GETTING the job done.
It's a phrase that pops up whenever there's a momentous challenge.
Like winning grand finals. Or stopping Ebola. Flying combat missions over the Middle East. Or doing the HSC.
(Best wishes, by the the way, to all those starting theirs this week.)
My job paled in comparison, but it's all relative in terms of ambition and ability.
I'm talking about assembling a flat pack pergola for a rampant passionfruit vine.
A subject worthy of a three-unit paper on something, surely.
Losing your screws I reckon. (Before tightening them of course.)
It all twisty tied back to a half-arsed job done last passionfruit vine season.
These vines are aptly named given the relationship we have with ours.
They can be a bit like sporting teams - storming through the regular rounds undefeated only to choke in the finals (go the Swans).
Ours sprang from nowhere and put on a leafy display first year in the comp. But come the decider, no fruit.
All flower no power.
Last year we made a few adjustments with nutrients, angle to the sun, animal sacrifice (slugs).
Lo and behold, a premiership season.
Fruit heavy on the vine. But heavier on the makeshift trellis slapped together from planks, fence posts and any other long "stuff" dragged from under the house to hold it up. All held together by chicken wire.
A DIY big top that screamed "dodgy but good".
And it got the job done until the cockatoos arrived that morning after weeks of anxious weeks watching the fruit ripen.
We woke to the sound of shot puts landing on the roof like we were ISIL under attack.
The freakin' cockies were dropping our precious cargo from height to get the juicy stuff inside.
They had beaks that can cut through anything their shrieks can't, so why bomb the house? To torment us, no doubt.
Bloody cockies. Talk about attitude.
Maybe they couldn't get their beaks around the smooth circular contours of the passionfruit.
Anything to cause them as much pain as we felt when we rushed outside to find 70 soldiers down.
Splattered to pieces.
Just when I thought we'd got the drop on the extortionate price they charge for passionfruit. Now I know why.
With that it was realised we needed a bigger boat. Or at least a bigger defence.
Enter "Operation Shroud".
Ronny Reagan had Star Wars.
We had a bird net draped over the trellis, and crossed fingers.
Alas, the cockatoos just poked their beaks through and continued to serrate.
Further adjustments were required.
The net had to be raised above the chicken wire to just the right height where the vine could grow but the cockies couldn't get access.
Not easy when you're reverse engineering on the run and know nothing about engineering, forward or reverse.
If you had your time again you'd adjust from the top down. But how often does that happen in a restructure?
Still, we scrambled in that bush mechanical way, and it seemed to work. A bountiful, if reduced, crop was enjoyed on cereal and pavlovas for several weeks.
In the off-season the vine was cut back as per passionfruit vine wisdom and plans made to build a proper structure that not only held up the vine, but also the bird net at just the right height.
Architectural boasts were made amid much YouTube research.
But building your own pergola in the two hours I allotted that Saturday morning required at least a builder, if not an architect, given the feedback I was getting.
Not only was the mission statement "something that worked" (ie, not necessarily incorporating chicken wire and white trash). It had to look good.
Up went the white flag.
I'm not a miracle worker. But the local hardware store is, so I went prefab.
Enter the flat pack.
Which should be renamed the "tetchy pack" given assembling them can be anything but flat, emotionally speaking.
Still it brought me and my loved one closer together. Working in tandem to achieve a common goal.
Swearing. Flustering. And fighting off cheeky neighbours who called out things like "do you guys know what you're doing".
And of course we didn't.
But we had that precious commodity that gets so many jobs done round the back yard.
And it sprang eternal.
Just like the freaking dust-coated semi-permanent Taj Mahal that eventually went up . . . six hours later.
It may stand for eternity. Or it may stand for sunburn and sore fingers.
But hopefully it stands the test of the bloody cockatoos this year and we get another bumper crop.
At 50¢ a passionfruit, we'll need a HSC ATAR of about 99.9 to work out how many we need to pay it off.
The job got done but I suspect it was on us.