A new surprise in the neighborhood

Folks, my wife is a planner. She is always looking ahead, next week, next month, next year, and farther out.  (It’s a damn good thing, I am lucky to plan ahead enough to see if my mom wants to feed the Manchild and I on any given Tuesday!)

Given this, and the fact that this is a year of milestone birthday for her, she has a list of things that she wants to get done in the year leading up to and after the birthday.  Some are easy: riding the big ferris wheel in Seattle was done New Years day this year.






Others, like the one that was fulfilled yesterday took a LOT more work…

One of the things she and I discovered in our reading and surfing of the interwebs last year, were people setting up small, personal lending libraries in the neighborhoods.  I have seen them made out of old phone booths, hung on trees and attached to fence posts.  Inside are books gathered by the owner, and free for people to borrow.

Michelle, wanted one in our front yard, and I thought it was the coolest idea! However, there was a problem.  One of my skills is NOT carpentry!  I flat out suck.  One of the reasons I didn’t get a 4 point in Junior High is I kept taking shop classes.  I enjoyed them, and I had fun working with the tools (I can use ANY power tool) but nothing I built turned out.  Really not sure HOW I passed….

So me building it was out of the question.  However, just like that song “Friends in low places…” I can’t do it, but I knew someone who could!

My stepdad Doug can build ANYTHING! As a present for his dad, he built him a hydraulic, heavy duty, log splitter.  One big enough and strong enough, that it has to be towed behind a truck.  Yep in my family we are lucky to have that guy!

So early this year, while he was recovering from shoulder surgery, I threw this idea at him, and told him if he thought it would be fun to build, I would pay him back for the material.  He loved the idea!  I left the entire design up to him.

When Manchild and I would eat down there, he’d show us the progress.  I made a point not to take any early on pictures, though, as I wanted Michelle to be surprised.

Well, three weeks ago, I got the call it was done!  Luckily it JUST fit in my station wagon, and I was able to get it up here.  Michelle loved it, it was just what she wanted.  Now though it was time to get it set up.

The trouble was, the next two weekends were jammed packed.  I had NO time to set it up at all. plus that mother is HEAVY, I would need help to get it mounted on the post!

This week, though I was on the ball!  Wednesday I called 811 and got the locaters out to make sure I didn’t flood the house or blow it up by digging into water or gas pipes.  That was done Friday.

Yesterday, we picked the spot, and got the post set up, then the Manchild, Michelle and I got the library on top of it!  We put some books in it, but needed more!  Today, Michelle and I made a run to Goodwill and stocked up.  Early this afternoon, anyone in the neighborhood going by out house saw this:


We’ve got kid books, adults, young readers and adventure books, a little bit for everyone!  Now I know, some books may not come home, and thats ok.  If people read them and lend them out, or kids enjoy them, I am good! We will just replace them

When I got home from dropping off the Manchild Michelle came jumping up to me all excited!  “We had our first customers!!”  Yep, people have already borrowed some of the books.  So far mostly kids.  But its a start!

We’ll keep an eye on it, and change whats inside if need be.  If it turns out it needs to be an all kids book deal, then so be it.  It’s an easy way to give back to the neighborhood.  Well easy, since my stepdad built it!  (By the way the man refused any reimbursement for the supplies!)

My bride has a huge heart, and she loves to give.  This is yet another way for her to do so, and even better it was a family endeavor.  Mom encouraging me to ask Doug to make it, Doug making it and putting in it all the care and love, Manchild and I putting it up, and Michelle starting it all with an idea, making the sign, choosing the books and making a dream real.

My mom put it best, “How nice that must be to find a library in your neighborhood! I bet you really made somebody’s day brighter!!”

Michelle does that for me everyday, now she is doing it for others!  Love you babe!

10 thoughts on “A new surprise in the neighborhood

  1. Sweet! I love the little free libraries that have popped up all over Seattle! I once saw a “library” (I believe it was in the Montlake neighborhood) where you could take a free poem. — what a great way to brighten someone’s day! I also like the idea of leaving a little notepad and writing utensil in the box so that “customers,” as you call them, can leave a note or drawing. 🙂

  2. One more thing….you need a name for your Little Free Library and a better sign (you can put it on the side, if need be). The sign should have your explanation of sharing and blessing the neighborhood and any info such as whether you want people to bring books which they want to share, to help stock the Little Free Library. It’s a great way to promote community! You now get a Good Neighbor award from me!

    1. We are awaiting an official sign from the little free library people,should be here soon, and Yep I will get it attached, already have had a donation and lotsa people stopping by. Not bad for someone (me) who prefers to be a hermit.

      But Michelle loves it so I will make it work 🙂

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