The Master Builder...

zzzzzzzzzzzz... And no I'm not sleeping. It's just that in the process of building a deck out the back of my house, I drove over two and half thousand fourteen gauge Zenith screws into mixed Australian hardwood with an AEG impact driver. So in short I can't get that little z out of my head and while it’s left quite the impression on me, it's not the only thing that has stayed with me from the experience.

AEG (1 of 1).jpg

Let me explain, the first day on the job, as I unpacked the wood my neighbour reversed out of his garage and stopped to say hello. He commented that he wanted to see some progress. It was a fair call the timber had been sitting around for over a month. And so as he drove off, I got into the work. I went hard. I put one board down...

I took that one board off, I fiddled around with the joist, I put the same board back on. Seven hours later I'd done one board and with the words of my neighbour ringing in my ears. The general feeling was defeat. The end wasn't even in sight.

Later that evening I informed my wife that we wouldn't have a deck anytime soon. She looked at me unimpressed, and I knew what she wanted. I didn't want to do it, but I knew I had to walk next door and ask for help. You see my neighbour is a master builder. I didn't want to hassle him though. You don't want to be the guy that is always bothering your neighbour because he's a builder and you're doing a renovation.

But I stepped over the garden bed, over the driveway and knocked on the door. "Neighbour I need help, I don't know if you've seen..."

He had seen and replied, "Well, I'm eating dinner right now, but I'll be over tomorrow after flying, and we'll get it done."

The next day flying was taking longer than expected, so I'd had another full day by myself, and only one other board was down. The deck was going nowhere. My neighbour wasn't present, and I felt defeated again.

And as all hope was being lost, with the last light of the day he came around the corner. Toolbelt on and string line in hand. In the blink of an eye, the border was done. The set-out was complete, I had a plan and some confidence. And yes, it was that fast.

I chatted to my neighbour's wife later that week while she looked after her granddaughter in the back yard. "You must be sick of all the noise?" I quizzed, but she obviously didn't hear what I'd said or had something more important to say as my line was discarded. She told me, her husband had been buzzing from helping out, "He's really enjoyed himself."

I still needed to get some help off my neighbour and paid him to help me finish some of the jobs off over the next couple of weeks, but he was already invested in and keeping an eye on it from next door.

And while this could all be about the value of being a good neighbour and it is. The two things that have stayed with me from this experience are that...

If you are a me. New to something. Out of your depth. Unsure. Lacking confidence. Then ask for help.


If you are in the position of the neighbour. Respond to the request. Get the buzz. When you share your experience and expertise with someone in need, you get the joy that is being offered.

And all of that to say this the most important thing I did while building the deck was to ask for help because as you now know, two days on my own wasn't worth two hours with the master builder.

If you're feeling stretched.

Ask The Master Builder for help, I’ve heard he has over two thousand years experience with this kind of stuff.

Joshua Goss