Tuesday, September 7, 2010

no wonder they weren't keen on fixing it themselves

So last week, I blurrily woke up and sauntered about with my usual morning ritual. Open the curtains in the office, feed fish, open curtains in dining room...and when I pulled back the dining room curtains, I was surprised to find some strange man in a hoodie with a cigarette coming in my back gate.

My stomach immediately flopped and I stood there in shock. I watched him as he slowly tiptoed across the deck and out to the yard.

I gathered my wits and jogged back into the office to see where he went. By then, he had sauntered across our lawn, over the rock garden, and through the downed fence into motorhome neighbours' yard.

He sidled up the larger motorhome, then walked over to the smaller motorhome (oh yes, there're two of them), opened the door, and climbed inside.

I was in complete shock. As soon as I witnessed this, everything weird with the gate this year suddenly made sense. There have been many times this summer when the gate has been left open. Either the bolt is unlocked and the gate is closed or the gate is actually swinging open freely. I had been chaulking it up to the meter reader, but apparently I was dead wrong.

I'm pretty sure they've been doing this all summer. Right under our noses and just as bold as if they owned our lot themselves. And the one thing I know for certain is that I do not like the idea that they've been using our yard as a pass through.

I can't tell you how weirdly violated that makes me feel. Strangely, I'm not so much as mad as I am sickened. Who does this? Who is so bold as to do this when they probably know fully well that I'm here all the time? I could never. I just couldn't even think of doing it. The only case would be if my life depended on it because then I'd have a pretty damn good excuse if I were caught.

Though by the looks of him, if I had marched out there at that very moment and caught him, he wouldn't have the same reaction as I would have if I were caught. I think it would be more like, f-off or you'll get yours or I'm going to randomly break into your house now just to teach you a lesson. Have a good sleep!

It makes me wonder if there is ever a case where you live somewhere and you actually have nice respectful neighbours. Does this exist? Are there actually neighbours somewhere you'd want to invite over or talk to over the fence or bake cookies for? I'm starting to seriously doubt it.

We went over a few options and decided the best way to deal with it would be to fix the fence. At this point, I didn't really care if it looked good. I just wanted it to stand and block the path. That's all. I was willing to unrole ugly orange snow fence over the hole and secure it on both sides, that's how much I wanted them out -- actually, my first instinct was to buy a roll of gaucho barb wire and an electric fencer, but then I'd be in trouble with the city and they'd be laughing all the way to the bank.

We took ourselves down to the Home Depot and wandered around looking at wood. There's a lot of options when it comes to this stuff.

We knew we definitely needed a post. I knew we probably should get some cement to secure it. Maybe we might need some cross pieces? We got some of those, too.

Technology is a grand thing because we googled how to fix a fence right there in the store with Idle Husband's phone. I wanted to dig a hole with a shovel -- specifically with the extra craptastic one that came with the house (because I'm cheap), but after reading the how-to, IH insisted we get a post hole digger. Luckily, they rent them, so we picked up one of those, too.

can you see that splintered wood to the left? that's what's left of the old post. that also made digging the hole especially hard.

Getting the hole digger was absolutely the smartest thing we did when it came to this project. The hardest part was digging the hole and it had to be roughly two feet deep to matter. So I've been thanking IH for exerting muscles he never knew he had because without his suggestion of getting the digger, we'd probably still be working on that fence and the post would not be as secure as it is now.

While he did that, I removed all the old fence boards from the cross pieces and removed all the nails. This was kind of a tedious task, because you would not believe how many nails previous people had put into this fence. I don't know about you, but when I see a fence post completely rotting at the base, my first instinct isn't to put another cross piece on the top and a hundred more nails into the boards. If the post rots out, well, no amount of nailing is going to save your fence. Just saying.

While the cement was drying and since we only had the digger for 4 hours (or we only wanted to have it that long), we returned it and picked up five new fence boards (that's how many we figured we had to replace), some nails, and some metal brackets to secure the cross pieces to the posts.

we do not know how to cement

When we got back, we waited an hour more just to be sure the cement had firmed up, and then we started making the fence look like a fence.

Along with my "I don't really care what this looks like" attitude, we decided to try to reuse all the old pieces first and use the new ones only if we absolutely had to. As it turned out, we ended up not using any of the new wood we bought. We probably should have used them, but we were attaching things to old crumbling side posts and pretty much every section of our fence is wobbling in some way, anyway, so again. We did not care.

So just in case you're wondering, this entire project cost us less than $35. Can you believe that? The quote I got from that fencing company a while back came in at $1600 and he refused to fix only the problem. He would do it, but that would mean redoing the whole back fence. So we're quite happy with our result. Quite quite happy (we may or may not have done a little happy dance and celebrated with steaks).

on a side note, doesn't that tree look amazing?
check out the before

This was seriously easy. A little time consuming and repetitive (I forgot how much I love hammering, you guys!!), and we are totally stiff and sore, but after we completed everything, the fence looks -- really pretty awesome, actually. I'm quite impressed with our first attempt at wood fence building. Now we look over at that corner section the neighbours threw up last year and we're kinda feeling like maybe we should take it down and do it properly. It looks like crap, they bought the wrong brackets, and no wonder the post is already starting to tip! They only used a little gravel to keep it upright!

I'm feeling a lot more energetic about working outside now, too. I didn't realize how exposed I felt until the fence went up. I think that's why I've been avoiding so many outside projects this year. I can't tell you how glad I am to have our yard back. It's going to be nice working outside this fall.


Mz.Elle said...

That is completely creepy! I DETEST people who think they can just march about your space like that-or in this case,tiptoe- the freaking nerve!

I once caught a dude walking through my carport at midnight and I called out to him,only to have him try to convince me to let him in my house! Lucky for me,I have a foul mouth and a very protective dog,that convinced him to leave.

I like your barbed wire idea,heehe,that's my answer to everything!

erika edith said...

Neighbors can be such a major downside to owning a house...

Your new fence looks great - congratulations to you guys for the having the motivation and the know how to fix it.