A good portion of my yard’s back fence has been comfortably laying on the ground for about six years now.
However, the time for loafing is over. It’s time for the fence to quit laying around doing nothing and start standing around doing nothing.
This fence was built using a cement footing that spans the entire backyard. As far as I can tell, it’s approximately 86 feet deep. This concrete construct could be used as a base for the Great Wall of China. However, the part of the fence that’s above ground is made of wood.
The problem with a wood fence is after a couple of decades it rots, and a gust of wind, a naughty child or belch from a dog will knock it down.
So my process has been to remove the remains of the rotted fencing posts from the world’s sturdiest footing, pound in new ones and rebuild the fence.
However, removing the old posts has become a problem. You’d think that something that had rotted to the point of being softer than butter, it would be easy to remove. The problem is the buttery layer only goes down a few inches. The rest of the posts are apparently impervious to drills, chisels, bores, sledgehammers, torches, swearing and me hitting myself multiple times with a hammer.
People at the hardware store all say the same thing, “I’d just break out the concrete.”
They act like I have no idea what I’m doing.
But they don’t get the situation I’m in. This isn’t a posthole filled in with a bit of Quikrete, it’s a nuclear fallout bunker that was converted into a fence.
Also, I have no idea what I’m doing.
So I go out and drill, pound, twist, turn, sweat and swear weekend after weekend, clearing the holes inch by inch. I break apart the wood and pull it out a little at a time. You’d think 30-year-old rotten wood wouldn’t be a match for a brand new bore bit, but you’d be wrong. I’ve burned up just about every drill bit I own to the point that the whole neighborhood smells like the climax of a Transformers movie.
The other problem is when I take a break for things like lunch, sleeping or going to the hardware store to buy yet another expensive tool I will only use once, by the time I get back, the holes are filled with spider webs.
It’s like Spider-Man is punking me.
But this isn’t New York City, so I know it’s not my friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. These are real spiders — evil, poisonous, ravenous spiders.
There is no way I’m reaching my delicate hands into those nightmare holes.
So out comes the shop vac. A shop vac is much like a regular vacuum, except you don’t get in trouble with your spouse when you use it to clean your engine compartment, suck toilet water out of the basement or clear wood splinters out of spider holes.
After a couple of frustrating hours, I figured I wasn’t doing any good and started packing things up. I contemplated selling one of my children to the Navy so I could hire someone who is more capable to fix the fence. Maybe Tim Allen? He seems to know how to do stuff.
But when I went to move the shop vac, it was heavy — completely full of sawdust, wood bits and spiders. I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t just wasting my time! I had been making progress!
Never has a canister of dirt provided someone with so much hope. Now I feel like this fence project is going to be done and those spider holes will be sorry they ever mocked me.
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