I've been involved in a form of urban barn raising over the past 10 days. Our friends Chris & Laura are remodeling their kitchen and Cathy & I offered to lend a hand. Granted, the urban family's nearest equivalent of a barn is probaby the garage, so the analogy breaks down quickly, but the spirit is the same.
A barn raising is usually done in one day, but this is taking much longer. Our friends Steve and Yvonne VanZwienen were first to introduced me to the notion of an Amish Barn Raising, where a community comes togther to help construct a barn for a member of that community (photos). This is similar, and it builds stronger relationships.
Chris & Laura are close to our age and we enjoy our excursions as couples. Helping them build their kitchen is a great way to deepen our relationship in a practical and helpful way. I found that I worked very well with Gordon, Chris' father, and the time passed quickly.
The first Saturday (the 7th) we tore out all the existing cabinates and got rid of them. Over the course of the week they assembled the new cabinates for installation, and we got back together this past weekend to do the installation. On Saturday we hung all the top cabinates and started the bottom, and on Sunday we did more base cabinates, assembled the bar and stopped for some tile work. Last night we attached the bar to the base cabinates. Laura did an impressive job with the tile, too. Cathy & I are looking forward to the tile work on the kitchen backsplash and seeing the finished product!
If I ever have a "kitchen raising" or anything similar, I think I will name components as a memorial to people, like the "Chris & Laura drawer" or something. That would be cute, and remind me of the good times and the love people invest in our lives. Well, I'll think of something, perhaps less tacky.