Yup.  You read that right.  We now have a bar in our yard made out of an old grain bin. 

inspiration pic

That shouldn't surprise our friends and family.  I mean, it's not like we have anything else going on that takes our up our time and energy (wink, wink).  But this is how we roll.  And this project probably has more meaning than anything in our life so far.

Let's start at the very beginning.  A very good place to start.  (You can break in to your best Julie Andrews voice a la Sound of Music here.)

While lying in bed one winter night cruising Pinterest, I happened to come across the photo of a grain bin bar.  Like I have done ten thousand times before, I slanted my phone enough for Dale to see, expecting the customary "hmph" sound out of his mouth where Pinterest projects are concerned.  But instead, he took the phone out of my hand and stared.  And a long-enough stare that I could literally see the wheels turning.  With no pomp and circumstance, he handed my phone back to me and picked his up (I did receive the customary "hmph" though...phew).  We have been together long enough for me to know that I probably opened a large can of worms...expensive ones too.  I knew he was probably hitting up his craigslist app but didn't think much of it.

Until six weeks later when he mentioned, in passing, he was going to look at a grain bin he found for sale outside of Verona.  Um.  Okay.  Thought we might talk about this a little, but again, this is Dale and I am fascinated by the way his brain works so I just go along.  (I could write a book about all of these Dale-isms I am enamored with.)

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Fast forward three weeks.  We have now purchased the grain bin (again, mentioned on the sly) with plans to disassemble on a Saturday morning with the help of his dad, Al, his cousins with invaluable equipment and a few friends.  I did not tag along for this one, but I was here when they brought the pieces home.  How proud everyone was with the ease of disassembly.  But also the energy around this project, in hindsight but also at the time, was something different.  Something awesome. 

{I am going to interject a few things here about my father-in-law before I go too far with this story because it's my blog and I can. 

If you weren't lucky enough to know him personally, or by acquaintance, or even through the local papers, you know someone like him.  They are few and far between, but these angels on earth do exist.  He was accepting and compassionate and lovely.  Did my strong personality clash with his sometimes?  Yes. But only because we are passionate people and I feel our intentions were always good.  I sometimes think I may have gone too far in some of our conversations, but Al always accepted everyone, including me, just as they are...a truly amazing gift.}

On the morning of Al's surgery we were laughing and joking around.  One of the topics was the grain bin.  Al had a large part in numbering the pieces in the disassembly and desperately wanted to be part of the construction.  Dale and I laughed and said, "well, you better heal fast but of course we won't start until you're totally healed."  Of ALL the topics we could have touched on that morning (we were there for almost 2 hours before he was wheeled out), how interesting the grain bin was one of them.  That was a Monday morning in June.  Two days later we were saying our final goodbyes.

the grain bin complete

This project has been a labor of love since then.  Lots of sweat, many tears and just a little blood have been poured in to it.  We don't have a 'plan' for "the grain bin".  Maybe we will host some happy hours, a few neighborhood parties, hopefully some floral, photography and succulent workshops.  But, what we have learned is that not everything needs a plan.  If our main purpose is to bring family, friends, neighbors and our community together, that's enough.  And, if we can provide shelter, that was built with the love and respect only a son can have for his dad, well then I think that's perfect.  In the end, we have made a conscious decision that this is what this life is meant for.  Al would have wanted it that way.

I just know that he is just beaming with pride up there.  I hope when we are enjoying a Badger or Packer game (on the outdoor television that showed up on the porch today) with family and friends, he smiles on us with one of his famous rainbows.  All that really mattered to him was his beloved wife and kids, grandkids, family, friends and helping others.  So...eat, drink and be merry. 

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