Projects To Decompress

Benjamin Haas |

I like projects. For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed building things, figuring out how to make things work and feeling productive. I take on projects for several different reasons; to make things easier (like building a cart to get the trash cans up and down the longer driveway), to make things we need that I don’t want to pay for (like the garden box and the sandbox), and to keep me and my mind occupied – to decompress.

Yes, projects have actually become a way for me to release stress these last couple years. I remember going through a bit of a rough spot in the summer of 2019, around the same time I had really gotten into the craze of BBQ and smoking meat. So, I decided I’d build my own smoker out of a 55-gallon drum and an old barrel. I read up on it, made the plans, and taught myself how to contact weld. That project gave me the space and time to get through some tough days.

My new garage at the house in many ways helped me through the pandemic. Having that space allowed me to make our dining room table and benches, build a woodworking table, and create shelves to free up more floor space. My dad helped me put up a deck at the back of the property as a place for the woodshed to sit. These projects and my garage became my little sanctuary when the world felt crazy and hard these last two years. It still is my sanctuary.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve finally wrapped up my most recent project, the pergola. Start to finish, it was close to 15 months for me to make the plans, dig the holes, build the structure, then add the decking and sides. Why so long? Motivation came and went. But as the summer quickly became the Fall, I found myself feeling the same funk that I think many others are currently feeling. Life still feels a bit heavy; work can be stressful and emotionally draining and being involved in so much myself and with the kid’s schedules usually means very limited time to decompress. The projects, and the pergola in particular, created that space to decompress all while feeling productive. It’s not exactly what I envisioned, but new ideas came as I progressed along. Desiree called it “unique” – which I’m trying to take as a compliment J.

With the colder weather, I’m already looking forward to Spring, where we can create more opportunities to grille some good food and smoke some pulled pork. Afterall, now that the project is complete, decompression should come from entertaining some great friends around the pergola and not another project! A couple stools and some mulch/ landscaping will be the finishing touches.

By: Benjamin Haas

Tracking # T004736