Today on CluelessMe.com I am going to walk you through what happens when the Flores Family attempts to make this for the first time:
Why did my husband and I decide to take it upon ourselves to build a wooden box big enough to fit a table and some chairs in it? You see…Every fall, Jews all over the world celebrate a little known holiday called Sukkot (pronounced “sue coat”). I’ll quickly breeze through the religious lesson and jump right into the chaos you might expect from a day in the life of Nikki Flores in a few moments…
To give those of you who aren’t familiar with this somewhat elusive holiday, I’ll try my best to explain it. On this particular holiday, Jews have to literally construct temporary living quarters and proceed to live in them for a week (within reason). “Dwelling in the sukkah” usually boils down to inviting friends and family over for lunch or dinner. I know it sounds crazy, but we build these ‘tiki huts’ and live in them in an attempt re-enact what life was like for us when we wandered for 40 years in the desert during Biblical times.
Now that the brief history lesson is out of the way, I’ll proceed with the night’s events. Keep in mind, that we have never built one of these huts (sukkahs) before because prior to this year, we were living in rental property. And I’m pretty sure our neighbors wouldn’t have appreciated us building a hut on a shared driveway that blocked them from pulling their cars into the garage. But since we FINALLY have our own home, (and yes the house stories are coming,) we thought it was time to tackle a sukkah.
We started with a simple blue print (see below), and walked away with A LOT of general observations….
Observation #1: Building a sukkah is A LOT harder than it looks.
Googling “How to Build a Sukkah” and then scanning the above diagram for 10 minutes does NOT magically turn you into the Michelangelo of sukkah builders. Believe me, I know that now!
Observation #2: Don’t let your husband mix alcohol with power tools.
After peering at the above diagram for the prescribed 10 minutes, don’t simply believe your husband when he says: “Oh this will be easy!” while he pulls the trigger on a power tool in one hand and chugs a beer with the other. Trust me, he’s lying!
Observation #3: Brush up on your 1st grade math skills.
Simply put, 2 inches + 2 inches = 4 inches. Keeping this small fact in mind, attempting to attach two 2-inch boards together (that’s 4-inches thick, people) with a 1 & 5/8″ screw will not work. You can save yourself a lot of time if you figure this out before you screw in an entire wall just to have it fall apart as you lift it up. (Side note: I blame this minor setback on Observation #2.)
Observation #4: Preparation is key.
Let me tell you…Two people (both of which are somewhat vertically challenged) trying to build an 8-foot-tall structure should really take the time to invest in a ladder before starting to build. If you don’t believe me, make sure to read the next three observations.
Observation #5: Flipping over an 8-foot sukkah is not easy.
It is not a brilliant idea to make up for the lack of a ladder by deciding to build the sukkah upside down and then just flipping it over when you are done. Why? Because the sukkah will inevitably begin to fold in on itself during the flipping process…Especially if you neglected to add those support beams the diagram initially said was so essential.
Observation #6: Use proper support.
Make sure to buy all of the lumber illustrated in the aforementioned blue print before trying to assemble everything. For example, never say you don’t really need the diagonal supports and then start to panic when you realize that you really did need those supports. Not buying all of the lumber (in addition to not paying attention to observation #2) will lead you to make rash decisions like kicking the rungs out of your back porch deck and using those to keep your sukkah from toppling over. Which leads me to my next point…
Observation #7: When your husband is impaired, so is his balance.
This means it is not a good idea to substitute a sturdy ladder with a dining room chair. This also means that it’s not wise to have your husband balance on the back of said dining room chair, while simultaneously drilling in the newly discovered ‘support beams.’ Believe me when I tell you that he will fall. And not just once, but your intoxicated husband will definitely fall all six times that he attempts the acrobatic feat.
Observation #8: Build the sukkah on a flat surface.
Sure, my husband and I were finally able to get our sukkah to stand, albeit…It’s by no means straight, and I’m not entirely sure that it would stand up to the Big Bad Wolf should he decide to come huffing and puffing and try to blow the tiny crooked house in…But alas…It is what it is.
So without further ado, I introduce you to the Great Leaning Sukkah of Flores (Along with the drunken Jewish carpenter who assembled it a.k.a. my husband):
Like I said, around this time every year, Jews recreate life in the desert to commemorate the festival of Sukkot. And this year I learned that had the Flores clan been wandering in the desert, we would not have survived.
NOTE: Hopefully, adding the walls won’t be as hard. They are just tarps. That should be easy! Right?