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December 27, 2006

Huff, and puff, and blow the fence down!

Big bad wolf

Carter called me bright and early this morning to tell me that two sections of Mom & Dad's fence blew down in the fierce winds we've been having. I wasn't actually too surprised — the wind was blowing hard! We agreed to get together and see what we could do to put it back together.

One section was completely blown apart, with boards separated and spread around. I'd have liked to witness that happen — it must have been pretty dramatic! The other section wasn't as bad, and we stabilized it in about half an hour. Next, we started to evaluate the task in front of us. We quickly realized a trip to the hardware store was in order. We knew we needed some good, strong nails, but decided to also pick up a new 2x4 for the top (the old one was rotted), some smaller boards to serve as guides for the fence boards, and some new fence boards as well. Getting all that lumber plus Carter home in my S2000 was tough, but it was actually a good vehicle to use, since we could put the top down to accomodate the long pieces.

We soon saw this was a bit more of an undertaking than we initially expected; we were closer to rebuilding the section than repairing it, though we didn't do the base or posts. Neither of us has ever built a fence before, so we had to think it out, discuss a lot of ideas and approaches, and do some "modeling" — better to "measure twice, cut once"! We worked well together, which I would have expected. I'm sure our recent co-op video gaming sessions contributed to that; there's nothing like hours of monster-killing and anti-terrorist tactical missions to develop teamwork! (See, Jene & Ania, those Xbox 360s have lots of benefits!) Fortunately, we have similar ideas about quality of workmanship and a mutual distaste for skimping & cutting corners, which meant we were on the same page in those areas. Plus, Carter's just easy to get along with; I think anyone who knows him will agree with that.

I brought over a few tools — some from my list of cool tools — and some others I didn't bother to write up, but might have to add to the list. I was shocked at the variety of tools we used; (I finally got to put my demolition tool to good use!) we ended up using almost everything I brought over! It took us a lot longer than professionals would have taken, but we got the job done, and done well — we even braced the fence against an adjacent tree; it's not likely to fall down again anytime soon! (Knock on wood!) It wasn't how either of us expected to spend the day, but it wasn't altogether unpleasant; we got to do some problem-solving, engineering, and good old-fashioned hard work. In the end, we were both pretty proud of our handiwork!

PHOTO SUMMARY: Fence building

Thanks for the help, Carter; it was a pleasure working with you!

December 25, 2006

Family Christmas Photo 2006

Merry Christmas!

Family Christmas Photo 2006

New header image: Tahoe Winter Vista

Winter has arrived

I thought I'd be more regular in updating these header images, but I haven't yet developed a "library" of photos to cover all the seasons, so it's more work than I thought. Now that Winter is in full swing, I thought I'd take a minute to update the summer one with this one from our Tahoe Winter Getaway trip:

HORIZONTAL SLICE: Tahoe Winter Vista