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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Good morning crew,

So, the fence project has turned into a task of unexpected proportion, and it all started with the wife's deep-seated hatred for mulch.

We have put off replacing the mulch around the back yard fence for two years now, because we couldn't decide what we wanted to replace it with. Now the tangle of wild flora that has invaded the neglected landscaping has become an embarrassment.

But when we finally started digging it up a couple weeks ago we quickly determined that the wood fence needed to be repaired and repainted before we started thinking about dumping a few tons of new rock up against it.

And that has been nothing but one fumble in the dark after another.

The first thing I did, without thinking too much about it, was to pull a half dozen replacement boards down from the garage rafters that the previous owners had left and prime them with an oil-base primer. They're going to be out in the weather and I wanted them sealed up good, right?

Unfortunately I did this before we determined whether we want to paint the fence or stain it. My first thought was to paint it, because the wife wants to completely change the color of the fence and paint covers better than stain.

But after my father-in-law terrorized us with horror stories of painted fences peeling and flaking after one summer of rain storms and blazing hot sun, we decided to stain instead.

The problem with that is stain does not take to oil based primer very well. So I spent every night of the following week sitting in the garage sanding those boards back down practically to bare wood (in hindsight I could have bought all new boards for about 20 bucks and saved myself 4 or 5 hours of work, but I'm not that smart).

When Friday finally rolled around I had my boards all ready to go again, so it was off to the home improvement store where we spent practically two hours trying to figure out what kind of stain we needed and what color we wanted.

And when I say "we" I mean, the wife. She went from white, to green, to blue, until she finally decided on a kind of slate gray. She said it would match the rocks she wanted. I was inclined to stick with the original red, but after the primer fiasco my stock wasn't very high and I decided not to argue.

So when Saturday dawned bright and early the next day we had been working on the project for two weeks and hadn't touched brush to paint yet. We weren't about to either, because the next thing was to sand the entire fence. This was one step I insisted on, because if there is one thing I know about painting it is that 90 percent of your result depends on surface preparation. I wasn't going to slap a coat of expensive, new stain over an old, chalky, faded surface.

That was fine with the wife, since she left for work at 7:30 that morning. But she didn't miss out on all of the fun. Despite spending most of the day Saturday sanding, it still took both the wife half the day (and about 60 sheets of sandpaper)on Sunday to finish it.

Then it was time to paint, right?

Nope. After sanding we had to power wash the entire thing.

Paint, finally? Please?

Not yet. After that we had to pry off the boards that were warped and rotted and replace them with the new boards I had sanded all the primer off of.

When we were finally ready to start, the weekend was already gone. That's why I decided to take Monday off and actually get some painting done rather than wait another entire week.

Of course, we ran out of paint half way through. So it's still not done.

Should only take another two gallons and twelve man-hours.

I'm starting to miss the condo.

Laugh it up,


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"American Airlines is under fire after one of its flight attendants allegedly yanked a stroller away from a mother with a baby. Passengers were outraged that the attendant took the stroller and not the baby." -Conan O'Brien


"A major food company has recalled two types of frozen hash browns because the potatoes may contain pieces of golf balls. Doctors say if you've already ingested pieces of golf balls, the best thing is to just let them play through." -James Corden


"A New Jersey restaurant has begun selling a massive taco-covered pizza for $75. 'Seems a little steep,' said a customer who was looking at the three steps in front of the restaurant." -Seth Meyers


10 Step Guide to Being Handy Around the House

1. If you can't find a screwdriver, use a knife. If you break off the tip, it's an improved screwdriver.

2. Try to work alone. An audience is rarely any help.

3. Despite what you may have been told by your mother, praying and cursing are both helpful in home repair... but only if you are working alone.

4. Work in the kitchen whenever you can... many fine tools are there, its warm and dry, and you are close to the refrigerator.

5. If it's electronic, get a new one.

6. Keep it simple: Get a new battery; replace the bulb or fuse; see if the tank is empty; try turning it to the "on" switch; or just paint over it.

7. Always take credit for miracles. If you dropped the alarm clock while taking it apart and it suddenly starts working, you have fixed it.

8. Regardless of what people say, kicking, pounding, and throwing sometimes DOES help.

9. If something looks level, it is level.

10. Above all, if what you've done is stupid, but it works, then it isn't stupid.

*-------------- Guaranteed to Roll Your Eyes --------------*

A man sees a job ad posted on a construction site, "Handy man wanted; apply within."

So he does and speaks to the foreman.

"Can you drive a Bobcat?" the foreman asks.


"Can you plaster?"


"Have you ever done any carpentry?"


"If you don't mind me asking," says the foreman, "what's so handy about you?"

"Well, I only live about five minutes down the road..."

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