Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In the lazy days of summer, I dream of my brand-new fence

As summer kicks into high gear and my friends talk of warm days and new bathing suits, I dream about fences.

In fact, I obsess over them. As I drive to work, I note their styles from the corner of my eye. Solid wood, chain-link, split-rail, vinyl. I look to see if each board is notched or placed straight across. I can tell the do-it-yourselfers, the professionals, the old-timers, and the brand-new additions.

And I wait and wait for mine.

I'm putting a fence in my back yard. Not a full fence, mind you - just two sides and a gate. A back fence already exists. I just wanted a simple privacy fence. You know, room for the dog to run around. A little place to relax.

The project has been far more complicated amd expensive than I ever imagined, and I tell the kids this is their trip to Disneyland, their summer vacation.

They seem strangely unappreciative.

My co-workers get unusually busy when I talk about my fence project - it's almost like they're not interested. It's so odd.

See, I thought this would be so simple - it's half a fence, after all. But after the installer came out, he shook his head. Nope, he told me. Our township has a new rule - no more simple privacy fences allowed. All fences have to be "mirror-image," or shadow-boxed.

That involves more lumber, for you fence novices out there. It's more expensive. "But I live on a cul-de-sac," I whined. "Who cares?"  Then the installer squinted over at my neighbor's house. He shook his head again.

"That house is set really far back - it's actually in your back yard," he said. "I can only put a six-foot fence to the edge of that house ... then the height has to drop down - I think. We'll have to see."

One survey and two permits later, we found he was correct.

Just recently, my neighbors inexplicably began digging around their back fence - apparently to reinforce the bottom with chicken wire to discourage their dogs from digging. They also unearthed a giant cable that snakes into my yard. I'm hoping it won't impede my installers. So far, so good.

Yesterday, the posts went in. And my excitement grew. If the rain holds off, the fence might go up soon. The kids don't seeem that interested.

But the dog is very excited.

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