A good dream…

Aside from a couple of spots that are going to have to be backfilled once they settle, the great fence build of 2015 is mission complete. I’m well satisfied, the dogs (even Winston) are doing their best to chase off the rabbits, squirrels, and birds, and for the moment all is right with the world. I won’t go into the vast number of new and interesting landscape projects that this opening effort of the spring fighting season has brought to mind. There’s no end to the brush that needs cut, stumps to grind, and nature that generally needs to be beaten into submission at every turn. This week has already been a damned good start, but I’m all too aware that what I want to get done is likely a project of years and not of weeks or even months.

The up side is that I’m pretty sure I can now, at least in my own mind, justify the cost of a chain saw and maybe even a pole saw if I want to really push the limits of belief. See, all I wanted was a fence… but in the best traditions of home ownership one expense finds a way to bleed seamlessly into the next. That’s the dirty secret of the American Dream that no one ever mentions.

It’s a good dream. A happy dream. But the little bastard will nickel and dime you to death.

Benign oversight…

I’m sure that watching people build a fence isn’t nearly as tiring as actually building the fence, but after 9 hours of making sure (most of the) posts ended up where I wanted them, I’m just plain worn out. The 300% air-to-pollen ratio and two dogs barking non-stop probably didn’t help with that. I feel guilt even bringing it up, really. After all, I wasn’t the one knocking 30 post holes through tree roots as big around as my forearm. At best, my role today consisted of providing benign oversight, occasionally pointing, and offering access to the bathroom. It wasn’t exactly a backbreaking exercise.

With that said, the project advanced nicely so far. Tomorrow calls for digging about five more holes, hanging the rails, and running wire mesh inside it all. Supposedly it’ll all be wrapped up by closed of business tomorrow. Maybe it is doable, but it feels like something that falls into the category of “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Until then, I’ll just go on about the day trying to remind myself that 4:30 PM isn’t an acceptable adult bed time… Which right about now feels like a real shame.

Fence me in…

Note: Yes I’m still keeping an eye on Baltimore. Yes I have plenty more to say. No I’m not going to throw it all out at once. No it won’t be an epic rant. Unlike a common street criminal, when I make my opinion known I want it to be well reasoned, articulate, and not hidden behind a mask. In that light, I now restore you to your regularly scheduled Tuesday post.

Roy Rogers sang an old cowboy song that twangingly implores listeners “don’t fence me in.” Not being a range rider, I have no such compunction about the value of good fences. After a call this morning from the contractor, in fact I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of the supplies and manpower to get my fence off the drawing board and into the ground.

Given the terrain changes, visible rock outcroppings, standing trees, and undergrowth they’re going to have to deal with to get the job done, I’m paying through the nose for the privilege of sectioning off a little slice of my portion of the American Dream. I don’t begrudge them a penny of the price, though. They’re going to have some real work to do and fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your perspective) “low bidder” materials aren’t exactly my style.

The fence is the only real construction project I’m planning to take on this year. The master bath renovation, patio pavers, and kitchen tweaking are all on the board, but (mostly) not on any kind of rushed timeline – or really on a timeline at all. They happen when I get around to and funds are available to dedicate to them. The fence, by contrast, is a quality of life issue. Being able to turn the dogs loose at 10PM when it’s pouring rain and staying high and dry on the porch is about as good as it gets. I’ve obviously reached the point in my life where I have mostly small, reasonable dreams.

Based on this morning’s conversation work is on schedule to start next week. Now I just need to live through the load of construction equipment, wire mesh, posts, and rails that will be occupying the driveway over the weekend and things should be all set. All in it’s a small price to pay for what I’ll get in return.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Neighbors. Tuesday night, one of the strong storms passing through the area cleaved several large branches off a tree in the neighbor’s yard. Two of those large limbs landed squarely in my yard, so after work I got out the saw, cut them up and piled them neatly for burning once they’ve hand a few weeks to dry out. The third of the limbs to come down fell in the neighbor’s yard, but landed in such a way that it snapped one of my fence posts and buckled several rails. Two days later, I’m still looking at that downed limb lying across a crumpled fence from my kitchen window. The neighbors have been home. I’ve seen the kids playing in the yard and I’ve seen their vehicles come and go, but neither of them has broached the subject of the limb, or the fence. We’re now engaged in a great game of seeing how long it takes the neighbor takes to do some basic yard work and if they’ve got the personal integrity to at least offer to take care of the repairs. Given my observation over the last four years, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for either of those things to happen. If the shoe were on the other foot, I’d have addressed the issue already… and therein clearly lies the problem of holding others to the standards to which I hold myself.

2. Standing corrected. I hereby retract that mean things I said about my credit union yesterday. I discovered today that the fault was all mine for making a boneheaded mistake writing out the damned check. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.

3. Attempted guilting. Since the office is now officially down to four, there’s apparently going to be a self-appointed chief of attempting to make everyone feel guilty about taking time off, “because then everyone else is sooooooo busy.” Maybe if I were a better person, I would feel guilty. Then I remember that I didn’t create the staff shortage and that I’ve earned every hour of leave I’ve banked over the last eleven years, so I’m going to go ahead and schedule it when I need it rather than when it’s convenient for someone else. I’ve got problems enough of my own without giving in to attempted guilting. Nice try, though.


There have been a couple of events competing for my attention this last week and as you’ve seen, my posts have slowed to a bare trickle. In an effort to condense three or four posts into one, here’s the update:

1. Fence posts were set this morning… Woohoo!

2. Memphis is getting its ass kicked all over the place by tornados tonight… It’s the middle of winter. Weird.

3. It’s Super Tuesday… Being something of a political nut, I’m totally engrossed.

4. And finally, I have two weeks left as a grad student and am in the middle of drafting my final paper… Most of my time dedicated to writing for the last week or two and from now through the middle of the month will go towards churning out a monster paper covering topics I don’t care so much about.

So that’s it in a nutshell, my friends. I know I’ve been promising for a while, but once things settle out, I’ll get back to the serious business of blogging on more of a full time basis.


If a man’s home is his castle, mine is now defended by a 6’2’’ stockade fence. I was just in the back yard and not only could I not see the dipshit neighbor’s overgrown yard, but their poor dumb Rottweilers didn’t know I was out there; which means they didn’t spend the half an hour barking at me.

It was peace, quiet, and a significantly decreased level of annoyance. I know of at least a few trees that didn’t die in vain.


I’m probably a lot more excited about this than I should be, but I finally found a landscape contractor and have him under contract to put in my fence. Assuming the weather holds, there should be a crew here tomorrow setting the posts. No more view of the neighbor’s ratty-assed, weed ridden back yard… Now that’s worth twice the estimate.