Home Repairs

Posted: October 30, 2007 in General
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Have you ever heard that cow people song (that’s my term for country folk) that goes something like, “Like a hammer and a nail; socks and shoes – we go hand in hand like the rhythm and blues. What good is a man who hasn’t got a dream? Bout’ as good as car with no gasoline.”? It’s about things that go together – obviously. If a cow person made a song about me and tools, or any home repair for that matter, it would be completely opposite of that song. Home repairs and I go together like soap and fungus, matches and dynamite, Clinton and honesty. It’s just not a good thing!

My fence fell down. Yes, you read correctly. My fence fell down. Last Friday I had to leave the office around noon in order to go to Home Depot and get stuff to fix a huge section of my fence that fell down. Why did my fence fall down, you may ask? Here’s a picture of a section that is still standing –

myfence.jpg It was built in like 1902 or something.

You can clearly see that there are boards hanging off of the posts. The boards that are still attached in some way are only attached because I’ve added extra nails, glue, and prayed frequently. And who builds fences like that anyway? I mean, since when are the slats horizontal instead of vertical? I digress.

Ok, so I get home and change clothes to go to Home Depot. My wife, who knows my track record for “fixing” things, asks what my plan is for the fence. I say to her, “What do you mean – plan?” She kind of gives me a look. Then she says, “Well how are you going to fix it?” This seems, to me, a silly question. So I say, “I’m going to go get wood and stuff and fix it.” My friend from Church, Jason, shows up and off we go to Home Depot. Oh wait – first he gets his wife started on the tear down of the old fence. I wish I had a picture of that. Granted it was a very small section to take down. But the whole idea of having a lady in MY front yard tearing down my fence while I wasn’t there was a little embarrassing. It’s not that she wasn’t capable (she was – she took the whole thing down). It’s just that my pride was flaming bigtime.

Anyway, upon arrival I ask what we need to get my fence up and functioning. Jason says that we need posts, slats, concrete, a posthole digger (what in the world is that?), some shovels, a bucket, and some woodscrews. Now, it would have been nice if he had said this on the first trip – which he did not.

So we get back to the house with posts, slats, and concrete. He tells me to go get my shovels. Wanna see what they look like?

shovels1.jpg

Obviously these aren’t the greatest tools available. Maybe I left them outside for the last 3 years. Maybe wood tools with rusted metal and splinters aren’t conducive to efficient fence building. Ok, ok – I admit this. Neither Jason or I were to happy with the tool situation. However, we attempted valiantly to dig up the concrete where the old posts were. It did NOT work. At this point we decided to make the posts 7′ apart instead of 8. This means that we need a posthole digger though. So, we went BACK to Home Depot. By this time it was nearing dusk and we did not have light to dig. We decided that we would pick back up on Saturday.

Jason came back over around 10am on Saturday. We headed back to Home Depot so that we could purchase a posthole digger – I should probably check to see if that is one word; hold a moment. Ugh! It’s two words – Ok, so we purchased a post hole digger and came back to start the work. I began to dig the first hole. It had to be 2 feet deep because we bought 8′ post, and we needed the height of the fence to be 6′. Well, I had never dug a post hole before. It’s not easy. In fact it’s AWFUL. I thought I was going to die. I go to the gym 6 days a week, am in really good shape, and thought I was going to pass out from digging these stupid holes. After the 3rd one I told Jason that he had to do the 4th. Here’s Jason trying

jasondigging.jpg That’s my beautiful Boxer – Bella, to the left.

Pause for a moment and look carefully at the red near the ground by Jason’s foot. Do you see it? That is the actual digging part of the post hole digger. It is also at the depth of Jason’s hole. He has been digging, I guess, for about 15 minutes. After about 2 more minutes he looks at me and says, “Dude, I can’t do it.”

After I dug all 5 holes we decided that it was time for lunch. This was at about 1:30pm. We stopped off at Whataburger at got a burger and fries (Saturday is the one day that I eat badly). We finished eating at about 2:30 and started back to work. All that was left was the concrete mixing, setting the posts, and leveling them off.

jasonfence.jpg Mix Jason – mix!

Jason and I got the mixing part down to a science. It was awesome. I’d put the concrete in the bucket, I’d slowly put the water in, Jason would mix it with the shovel that broke, and we’d dump it into the hole with the post. We got all 5 of them done. I was so proud. Look –

mefence.jpg Heck yeah. That is an awesome job – I think…maybe…let’s hope!

Yeah, so the posts are done. It’s about 4 at this point. Don’t ask why it took so long. I’m not really sure. But here’s where the “uh oh” part comes in. I call my wife to let her know that I am a real man who dug post holes and fixed the fence…almost – minus the slats and stuff. She asks (because my wife is really good at home repair), “Did you use a string to make sure the posts are level?” I didn’t know what to say. That’s probably because I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. I mumbled my way through an answer and hung up. I called another friend from church who is really good at building stuff (don’t ask why I didn’t call him in the first place – I don’t have an answer) and asked him about this string thing. He affirmed the string method of post leveling. I hung up vexed.

At this point I just prayed a lot.

Ok, so it’s Tuesday. My fence still is not done. Why? Because although I put a level on the top of the posts, I did not put a level to the side of the posts. Apparently this is important. I also did not do the string thingy to make sure that the posts are level. Now I’m scared. So, the end result – I’m going to hire someone to finish my fence.

What’s the moral of the story? The Bible says it best, “Pride comes before the fall” (1 Corinthians). Although my fence fell before my pride swelled in the thought of fixing said fallen fence, my fence may yet fall again before it goes up. Wow! If you aren’t good with fixing things, hire someone else to do it. In fact, here are some vendors who can do the job for you —

Robert Welch – 210-274-7225
Sam Lopez – 210-559-2942
Alamo City Maintenance – 210-889-1466

Have a great day!

Dustin Curlee

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