Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The story of our fence and the fallen trees

The fence in our backyard is complete...sort of.  It was quite a process for the workers, and I think my head is still spinning from watching the whole thing.

Nothing in our complex ever happens in a way that makes sense, so why I thought they could do a great job of the fence, I have no idea.  I guess I just couldn’t bring myself to not be hopeful.  I guess it’s better than what we had so I don’t want to sound completely ungrateful about it...but…….

First of all, they built the back wall of the fence before doing the sides.  They built one long strip of fence from our neighbours’ backyard, through ours, and through our other neighbours’.  Instead of measuring where to put the fence based from the actual structure of the house, they based it off the fence that separates us from the complex across the way.  The problem with their logic is that if you look down the pathway that separates us, you can see that the fence in the other complex is on an angle.  So while the dead space between the two fences is straight, our yards are now asymmetrical.  Which probably wouldn’t be a big deal if we were like most people in this complex and didn’t really use our yard and therefore did nothing to make it look half decent.  But because we want it to look nice and be functional, it’s very much going to matter.  The plan is to extend our deck out by a few more feet (thanks to my dad who offered to do that!) and then push the fake grass to be up against the fence.  The problem is, there’s going to be a huge gap on one side of the yard because of the fact that it’s not actually straight.  We’ll figure something out, and likely use pots with plants and/or flowers to try to mask the issue, but still.  It really pisses me off that they couldn’t just do the job right.

They cut down 3 trees in the process.  One of which I was happy to see go, two of which could have stayed.  They de-rooted as best they could two of the trees, one in each of our neighbours’ yards.  But they didn’t bother to do that for the one that happens to now be in our yard...So I’ve been fighting with it with a rake, shovel, and saw for days and still haven’t been able to get the damn thing removed.  Madness.

We requested a gate, one so that we’d be able to leave through the back if need be, and two so the meter person can still access our meter without having to knock on the front door (because I swear without being told that, management wouldn’t have thought that far).  When they put the gate in afterwards, I would have thought they’d have put it in the middle of the yard so we could have made use of both the sides and been able to do something symmetrical, but no, they put the gate off to the side but not quite in the corner, and had to build 2 new fence posts to put it in, whereas if they’d just built it in the middle they’d only have had to add one.  They put our gate on backwards, and all the other gates on the right away.

When they built the sides of fence (which they did really oddly, one side is higher than the other and one side goes lower from post to post whereas the other side doesn't...) they said they’d be spacing the boards closer together, because I’d mentioned that if they spaced them as far as at the back, we’d have zero privacy and may as well not even have a fence (I said it nicer than that!)  They assured me they’d space them more appropriately but of course, they didn’t.  So we were looking straight into the neighbours’ yards and had ZERO privacy despite the fence being about 7 feet tall on the sides (it’s probably about 4 feet at the back).  We had 2 bamboo blinds that we’d used on the old fence for privacy (when there were only 2 fence panels to speak of) so I ended up going out and having to spend about $140 on more bamboo blinds to pretty much cover ALL the side panels of the new fence.  I figured the workers would be annoyed when they saw we’d covered the new fence they’d built us, but the main supervisor said he thought it was a great idea that we did that!  Seriously.  He also told me he figured the fence would look decent ‘for a few years, maybe.’  Great.

They went 10 feet between posts, when most fences wouldn’t be more than 8 feet between, so we can expect the fence to be sagging in the middle between each post within about 6 months.  Fun.

They also left such a huge gap underneath the fence on all sides that I could comfortably crawl under the fence, and I’m not the tiniest of persons!!  So we’ve had to spend about $60 to have my dad install boards underneath.  I’m totally appalled that we’re putting money into this place when we don’t own it, but it’s the only way we’re going to have it even remotely the way we would want it.

The night before last I was sitting out there on one of our lounge chairs cuddling with Emily, looking up at the huge willow tree to our right.  I thought to myself, at least they didn’t take that tree down.  It’s so beautiful and I enjoy sitting out there to watch the birds perch on the branches way up high, and I love how it offers us shade for several hours throughout the afternoon.  That tree just made me feel happy.  It was so tall, well established, and healthy that it honestly didn’t even cross my mind that they might cut it down.  Yesterday they started the process, and now it is just a giant stem that they’re working at taking down.  We will have bright sun beating down on our backyard ALL DAY now, because there are no trees in line with the sun that would ever offer us shade.  So unless we go out and spend upwards of another $100 to buy a second umbrella/stand, we won’t be able to use the yard during the day on the hot, sunny days until after dinner, because we’ll always be in the direct sun.  I am sad/angry/upset……….I just can’t believe they’ve done this, and without even warning us that it was happening.  I know we don’t own this place, but even renters consider their house their home, and we treat this place as if it were our own.  It just seems like common courtesy to me to inform tenants of your plans for the property, especially when it’s going to affect them directly.

I’m trying to embrace that we have this new fence, and our yard IS a bit bigger, which once we have it all redone to make sense with the new layout, I know it’ll be great to have that extra space.  I just wish they could have gone about the process better, knew how to actually build a fence properly, and for the love of gawd (and us!) would stop with the clearcutting already!

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