True Story©… A (Tree) House of Cards


  I’m a bit of what’s called an autodidact.  If you don’t know what that is, it means that I am a self-taught person.  I have my hands in a lot of things that I am quite good at; lawn care, basic car maintenance, minor household repairs – handyman shit – as well as building things and of course writing.  If it can be done with basic hand tools, I am him.  If it requires more than that, I can probably figure it out.

One could say it is because I am too cheap to pay someone for some shit I can do myself, unless of course it is for convenience or I don’t have time.

Y’all remember when I built my fire pit?  No blueprint, no drawings, just natural ability and a little bit of time.
What about now?  [link]
On the heels of that I of course showed it off here and OF COURSE on various social media in the 15ish months since, especially over the last 3-4ish months when I have had more weather-permitting time to light it up.  What I have not told you, though, is that I have been tasked with building a pit for damn near any comers, so long as the 3x the cost of supplies is right.

[Phlip note: supplies + labor + profit…  BUSINESS!]

On/around the completion of pit #3, I was asked if I knew how to build other things.  This began happening around the same time that law enforcement started sniffing around my shit which led to me meeting Detective Woodcock.
This isn’t a Woodpenis story (yet).

One Saturday afternoon, I received a call…

Me: “Now you know I prefer a text.”

(unnamed) Caller: “I know, but this is more than a text would conveniently contain.” 

Me: “Oh?  Shoot”

(unnamed) Caller: “You did my firepit back in the summer.” 

Me: “Sure did, everything good?”

(unnamed) Caller: “Perfect, actually.” 

Me: “So what’s up?”

(unnamed) Caller: “My neighbor asked–...” 

Me: “You know my answer is always ‘yes’ when money is involved.”

(unnamed) Caller: “I gathered, but this isn’t a firepit.” 

Me: “Continue.”

(unnamed) Caller: “My neighbor has three kids and–...” 


(unnamed) Caller: “Tell me about it…  Anyway, their kids have been bugging them for a treehouse and I cannot think of a single thing you have ever tried and failed at.” 

Me: “You were at my first wedding.”

(unnamed) Caller: “Noted, I stand corrected.” 

Me: “Thank you.  So your neighbor thought of a smallish-construction project and you thought of me?  I’m flattered.”

(unnamed) Caller: “You’re good at this ‘life’ thing.” 

Me: “I PLAY good at this life thing, therapy and a great Wife Person™ help me wade through the mess of it.”

(unnamed) Caller: “So whaddya think?” 

Me: “Never tried it before, but anything is possible, I will be by in about an hour and a half to look.”

(unnamed) Caller: “Cool, see you then.” 

I changed my clothes into some “get dirty” stuff like I might wear to cut a yard just in case I might, y’know, get dirty or something, grabbed my Lowe’s card just in case and headed on over to my friend’s house who then introduced me to the neighbor.
I was taken to the back yard and given what was being requested of me.  I explained that I would have to make the floor in two pieces to be joined in a hole in the middle around the trunk of the tree.  The house would be mounted at a non-dangerous-but-still-fun height of about 3.5-4ish feet off of the ground with steps up from the ground.  Once we hashed out the size of the tree house, I sat and gamed out how to securely mount it to the tree and arrived that I would use 2x4s with ends cut at 45-degree angles to provide a triangular base to be mounted to the tree and the floor beams which would then be covered with decking boards for a sturdy floor.  Two-thick plywood would make up the walls with a rudimentary window sandwiched into the front side and a small deck on the right-hand side, facing the house so they could see their kids coming and going.

The question of cost came up and I suggested we head over to Lowe’s with my notes to price out supplies, and again advising that the cost to me would be twice whatever supplies cost.  Before heading over, I whipped out my trusty tape measure and measured the trunk of the tree, so Lowes could cut that half-hole in the center of the floor since all of that is included when you buy lumber there.
Once we left the store, I was tasked with doing the work on the next-coming Saturday and everything would be ready for me on arrival.  We agreed that I would run a heavy-duty extension cord down the back of a fence to best hide it to a surge protector on the rear wall.

One week later, I came back straight from the barber shop and everything was cut and ready to my written and hastily-drawn specifications.  I mounted the deck boards to the floor beams and used a sawhorse to hold each side of the floor up to measure where to mount the legs to the tree trunk, then lifted both sides into place to join both sides of the floor together and secure them to the tree trunk.  It was sturdy enough for me to stand and walk on with my (then) 225-pound mass.
The rest of construction was simple, using my level and drilling everything together, then sanding off any rough patches in the wood to prevent splinters.

[Phlip note: one might SWEAR I’d done this shit before, right?]

I took a break to check on the inhabitants of my house and eat something.  While home, I grabbed the burner phone I use to forward calls to my preferred-carry phone when I am doing Moe Phillips shit.  When wiring the power from the big house to the treehouse, I added a splitter and hid that burner under the floor.  Now, when the cops are trying to trace the international criminal that my friend and her unwitting neighbor knew nothing of, they will come to HER house and nowhere near mine.  The phone should be well-enough hidden with the wire tucking that it might cause an inconvenience, but overall victimless crime.

Two days of work and some considerable cleanup later, I collected the remainder of my fee from a satisfied customer.  Hell, I had only used my drills, a tape measure, ladder and level.  It is clear I chose the wrong profession.

I’m told the kids LOVE their space and have decorated the inside with their favorite characters and everything stayed sturdily together despite this 10-foot room apparently becoming the cool kids’ neighborhood hangout, right.
I have done my good deed, made a little money on the way and perhaps alleviated myself of some problems along the way.  I have paid forward the karmic dues to allow me to dabble in some supervillainy and no one will come looking at me with my geniusly-planted diversion, right?



Not THREE weeks into my then-renewed supervillainy, do I get a call from my friend about her neighbor…

Me: “What's the matter, something wrong with the treehouse?  I can come through on Saturday and–...”

Friend: “No, nothing at all.  In fact she is fuckin stoked that her kids WANT to play outside more.” 

Me: “That’s always a good thing.”

Friend: “But the cops…  They have been here at least twice a week since they’ve had it.” 

Me: “Noise complaints?”

Friend: “No, they’re adamant that someone is scamming people from a phone that they have geolocated to the address.” 

Me: “That’s wild.”

Friend: “Very…  This neighborhood is super quiet, that is why I pounced on this house next to her when we did.” 

Me: “So did they, like, find anything or anyone?”

Friend: “No.” 

Me: “Thank GOD!”

Friend: “Wait–...  What?  You don’t have anything to do with this, do you?” 

Me: “Seriously?  You just called me on the only number I have, and you know what all of my cars look like.”

Friend: “True.” 

I really do need to learn to shut the fuck up when I have pulled off a mostly-victimless crime.
Ehh well, it has been a couple of months since I built that treehouse and several weeks since that phonecall…  I have not received a call about a conversation had with a detective with a hilarious name about some motherfucker named Moe, so I kinda sat and waited for the Walls of Jericho to come tumbling down this whole time.
Lucky for me, Woodpenis seems to be headed to new employment here in the new year.

    Still, I am cautiously worried that this ain't over yet.


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