Hi, my name is Mike.
About 5 years ago I decided to build my wife and Myself a new home by myself, after all, how hard could it be?
I've been building tree houses and forts since I was a child. The first thing I constructed was an underground cavern at the age of 6. This consisted of a hole in the ground with a piece of plywood covering it. My family moved into a new subdivision when I was about 7. My parents house was probably one of the first ten houses out of 200 lots. I spent so much time watching the construction crews build house after house after house, that the workers started calling me Sideburns and let me have all the nails I could pick up from the ground and all the scraps of wood I could carry away. Christmas meant hammers and tape measures. I began to enlist friends in the pursuit of building bigger and bigger things.
We built a Tree House in a neighbors back yard, and one summer night we slept out and awoke at 3 am to dig a trench from the base of the tree and buried a wire to the edge of the house. The next day we ran the wire into the garage, and I wired it into the breaker box. I think I was twelve. We had lights for six months before my friends parents discovered what we had done.
Most parents would have had a fit and removed the wire, but just by chance my father was working on developing the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. My Dad's a neat guy! He wired a prototype GFI to the circuit and we got to keep our lights. Our tree house probably was one of the first test structures in the United States, outside of a Lab. A bit of Irony is that I have been knocked unconscious from lightning and been electrocuted by a 220 and a 440 volt line. I didn't die obviously but my arm was pretty much useless for thirty minutes each time.
When I was in Junior High I took a course called architecture, and was very disappointed to find it was basically a drafting class, and had little to do with building. I made a comment, perhaps a little too loud, that a class called architecture should actually be about houses, not drawing outlines of helicopters in different scales.
My Teacher had very good hearing! He tossed a book in my general direction on architecture, and suggested that if I was so knowledgeable, perhaps I should design a house as a homework assignment.
So I did. Over the weekend.
My Teacher, released me from the regular class, and let me work all semester on my blueprints. The next semester I was again excused from the regular class to continue my blueprints and I built a scale model of the house. He didn't let me use glue. It's all nailed together with brads.
The following year I am told they started an actual Architecture program. I remember one of my brothers coming home embarrassed because my former teacher had mentioned to the class that his older brother had started this course. If this was the only thing I ever did to embarrass him, then he's lucky!
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