The Joy of Fences

I don’t like being fenced in by ideas, by people, by expectations, but I love being fenced in by . . . fences.

I had my whole property fenced in before we realized that the old garage was not much good for anything, not even a shed, and that it would have to come down.

Then, when the shock wore off, I reluctantly let go of my travel funds because I decided that a garage was more important than that one last epic road trip. So most of the fence along the alley had to be ripped out. Not that the fence did anything to keep out trespassers — one snowy morning I woke up to find shoe prints all over my yard. A lock on the gate took care of that problem, but then, so did the fence being gone. If there was no gate, of course there would be no gate for people to open. (A joke of sorts.)

For all these months of construction (or rather, non-construction), I used blue plastic fencing, similar to the blaze orange fencing used at some construction sites, to block off access. It was more of a psychological barrier (at least, I hoped so) rather than a physical barrier because the stuff is rather flimsy. Luckily, there have been no snow storms, so I didn’t have to be frantic about trespassers since I could see no sign of them, though dogs did worry me. Too many the people in the vicinity don’t walk their dogs — they just turn them loose to do their business. It’s bad enough when the dogs are ankle biters, but pit bulls? Yikes.

But yay! Today, the fence was reinstalled. Instead of the fence going straight across the alley as it once did, it now jogs in toward the garage, giving me a huge area to pull into my garage or even a parking space if necessary.

But sigh. I’m still not able to use the garage. It’s getting there, though. The attic insulation is in, the ceiling is up. Wall insulation and OSB boards have been delivered, as well as the garage door opener but have not yet been installed. (One guy has been doing most of the finishing work by himself, and there is no way he can install the opener without a helper.)

Meantime, I am grateful for the gift of this day and will enjoy being fenced in.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Garage Installation

I wasn’t going to write more about my garage until it was actually being built, but I couldn’t pass on using the title of this piece, which is a perfect title because work on the garage is temporarily stalled. (In – stall – ation. Cute, huh?)

The contractor has a few obligations — contract deadlines he needs to take care of now, so that when he starts building the garage, he can do the whole thing without delays. (Oh, wait!! Contracts. Contractor. Now I get it! Sheesh. I sure am firing on all cylinders today.)

Meantime, he and his workers took time from their weekends to finish the part of the side fence that was hidden behind the old garage. (Though they made sure they were done by noon. Something about the Kansas City Chiefs.)

Breaks in a fence seem to attract the very people I don’t want to attract, so it’s good to have the fence finished. I do feel bad, though — the back fence will have to be redone after the garage is built, and it seems a shame that their hard work is going to waste.

But they don’t seem to mind. At least that’s what they tell me. Who knows what they say amongst themselves.

Meantime, I am completely fenced in. I always liked that song “Don’t Fence Me In,” but now that I’m alone in an ever-scarier world, I like fences. I still don’t like other people fencing me in, except, of course, for the workers who actually did fence me in.

The thing about fences is that they have gates, so I’m not truly fenced in, either psychologically or physically. I can always open the gate and leave. Doors are the same way. After Jeff died, people told me, “God never closes a door without opening a window,” which completely ignores the nature of a door — it closes and it opens.

But I’m getting off track.

In the photo above, you can see the recently installed fence on the right, the fence in the back that will have to be redone, and the place where the new garage will go — left of the trench where the sidewalk used to be, but close to the back fence. (You can see where the garage used to be to the right of the trench. The concrete slab used to be in front of the garage.) The lilac bushes along the back fence will have to be moved, but it should be easy for the men to do so using the excavator they will get to dig the foundation for the garage. (Any extra dirt will go to fill in area where the garage used to be.)

Well, now you know more than you ever wanted to know about both the installation and the in-stall-ation of my garage.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.