Thursday, September 24, 2009

Don't Fence Me In

Hal’s done a little work on our fence. I say “little” tongue in cheek because, to date, it’s been approximately 200 man hours. (That’s about 50 woman hours, if you’re translating.) Actually, it would have taken me about one hour, because I would have started tearing down the old fence, burst into tears, called my husband, and he would have done the rest. Oh, wait, that’s almost exactly what happened.
We (that’s the Royal “We”) decided on vinyl fencing because it looks better, has a no-sliver factor, and lasts forever. Did I mention it looks better? My house is not an oil painting, to quote Rushdie, so anything I change about the outside has to add to the charm. Okay, so the best way to add to the charm would be to pick up and move to a house with style, but since I’ve put my whole heart into the garden at this house, and since I have the kitchen of my dreams, they’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers off the door frame before I agree to move. So, to help the outside, my husband has spent every coherent moment, and some non-coherent ones, working on the fence.
It should be done before my kids graduate.
Apparently, “tear out the old and put in the new” doesn’t quite cover all the steps involved. First of all, he had to dig out all the cement posts from the original fence because the cedar was rotted, could not be reused, and the new post holes overlap the old ones. Which means, of course, that he had to dig out approximately 50 cement slabs, each about 2 feet deep and with a 2-3 foot circumference. You should see the size of his biceps now! Next, he had to dig the holes for the new fence. In some places, this would be easy. But, we moved from Gumbo Ground Houston to Clay and Rock New Home, and so each hole took about 2 hours to dig. Yes, that’s with a machine. No, he does not take smoke breaks. He did occasionally take a Gatorade break, but only when driven to it by the scorching heat.
Then, he mixed the cement. But because it’s quick-drying cement, it has to be done one post at a time. That means moving the 80 lb bag of cement from the garage to the wheelbarrow, adding water, mixing with a hoe, and shoveling it around the post while it’s being held by a helpful friend or neighbor. Note: your wife will not help you with this part because she just gave birth and feels that that excludes her from all other chores. Yesterday, the job of digging holes was done in the Fall Sleet, which added to the joy of the experience. The back yard is posted and just waits for the panels to be slipped into place.
And last night, my sweet husband informed me that he would gladly pay for someone to do the front yard fence. Seriously. Now. Can I remember any of the information of the people who gave us quotes?
I’m smiling. While he was paying for home improvements, he mentioned a new garage door. Which, as of 5 minutes ago, I have put a deposit on. I can make phone calls. Phone calls don’t weigh anything, do not involve standing outside in the rain, and are done in minutes. Besides, I find people in the service industry particularly friendly right now. I don’t know, call me crazy, but it seems that the response time has picked up over the past year. Can’t imagine why.


Alisha said...


I some what agree to your article.

Fencing makes a great backdrop for landscaped properties. It would seem like a great idea to contact your local Houston fence establishment when you to add to this the reality that fencing will give you an impressive return on your investment. Adding a fence is good value all around.

Jody England Hansen said...

Wow! Did your blog just get spammed?
Tell you what, I will tell you from my experience which contractors not to call, and you can tell me which ones will do a good job.
Hang in there.

Big Bahama Mama said...

Not only did the blog get spammed, but Alisha didn't bother to actually read the blog. If she had, she'd know that we moved AWAY from Houston, so contacting my "local Houston fence establishment" makes no sense at all. And, when we did live in Houston, it was under the thumb of an HOA that not only put up the fencing, but dictated exactly when birds were allowed to sit on it, when rain was allowed to fall on it, and when my children were allowed to walk along it.