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The Importance of Plumb and Square – Charlaine Martin


We are on the home stretch finishing our house. The door handles are on the doors, the lights hung, and walls painted inside and out. It seems as if we are done, but whoa! No garage doors until mid-to-late January. Bummer! But then, my Boaz surprised me on Christmas Day with a present: the hardware for our garage doors. We get them TODAY! Awesome! Without them, the building inspector won’t let us move in before those are installed. Next, we are finishing up the hangar door insulation and metal covering. Now for the sod. Everything is finally lining up. It’s been quite an ordeal, as you will soon discover.

Setting Plumb

We’ve had to press contractors to re-do work that wasn’t right—not even close. It seems that the Villages snagged the good contractors because they are building yet another whole community. What we’ve noticed of those working on our house, several didn’t make the cut, much to our dismay. My Boaz has been “putting out fires” due to their lack of knowledge and experience. So many of our walls, especially in the kitchen, aren’t plumb, that is, not absolutely straight on the vertical plane. This lack of plumbness stood out when the cabinet installers put in our kitchen cabinets. They’ve dealt with this issue so much they do their best to work with the quirkiness, so the kitchen looks good. All our cabinets line up correctly. Even the best cabinet installer couldn’t work with bad walls if they were worse. He made these walls that were a bit off-plumb look straight and true. It takes a gracious artist to perform that kind of “magic.” The plumbness of a wall is so very important.

None of these walls are quite plumb, but the cabinet installer did a great job working with the imperfections.

My Boaz transitioned from making corrections to preventing problems before they could begin. In the meantime, we’ve been living in our camper. It’s not a luxurious RV, just a tiny Trailmanor pop-up we bought used. Tiny space, cramped living. Maybe I should call it cramping. There has to be some humor in our situation somewhere! But, at least we can be here to deal with all of these issues, so our home is built correctly. Thank you, Lord, for our camper.

Cramping.
Our tiny Trailmanor camper. Our “cramping” lifestyle.

God Provides

Boaz goes to the building site every morning to see what’s going on or set up a project to prevent a problem. He’s even gone so far as to take on some projects they insisted they couldn’t—or wouldn’t– do. He’s picked up building materials for the project when they supposedly couldn’t get them. Our shower and tub surrounds are prime examples. We drove two hours one way to pick up the right ones my hubby found. Yet they could not. We even picked up and installed concrete stoops they supposedly couldn’t find. So my Boaz went to work. The first place where he found them, the company wanted $1k each! OUCH! We would still have to pick them up and install them ourselves. It was a very nice, professional-looking business, but the cost to get two of them made us almost pass out. After checking around further, he found another place about 2 hours away. They had them for $125 each, but we needed to put two of them together for one stoop because they didn’t have any of the correct depth we needed.

Hoisting the steps into place.

Two of them equaled one stoop the correct size. $250 versus $1k. Cha-ching! This place was a small one-owner shop that didn’t look like much. The owner hopped onto his forklift, chained the single step to it, lifting it as it swung around. We held our breath, fearing the step would either fall and smash or hit something like our truck. Instead, he skillfully placed it on our trailer without any issues as it swung and turned. Then he picked up a stack on a skid and put it on our trailer. Easy peasy. We drove off in our pickup, towing our prizes back to the house while praising God!

Not quite square leaves a nuisance gap.

When it was time to put them in, I worried the work would be too much for us. Hubby has a hoist—back in Michigan. He picked up a cheap one nearby the day before, but he needed strong straps. So he decided to go to a local ACE Hardware three minutes before they closed in the evening. He thought we wouldn’t make it. Our rush became forced to a snail’s pace because we hit the last three red lights. We were already running a day behind installing and finishing our hangar door. The occupancy permit also hinged on installing the steps and hangar door, by the way. He rushed to the store as an older man who worked there was getting ready to lock the door. The elderly gentleman kindly allowed my Boaz to purchase the tow straps we needed to wrap around the steps and lift with the hoist he bought the day before. As the man gave him the receipt and walked him to the door to lock up, he said, “Have a blessed day.” Interesting. He wasn’t disgruntled that he couldn’t dash out the door a minute or two early. We chimed in, “Thank you, Lord!” and drove back to the house.

So, What?

I bet you are wondering about the Square part. Well, we used the hoist and newly purchased straps to pick up and move the steps into place. It certainly took a lot of effort, but the equipment made it possible for the two of us to accomplish. We lifted one, moved the trailer out of the way, and lowered it close to where we wanted it. Once it was on the ground, we had to push it across the garage floor into the corner in front of the house door. I knew I should have practiced weight-plate pushes around the jogging track at the gym! Whew! We got the first one in place. Then we used the same process to put the second one in place. It wouldn’t line up right in front of the first one. It took two single steps to make the stoop since the door swung into the garage. We tried adjusting, measuring, and on, and on. Then my Boaz grimaced, “It’s not square!!! The wall isn’t square.” I groaned. Something as simple as making sure corners are 90 degrees square made it 3/8 of an inch off. That might not sound like much until you drop something important between the step and the wall or have wobbly steps. It could have been something critical like the platform for our water heater and heat pump that was cattywampus! That one had to be torn out and rebuilt. The stoop we can live with, but it will drive us a bit nuts for a while.

Catawampus
This heating, air conditioning, and water heater platform was precariously catawampus!

Making the Spiritual Connection

When I said my marriage vows for better or worse, I told my husband that I didn’t envision the grueling task of strapping and hoisting concrete steps and then pushing them into place with him. While working on our house in Michigan, I didn’t envision holding steel stairs overhead—with fibromyalgia– while he screwed them into place with our first house either. I won’t miss that spiral staircase. NOPE. But I will remember those concrete stoops every time I get out of my car in the garage to take groceries into the house. We’ve built two homes and are still married! Even when “cramping” while building our second home, having a Christ-centered marriage is a blessing from God.

Another spiritual connection, God has done so much for us with our Florida house. First, He provided the steps and shower, and tub surrounds we needed at prices that wouldn’t make us go broke. Next, he kept a hoist the correct size at Harbor Freight. Only one, a popular size at that! Then He provided a patient hardware store employee who was willing to let my husband get the heavy gauge straps he needed at closing time. Not only that, but the man blessed our day. God provided what we needed to get the job done with His blessing!

But the other part I’d like to share has to do with Square and Plumb, which are essential building terms. If you read 1 Peter 2:1-8, Jesus is the Cornerstone, the very crucial marker for our faith and life. A cornerstone on older buildings helped set the building both square and plumb. The master-builder would sight everything off the cornerstone to keep all walls square and plumb. Today we use squares, levels, and plumb bobs on homes, but tall office buildings still use cornerstones. As a result, all the walls will be perfectly straight on the vertical plane and the correct angles on the horizontal plane in relationship to that stone. What if there was no cornerstone? The building would be a catawampus mess. Without Jesus, our lives are a catawampus mess.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, He is your Cornerstone to help you live square and plumb with God’s Word. He wants us to live in a way that draws us into a closer relationship with Him, by which He blesses us. Sometimes we sin and cause a bit of quirkiness, and even messes, in our lives. We end up slightly off-plumb or not quite square. When we repent because the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, He shows us what we need to correct. Some errors are righted while others leave a less than plumb wall or perfectly square corner in life, like our kitchen walls or the stoop in the garage. We aren’t quite as right and true as we should be. Overall, because of Jesus, we will not be put to shame. Although we have some quirks and odd spots in our lives, Jesus justifies us before God, our Father. However, be careful what you build upon your foundation set by Jesus, the Cornerstone. Some of what we’ve built upon it will be burned away like chaff at the judgment. What is left, which was square and plumb, will be pure before God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

People without Christ stumble and struggle because they aren’t square and plumb without the Cornerstone. People reject Jesus because, although His ways are true, they want only what pleases them. There is no solid, proper foundation. At the judgment, they won’t be made plumb and square, that is, they will be imperfect and unfit for living eternally in God’s presence. What a shame, too. God loves all of us so much that He sent Jesus to make us right and true. I pray that’s not you. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, would you accept Him as your Savior and Lord? You can pray to accept Jesus right now. Then, let us know about your decision so that we can celebrate with you!

If you know Jesus but struggle with sin issues that knock you off plumb and square with His Word, would you ask Him to help you make the corrections you need in your life? Do the quirky, imperfect results cause you problems? If so, you can pray right now to ask Jesus into your heart to help you set everything straight in your life. Then, feel free to contact us so we can pray with you and for you.

Have a blessed and joyous New Year!

Used with permission from Charlaine Martin.

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