Last winter we priced out having a new fence installed down both sides of our lot. I’ve said before that we live on a postage stamp, so a privacy fence is necessary to hide all the naughty stuff we are doing! (Pierce likes to use the toddler pool in the nude.)
A great guy with a fencing company came out and gave us an estimate of $1500 to do the whole thing—demo, haul away, new fence and gate. I thought it was a reasonable price, and I liked the guy immediately when he talked us into the cheaper style fencing because it actually had more structural integrity. Then I asked my neighbors on both sides of us if they would be willing to contribute $200 maybe $250 each to share in the cost. Both middle-aged bachelor’s (divorcees) who couldn’t give less of a crap about their property if they were paid to (Greg thought he saw a Japanese soldier lost in the overgrown jungle of one of their back yards when he looked over the fence– I howled at that quick remark!) They acted like we were asking them to pay for all the fencing and install it, clean up and have it looking fabulous while we went to Hawaii. One actually told me he was getting tested for heart problems, and he didn’t know what costs he might incur. The time passed, nobody said anymore, and we needed the money for other bills as well, so we didn’t pursue it. We just reinforced the worse side and put bamboo over it to make it look better, planning to do it next year. Then, this past summer the other side started to lean. We thought about letting it fall, thinking it would force the one neighbor to contribute something to the repair.
A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law needed to have a tree removed inside her fence, so the fence had to be taken down. My brother-in-law, Greg and I took it down, and Greg and I put it back up with some new posts. I was going to let Greg and John do it, but G. and I got there a day early to check out what building supplies were needed, and just decided to get it over with. It was hot, hard work, but not difficult to figure it out, and it looked really straight and accurate when we were done. Hmmm…could we do our own fence? Hmmm, do I want to? Hmmm…no…but if I want it done sooner than later, that might be the only option, and Greg and I work well together on projects.
Yesterday we did the side that was leaning—we’ll do the one with the bamboo on it next year. I added up the costs and created a budget, and we were off. The demo, which should be fun, was not, because it turns out that this neighbor also has a jungle and junk in his back yard, but we did it. HE even came out to his car at one point, saw what we were doing, said “Oh Oh…” and took off in his car. He left so fast that I think he forgot something, because he was back in 30 seconds, leaving the music playing and car door open for a quick exit—again. Later,we drove to the dump with half the fence, and were turned away. They sent us 20 miles out to the landfill. It was a beautiful drive, but it definitely slowed down our momentum. We stopped at Home Depot for posts, concrete, and hardware. Greg’s truck is a small sport truck, so we planned to do a couple runs for fence panels and lumber.
We got our posts cemented and the area straightened up and ran back to HD to get our fence panels, all the while wondering how exactly we were going to strap them on the truck to make the three-mile drive home. We bought one to test it, and while the HD employee, Greg and I were debating the best way to secure it, a man pulls up with his giant Chevy truck towing a closed trailer. He rolled his window down and asked how far we are going. When we told him, he offered to haul our load for us. Turns out he lives in the same area. It was like this wonderful moment of grace! He followed us home, helped us unload, and would not take anything! No money, no soda, nothing! It always amazes me how good people are to me (us.) Even perfect strangers want to help. I know I painted my neighbors in a bad light, but aside from their lack of design sense or love of beauty, they are kind to us, and we can pretty much do whatever we want with our space without worry that they will be offended or imposed upon. There are times it’s good to be grateful for someone’s apathy—if you look for it, all things can work for your benefit.
We have a little left to do, but overall it’s not bad for our first fence!