Finished wooden bench

Wood Anniversary Gift

Back in 2011, my wife and I celebrated our marriage by spending a week at an all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. While loaded up on free tequila and lofty dreams, we vowed to come back five years later to celebrate our anniversary.

This past weekend was our fifth anniversary.

We went to Menards.

See, last year, after the birth of our baby, my wife developed a phobia about us traveling together, outside of the country, without our child. In the rare event that we’re taken out by a murder-crazed drug cartel or a group of sinister Russian terrorists, she wants our daughter to be old enough to “remember our faces.” By her rules, only one of us can be out of the country at a time prior to the little one turning five.

Fair enough.

So what’s better than bottomless margaritas, gourmet cuisine and miles of sandy beaches? A nice stone bench for the yard.

Well, that was the first thought, anyway. We had talked for months about adding a beautifully crafted stone bench to our backyard. When it came down to sourcing the bench, though, we ran into a few issues. 1) they’re pricey. 2) they’re hard to shop for. 3) they’re heavy as all get-out.

Then she realized that the fifth anniversary is the wood anniversary. Plan change 2: Wooden bench.

Woodworking. New tools. Works for me!

She scoured Pinterest and found some styles that she liked. We decided that we are super trendy and would buy some reclaimed wood. Menards had a good stock of used railroad ties. Score!

I made some plans, we loaded up the Traverse, bought all of the drill bits and chisels that I thought I’d need, and grabbed the best of the really dirty, disgusting, heavy, stinky railroad ties that Menards had to offer. I had buyer’s remorse before I even passed the lumber yard “guard” on the way out of the lot.

Used Railroad Ties from Menards

We got home, I pulled the heavy logs out of the truck. Put one onto the workbench, and realized that there was no way this was going to a) work or b) look good in our yard.

So, I loaded the railroad ties back up, returned them to Menards, went to Home Depot, purchased a couple of landscaping 6x6s, and felt much better about my decision.

You’re now probably to the point where you’re like, “get on with the story, Fuzz,” so here’s the less interesting part of the story in a few short words: I built a bench, it is sturdy enough to withstand a bomb blast or a bout of extreme weight gain (on my part, of course), it fits the decor of our yard, I got some new tools out of it, and Shanna loves it. So, win for both of us. Here are some photos: