So this past weekend, I thought we would dedicate some time to the long list of neglected house repairs: re-painting the garage man door and trim, stripping and re-staining the front door, WEEDING, there's always weeding, replacing light bulbs in the outdoor garage light fixtures, etc. Instead, while picking up supplies at Home Depot, I remembered one of the items in my long running, mental to do list & ideas --Replace the hideous chain link fence on my parent's side yard with a gated fence. I've been scheming to do this at some convenient time that they are out of town (you can't do anything with my dad around, it's not fun) and we have plenty of time and the inclination to do it. Well, it dawned on me, while carting the kids around in Home Depot, taking turns going to the bathroom, and trying to remember everything we needed for out little chores, that --Hey! They are out of town! And, we have maybe two days to do this.
My husband thinks I do these things on purpose, but I can't have everything pre-planned out all the time! Luckily, he just rolled with it (for the most part).
The reason I felt a burning need to do this instead of painting my own front door is that there is no access from the front to the backyard other than through the house. There is solid chain link fence on both sides of the house. You can get to the back through the garage man door but, my dad, in his infinite man wisdom made a deck in the back yard many years ago. He decided it needed to transition onto another deck close to ground level and made a little walkway with steps down to the garage door and down to the backyard. I was like, "Uh, isn't that going to make it REALLY hard to get the lawnmower from the front to the back and visa versa???!!!" Well, he didn't really care about that, but it certainly does make it hard, and I suspect other people will be doing more lawn mowing than he will soon so a gate in the side yard was necessary. Plus sometimes, I need a way to sneak back there when the front door is locked.
When this was just an idea in my head, I thought we'd do vinyl fence with virtually no up-keep but since this was spur of the moment, we used these pre-made cedar panels from Home Depot. They are eight feet long, so we had to cut them and re-assemble the ends. I didn't get a real Before picture, because we were all about getting it done marathon style and by the time I felt leisurely enough to take a photo, the husband had already taken the chain link fence down and we had made some progress getting the posts in.
I will tell you, this took two full days. I had to leave my kids (3, 5, and 8) in the house and back yard unattended most of the time with only the TV to babysit them. Every time I went to check on them, I would discover that they tried to feed the dogs too many times. I even found the Super D (the 3-year-old) walking around the yard with a small glass bowl of dog food as snacks. They tried to eat everything in the refrigerator despite my adamant demands that they not touch it. Getting projects done like this is like the Amazing Race, exhausting, messy, frightening, and testing. It was also 96 degrees the first day and then there was a thunderstorm!
Soooo, I was so happy that we were able to do it! I even had to install a small retaining wall to fill the gap on the right caused by the slope of the yard. I also did a tiny area of pavers under the fence so it won't get muddy in there. I had to severely cut down the two thorny rose bushes in the front just to get in there. Those things are brutal!
So my parent's should be coming back home today. First, hopefully they will notice (they're elderly). Next, I hope everything is level. I know my dad will check for level. And last, I hope my kids didn't clog the toilet in their house or leave some other kind of unintended pleasant surprise.