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If we build it they will stay in

Posted 06-15-2010 at 07:21 PM by Hifiman

Tomorrow my son and I will begin our first ever attempt at building a redwood fence around the perimeter of our back yard. We (I) decided to do it after getting a few estimates. We just can't spend that kind of money right now and we need it replaced to keep our youngest dog in. I don't understand this dog. When she's in the house or on a walk she easily gives off the impression that she's mentally challenged, yet when she's alone out in the back yard she's using engineering methods not seen since the building of the great pyramids to get out of the yard. The neighbors don't think she's so cute when she's out. They all know her name because she's been on everyone's doorstep. After a bit of research on the internet, some planning and measuring, we're ready to begin.

Getting the materials was way tougher than it should be. I went to Lowe's, Home Depot, and a local fencing yard to price the materials. I would have rather gone to a lumber yard, but those are getting scarce and the few we do have don't sell redwood fencing materials. This morning I decided I needed to go ahead and get all the materials, but I failed to plan well. I showed up at Home Depot far too early. All the local contractors are there and the lumber yard there is hopping. I had some questions about a couple of things, but no good. There was no one in an orange apron anywhere to be seen. I gave up. I decided it would just be best anyway to come back a bit later. Besides, contractors make me nervous. In my mind they're big burly guys that are built solid, have callouses for skin, and sport manly grimaces to ward off the approaches of all lesser men. At least that's my impression of contractors, but when I look around and see them all drinking Starbucks' lattes I get confused. I thought contractors just poured coffee beans in their mouths, chewed them up a bit to grind them, and take a big swig of boiling water. Apparently things have changed.

Later in the morning I did come back. This time with my son since he was now available. We went back to HD. This time it was empty of contractors, but there were still no orange aprons to be found. Maybe they're scared of contractors too and just avoid the area. Eventually I found someone and asked a few questions. When I asked about delivery she winced and told me their delivery wasn't such a great option, but I could rent a truck of theirs and deliver it myself. Okay. I tried that. I went to the tool rental area to inquire about a truck. No good. They have ONE truck to hire out. They guy said it's being rented right now.

"Great. When you expect it back?"

"Last Friday."

"Last Friday?"


That was just so weird. At this location they don't seem happy to deliver. They only have ONE truck to rent out, which now seems to be a stolen truck, and I still am no closer to getting my fence built. Eventually I resign myself to doing the one thing no man ever wants to do. I needed to rent a U-Haul pick-up truck to get everything I needed.

We made a quick and painless trip to the nearby U-Haul center. I rented a pick-up. You've seen them. They're the ones completely decorated in U-Haul's colors and logo so that everyone on the road knows that you really need a pick-up and don't have one. It's kinda humiliating in its own way. I did love driving it though. It's been years since I've owned a pick-up. I realized I missed it so much. Driving one means never having to worry about dips, potholes, speed bumps, or who's next at a four-way stop. I started immediately making plans to dump my car and get a pick-up.

When we made it back to HD we went on a big shopping spree. Wood. More wood. And still more wood. Then we needed some tools. We were lucky enough to find a really cool guy in the tool department. I told him what power tool I needed and what the job was. I wanted to know what's the cheapest I could get away with that would do a decent job. He pointed to their cheapest saw and told me that would be fine, but because the box was open he would give me a break in price. It turns out both boxes were opened and they were both returns. Then he offered me a saw at $50 bucks and told me he would mark it down to $30 dollars. I liked this guy. I figured maybe he was disgruntled and today he was quitting. He even took us around to get all the other stuff we needed. What luck. I didn't know what was going on, but maybe it was the new shampoo I've been using.

Checking out was a bit of a problem. It turns out my son and I can't count. We told the cashier how much wood we had. She counted twice and came up with a much lower number. At this point it's like whatever, ring it up and we'll deal with getting more at a later time. When we loaded the truck we counted. Yes, we were definitely wrong in our count, but she definitely undercounted. No, I didn't go back. Doing so would have meant having to push my way back through a few contractors shooting the breeze while sipping on their frappucinos.

After unloading the truck at home we had a few more stops to get the steel posts we needed, plus all the brackets and caps for them, and then a stop for concrete. And I can tell you after purchasing twenty ninety-pound bags of concrete that science really needs to get to work on making lightweight concrete for those of us who lack calloused skin, manly grimaces, and don't drink Starbucks - not because it's too expensive, but rather because it tastes icky.

We swept out the bed of the truck and headed off to the U-Haul place to return it. This time we were too hot and tired to worry about the stares and laughs as we drove the truck back.

I'm curious how tomorrow will go. We're only planning on completing one section to thwart our dog for now. The rest of the fence is going to be a more laid back effort. My goal is to have it all done by the end of next week since my son will be leaving Thursday for a church thing and won't be back until Sunday afternoon. The last time we did a home improvement project it was to put ceramic tile in our kitchen and bathroom in our old house. It was a very imperfect job, but we both took pride in that. At the very least I expect I'll be teaching him some new curse words. Hell, he's a junior now. He's probably going to teach me.
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  1. Old Comment
    Perdy4's Avatar
    I love your blog! This was quite amusing. I can see you at these places, too! You are so funny!
    Posted 08-13-2010 at 06:04 PM by Perdy4 Perdy4 is offline

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