With classes over for me, I spent Monday finishing up the last few school things for the semester, or so I thought. Every semester I get a few lingering things come in after I thought I was all done. I got grades entered for 3 of my courses, and I was just about ready to submit them for my fourth one, but students had to the end of the day. I also had a doctoral student reach out with some statistics trouble on her dissertation, so we’re meeting this upcoming week to sort that out.
I was anxiously awaiting the chance to take off my “professor hat” and put on my “home improvement” one. A project that I’ve had on my list since we decided to get a dog is to build a fence. We bought the house with no fence, but our neighbors all have their yards fenced in, so I figured I could just build to theirs to have ours closed off. In researching property lines, I discovered that our neighbor to the south actually comes onto our property by at least several inches, even though she thought that she had another couple of feet on our side that was her property. Our neighbors to the north thought that the massive bushes on our side that separate our yards were ours, but what I found clearly indicated that they belong to our neighbors. In any case, I ran my plan by both neighbors, and one of them was fine with it, but the other preferred we not put chicken wire along their fence (its gaps are large enough that Apollo can squeeze into their yard). That changed plans, so that I would need to build a barrier between our properties that I hadn’t planned on, because an earlier brief conversation made it seem like the chicken wire would be fine. It’s probably better this way, because now we are not on their property at all, and we made it clear that the bushes belong to them. Still, the owners were out of town when I needed to build, so I borrowed their chainsaw to cut them back.
In any case, Tuesday is when all of the utilities came by to mark where their pipes and wires are. Then on Wednesday, first thing in the morning, I rented an auger to dig out the post holes. That was a hassle, but took about 20 minutes to dig all of the post holes instead of standing out there with a shovel all day like a caveman. Hannah then came with me to the hardware store to buy almost all of the materials for the fence. That was an awful trip as we had so much to get and so much of it was heavy (e.g., 18 concrete bags). Loading it up into the van was an adventure, too, but we finally got it all in and came home. Hannah, Hakan, and I then got the posts set that afternoon, and called it a day. Fortunately, but also frustratingly, we didn’t need 7 of the bags of concrete, so we got to return those to the store after hauling them all over the place.
Thursday was more fun as we just put up the pickets. Unfortunately, we got rained out in the mid-afternoon, so we broke for the day.
Friday, Hannah and I focused on the gates. Because of the way our yard slopes, and the fact that I have a riding mower that needs to fit through the gate, I opted to build gates on both sides that open inwardly, and I made one of them a double-door (below). I think they turned out really well, and I’m pleased that they are invisible, as all of the hardware is hidden on the inside of the fence, but next time I build a gate I’ll be much better prepared.
Saturday began with the chain saw to the bushes. I wasn’t sure what to expect with that kind of project, but it took only about 30 minutes to get all the way through where I wanted. I then mowed the front lawn so that we would have a place to put the branches. The whole family then joined me to help haul all of the branches to the front so that they could be picked up by the city. Apollo got really into that part, running along and grabbing at the loose branches from everyone’s pile, then chewing them up.
Hannah and I, with the help of Carver and Hakan, then put up a temporary wire fence along the bushes so that Apollo would be completely fenced in. I then put the finishing hardware on the gates so that the wind wouldn’t blow them open, and we let Apollo try it out. He doesn’t seem to understand that he has free reign now, as he usually sticks close to whoever has him in the yard, but he’s running around more, and we feel like we have more freedom.
Thursday night was also a busy night with the kids’ stuff. Avey’s orchestra concert was scheduled for 7, and Carver’s school was having a dance party. We dropped Avey off at the school to get ready and do her rehearsals, then went to Carver’s school to make most of the party. Merritt really enjoyed watching the kids dance in the gym, with the lasers, balloons, and glow sticks. He didn’t really dance at all, though. He just held my hand tightly and watched, not wanting to leave.
Avey’s concert was fun, though we were far away so that she was hard to see. We had a good time identifying the songs they played, and the boys did a good job even though it was their bed time.
The kids are on their last week of school, and can hardly wait to be done. I have to get back to some school-related work this week, and then I’ll find more projects to do. Stay tuned for all that excitement!