Both of my parents immigrated here from Ireland almost 40 years ago. They didn’t have much growing
up but they made the most of it and came here for a better life. Growing up in a first-generation
household with 3 siblings, you needed to be resourceful because new things didn’t appear out of the
blue very often.
The Sandlot was one of my favorite movies as a child, kids spending all day together having fun doing
nothing was something I could relate to. I always thought that treehouse was the coolest spot, and I
wanted my own. Down to the workshop I went where I found a few pieces of scrap wood, some nails,
and a rusty hammer. On my way out the door I stopped by my room and got all my Taekwondo belts
which I haven’t used in years. I nailed 4 pieces of wood into the tree and part 1 was done. Next I climbed
as high as I could then tied the belts together to the tree, so it was a long rope. There was a nice branch
at the top where you could sit down but you did need to be careful while up there. Down the tree I went
and there it was, not quite a tree house but it was my tree house. That was over 15 years ago. If you
look at the tree now the wood that I nailed in is almost all rotted out, but the nails are still holding it in
place. The belt disintegrated over the years except for where it was tied off on the top branch. I
definitely wouldn't recommend anyone letting an 8 year old make their own tree ladder and tree rope,
but kids will be kids.
While in college one night my friend got a little too saucy and thought it would be funny to run through
his bedroom door. He actually knocked the frame out of the wall and made a huge hole in the door. It
was really funny at the time, but it wasn’t funny once we realized our landlord was checking in on the
house in a few days. None of us had a clue how to install a door and we didn’t have money to hire a
carpenter so we Youtube’d how to install one. We built our own door frame, bought a new door,
installed the hinges and painted it to match the old one. Safe to say it wasn’t a cheap fix but our landlord
never found out. (A door is pretty boring, the little walkway in my backyard is doper)
2 years ago when we first had to quarantine, I was so bored and since I couldn’t socialize I decided I
needed to do something with my off time or I would go crazy My girlfriend's mom was talking about
putting a little bar in her backyard since they spend so much time out there. I didn’t give her much
details, I just told her to hold off on purchasing the bar. I researched for days what I wanted to build,
then I found it - a Tiki Bar! I went down to my dad’s workshop found as many 2x4’s, screws, whatever I
could find to start. I did have to buy some material, but for the most part I used up whatever scrap we
had around the house. In order to build it at my house and transport it I needed to be crafty with making
it in sections. That’s what I did, making the side panels in two pieces, the cross brace & bar top in one
piece, and the roof in another. With the help of the lovely Bill Eager, I was able to transport it to the in-
laws house while they were away for the day. Massive brownie points were earned that day, and 2 years
of New York seasoning the bar is good as new. Looking back at it I can see plenty of places for
improvement, but the owners love it and that’s all I care about.
Last one I promise. Soooooo.... obviously I built that Tiki-Bar at my parents’ house for pretty much an
entire summer and my mom got a little jealous. I offered to build her one but she said why would we
need 2 bars on the deck, I said good point haha. Trying to think of ideas, I decided why not build her a
little home for her 4 legged son. There I started making Mr. Seamus his dog house. This was by far my
favorite building project. Not the most challenging or impressive build, but I know my mom appreciated
the hard work and thought. To this day Seamus won’t even go near the house, he is terrified to go in it!
But that’s ok, his nameplate is never coming off unless you pry it off. I put tons of glue and way too
many nails in it to make sure of that.
That is what I was Born to Do.
Eddie Fanning, Projects Coordinator