House Saga, Summer Edition

It would’ve been nice if I actually had taken the time to write this stuff down while it was going on instead of having to piece it all back together after the fact, but whatever. Here lies the story as best as I can remember it.

June was a busy month. Sure, I was working more, but it was taking me slightly less time to get to work now, and I didn’t have to take a toll road to work anymore. What I did have to experience for the first time was water flowing into my basement.

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Thankfully it was never more than 3 inches at its deepest, and never covered the entire floor, but this was still one of the last things I wanted to deal with. The grading outside the house was messed up at the south corner, so I get tons of water in all the tiny holes there. Lots of patching jobs later and it now takes more water to cause any flooding, but it’s still an issue, one that hopefully I’ll solve in a more permanent fashion shortly.

Gradually over the course of June I painted the upstairs hallway and bathrooms to the only-slightly-different colors that Bunny picked out. I was super grumpy about it, insisting there was practically no difference, but she could see the difference, and it was really good to paint the hallway to remove any scars from moving in, so whatever. I did it, it’s finished, and the finish on the “new” color is much more reflective and more of what I expect in a home. Next we painted the guest rooms, and these were hard colors to get right but we pulled it off.

With the interior essentially finished, I could again turn my efforts to outdoors. We had the new front door installed the second week of July, and shortly after we got an estimate for completing the fence for the dog. It would’ve cost nearly $5K for contractors to use what was already there and just seal it off, or $8K to replace most of what was already there and have it all be the same. I did my best not to laugh in his face.

The next time I was at Lowe’s, I realized that the white vinyl fence we had was sold there and it was decently cheap, so I sold some stock, and for only $2.1K, we fenced in the yard over the next month.

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The first problem in the existing fencing was that it was almost a foot off the ground, and Willow could easily get under it. So on a day off while Bunny was at work, I took off each panel and reattached it as close to the ground as I could. The photo is after two panels were done. I made great progress and was confident I’d be done long before Bunny got home, only to discover wasps nests inside the last two panels….. I managed to deal with them and get the panels back on before dark, but just barely. The next day I started on continuing the fence, and I had bought almost enough in the first trip to do the entire project.

We were still trying to decide on how to proceed with the fence for the south side of the house, where the yard is only 9 feet wide. I didn’t like Willow being able to see anything on the other side, but at the same time we didn’t want a wall of white in that corner, especially if it walled the plants away from the sun or away from us. Then we went to Kevin’s house for a birthday party and they’d just finished re-landscaping. As a joke he goes “Hey, want a fence?!”

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This meant we didn’t have to put a solid wall on either side of our arborvitae, especially since they’ll become one in several years anyway, and they’ll be prettier. This gives Willow a solid enough barrier without making the house feel trapped behind the fence. Sure, we wanted to use the same material the whole way around, but when something is free it’s easier to compromise. Amusingly, we needed two feet more of fencing than Kevin gave us, and good luck buying more in less than 50-ft chunks at a hardware store. Eventually I found a local contractor who was happy to sell me what I needed (Mr. Fence of Bellingham, MA), and they even gave me an extra foot on the house. I used the extra to seal the gap in the vinyl fencing that I couldn’t adjust.

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She wasn’t happy with me for sealing that off, but as soon as she didn’t have to use the run anymore she forgave me instantly. The chain-link fence meant that all I had to do was complete the fence from the driveway to the west corner of the house, and thanks to the vestigial sidewalk this was going to be the hardest part. I enlisted Chris Tatro and David to help me with this stretch, but thanks to stubborn subterranean boulders and no tools to smite them with, we weren’t able to quite finish that day.

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The next day I managed to complete the fence, a mere ten days after starting the project. Willow wasn’t particularly happy with the amount of time I spent outside not-playing with her, but she loves to run around that yard. The next two outdoor projects are going to be to build a shed/replace the wooden fence section, and to remove the sidewalk to nowhere. That’s right, I’d been planning on buying a pre-made shed until I realized I could probably build it myself for much less money. Maybe in 2014 if I’m lucky.

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