

Your buddy,


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View lew's profile


13353 posts in 4831 days

#6 posted 06-07-2010 02:46 AM


Sheri sounds like a real “keeper”. I believe you wouldn’t want it any other way, either.

Besides, by your own admission, she makes the best pizza in Alaska!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 06-07-2010 03:18 AM

Yup, Sherie is a keeper. And the best pizza in Alaska. I used that rolling pin to help her last Tuesday (pizza night), haven’t done that before. With my ‘heft’, it got even thinner, which is what we like. Best ever.

We just did a garden tour, as Sherie calls it, Kermit came along too. Flowers everywhere. Nice time in Alaska, temp is 60 deg. Sherie does an organic garden and lawn care, so we have all kinds of insects everywhere. A dragonfly landed on her as we were walking. Strange. No pesticides…..but we don’t have pests. The predator insects and birds take care of everything. We have a Chickadee family in a bird house on the planting shed. You can hear the little ones chirping. Of course, all kinds of birds come to Alaska to nest. But the Chickadees are our year round pals.

Thanks for the reading…......hope all is well…

Your buddy,


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Troy's profile


186 posts in 4139 days

#8 posted 06-07-2010 04:30 AM

You lost this one at “Could…” Well played though. Get it while you can, cause soon, she’ll want much more with much less foreplay (i.e. make me awesome stuff by tomorrow please.)

You got a good thing going… enjoy it.

-- Troy Bouffard || Master Sergeant, US Army (Retired) ||

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#9 posted 06-07-2010 04:41 AM

Thanks for the comments. Love that door by the way, the figure in the wood was fabulous.

It’s never a win, but it is still a success…........(-:
Yes, a never ending honey do list. But that’s life, and would we want it any other way?

Has finally reached 61 degrees here today, good for drying the finish on those stands. Suspect it is warmer up there.
Dragging my family from Fairbanks down here later in the summer, looking forward to seeing them all.

Got another project nearing completion, so should have another blog item later this week or next…........
Take care…......



-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4191 days

#10 posted 06-07-2010 09:43 AM

I think you both make a win-win
Sherie gets what she want and you get time in the mancave with what you want to do
even thow it´s still a gracefull wienervals there has to be performed with out audience
isn´t it what we all hope for when we met the girlthat the dance will last a lifetime
and not turn in to a thing were you just walk side by side

great story Jim tank´s for sharing
say hello to Sherie I do wish her the best luck with garden


View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4250 days

#11 posted 06-07-2010 01:36 PM

It’s always a toss-up, which is more enjoyable—your projects or the stories that accompany them.

I’ll have to think about it … again ;-)

It’s elegant in its simplicity. Enjoy the ‘maters !

-- -- Neil

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1092 posts in 4471 days

#12 posted 06-07-2010 01:38 PM

Congratulations on your wisdom in dealing with your partner.
Nice SketchUp model too. The finished items have a great resemblance to the model. ;-)
I giggled through your blog because it reminded me of my own experience.
Not that my Marge is coquettish, she has only to ask.
Then we have our own version of the dance.
“Sweetheart, is it time for us to re-prioritize the list? It’s too long for me to known where I am!”
Well, we usually get as far as the most important, most desired item.
Then when its finished, there’s usually another item that mysteriously appears at the top of the list ().
But we wouldn’t have it any other wy, would we?


-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4653 days

#13 posted 06-07-2010 05:34 PM

Always a good read Jim well done.


View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5375 days

#14 posted 06-07-2010 08:40 PM

Another great story to go along with a neat project.

Now a they need are casters, for easy moving.

Plus adding to the cost. LOL

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4240 days

#15 posted 06-08-2010 02:39 AM

Ah yes, we have been dancing for over 25 years. No fair comparing us to Dick and Barb, they’ve been dancing together forever.

Well, she is playing with a few more vegetables and herbs every year. Anchorage is kinda tricky. It just doesn’t get hot enough for a lot of crops. Strangely, you can go 40 miles north to Palmer, where my mother-in-law lives, and you can grow things just fine. And even in Fairbanks 350 miles north. I had a monster vegetable garden there. I assume you can relate to some of those issues in Aero.

Thanks for reading…...hope all is well.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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