Saturday, August 15, 2009

My first "major" home improvement project



The before is the other end of the fence. The after is what I put up after a section fell over back in March during a wind storm. This is a major accomplishment for me -- and no trip to the hospital (I have my insurance co-pay in my wallet just in case).

Well, here is the deal. I got a C in woodshop in middle school. They kicked me out of metal shop in high school. When I worked at a truckstop, there are many, many stories of my high jinx about being a total and utter clutz. By the time I turned 25, I realized that I have very, very limited skill when it comes to anything to do with building, hammering, leveling or working with my hands at all.

So, as a homeowner, I have relied on my wife and parents and in-laws to help me out. Recently I put in a garbage disposal on my own -- my wife did help a bit on that one -- and last month I put up new lights in the bathroom by myself. I think those two projects gave me a false sense of security, because I looked at the fence and decided to take it on.

My fence I think is the original 1980s fence, and it has seen better days. At the end of the winter we had a wind storm and part of it blew over, and so I waited for the neighbor to fix it. He has a fishing boat so I figured he was more of a do-it-yourselfer than I am.

Three months past and no fence.

So I decided to bite the bullet and take it on. Last weekend I bought the wood -- Canby Builder's Supply rocks and is less expensive than Home Depot believe it or not -- and started staining the boards. Today I decided to put up one section of the new fence. I have eight sections total to do.

My first big decision was to leave the existing posts, because they seem to be in pretty good shape. I also opted to use screws instead of nails, because that's what my next door neighbor did. Plus you get me an a hammer together and only bad things happen.

So there is the first section. Now I figure I will put up a section a week -- and stain the next section, letting it dry for the week before I put it up. Today I may stain two sections and see if I can't do that next weekend. Maybe might even put up a section tomorrow.

Honestly, I have no clue what I am doing, but I am bright enough to use my level to try to make things look semi-right.

No hospital trip today, believe it or not. I will keep you informed.

Oh and give props to Cindy for tearing out an Oregon Grape stump that was pretty nasty so I could get in and do the fence.

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