Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fixing Fence

I’ve got a big job to do this weekend. The old field-fence along the driveway needs to be replaced - it’s needed to be replaced for the past several years.

My wife was the first to bring it up: “Looks like that fence is in pretty bad shape,” she mentioned one morning as she was looking out the kitchen window, sipping a cup of coffee.

“Yep,” I said, “It’s lookin’ a little tired.”

Several months went by and a bit more pointedly she said, “I think we need to consider replacing that fence.”

“I suppose you’re right,” was my only reply.

Recently, more than a year after her first mention of the fence, she said, “Are you going to fix that fence, or not!?!” That's what I had been waiting to hear… the Call-To-Arms!

What she doesn’t know is that over the past several months I’ve been carefully laying out a plan for the job. There’s a lot to take into consideration – weather, tools, labor, materials, site preparation, engineering, permits.

Okay, I don’t need a permit to replace a section of farm fence. My point is that you can’t jump into a job like this too quickly. A job like this requires careful planning. Never mind that it’s only a 40 foot section of fence, you can’t rush it—who knows, it might take care of itself. Things like that have happened before, I read about it in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

No, a job like this requires some thought and, most important—proper timing.

It would be ill-advised to do the job during tornado season or winter - after all, a tree might blow over and fall on the new fence, then all the work would have been for nothing.

There’s frost-heave, spring flooding, and holidays to consider. You can’t have the place all torn up when guests might be stopping by to visit.

There will be some wood posts involved, so I can’t discount the hazards of the woodpecker migration, either.

No, this job requires precision timing. I figure I have two opportunities to get it done - either this weekend, or sometime after we know just what we’re up against with this whole global warming thing.

Besides, up until I got the “Are you going to, or not?” question, I wasn’t sure I had the job. Men learn these things after a few years of marriage. If I had jumped right in and replaced the fence after her first mention of it she likely would have said, “Oh honey, I wish you would have fixed the faucet in the bathroom, instead.”

If I had initiated the job after the second mention, it would have been, “I thought we were going to talk about putting in a wooden fence.”

Nope, you’ve got to wait until the problem matures to the ultimatum stage, when you know that no matter what you do, there won’t be any second guessing. This is important because (recently married men take note) when the job is done and your last two posts are only eighteen inches apart, or you’ve installed the fencing upside down, she won’t say a word about it. Not to you anyway.

Oh sure, she’ll let all of her friends know - but this is a good thing because her friends are now thinking that you’re not too handy around the house. When it comes time for their husband to tackle a job that requires some assistance, they won’t suggest that he get ahold of you. And there’s no lasting shame in your wife telling all of her friends because she’ll always end the conversation with a wistful, “Well... at least it’s done.”

So it looks like I’m replacing the fence this weekend. Unless?… I wonder if the Farmers Almanac has anything on fencing by phases of the moon.

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