surprise yourself with what you can do

#ThinkKit Day 8 & 9 prompts asking show us what you made and it’s a surprise!

Ever have someone tell you that you can’t do something? For years, I had wanted a privacy fence to my backyard and this was the year I decided I would make that happen. I started researching fences online. There were do it yourself directions, how to guides, you tube videos, and the home improvement store experts waiting to answer all my questions photo (4)online. With all this info at my fingertips, of course I told myself that I can do this just as easy as anyone else, right? So I grabbed the tape measure, ran to the backyard, and jotted down measurements between my house and my neighbor’s house. I mapped out my rudimentary plan on a borrowed piece of paper out of one of my son’s notebooks and headed to the nearest home improvement store.

I may not fit the typical mold for a do it yourselfer building a fence however, I’m pretty sure I’m not the first six foot blonde to enter a hardware store. With my novice architectural notes in hand, I marched to the wood section. By the way, the sales associates at the hardware stores are pretty adamant about calling it the “lumber” section and NOT the wood section. I peruse the lumber and read all about which ones are best for outdoors and which ones are pretreated. So far, I think I’m fairly certain I’m a genius at this and am feeling very confident. I decide on my selection and proceed to the counter to place my order for pickup. I waited behind the guy in his national guard uniform, a dude who was building a deck, and an old man who I think spent more time trying to figure out what I was doing there than paying attention to his own order. Standing in line, I went over my measurements in my head one more time to be sure I had all the wood I needed. I picked out three 10 foot 3×3 poles, three bags of cement, a prebuilt panel, extra pickets, two 2×4’s to form the gate, and the hardware for the gate. Finally, it was my turn! The gentleman who helped me did a stellar job in hiding his doubt when I laid my sketch on the counter and proceeded to tell him what I wanted to purchase. His curiosity got the best of him and he obviously couldn’t resist asking, “Who is building this for you?” I am. Again, Doubting Thomas showed his hand, “You are? By yourself?” Ignoring the little voice in my head that was yelling what I really wanted to say, I smiled and replied, “Yep, just little old me!” “Well, you know this isn’t an easy job. You have to dig holes for these poles.” Yes. Mr. Expletive, I know that. “Yes, I understand all that and I’m pretty sure I’m not afraid of a little manual labor.” Again, I strained a smile. Shaking his head and containing his now obnoxious smirk, “well, everything is entered and you can pick it up out back.” Thanks Mr. Chauvinistic Pig…I mean…thank you, sir, have a great day!

Luckily, the two high school boys who loaded everything in my SUV were much more helpful and friendly. They even swapped out the right kind of cement for the crap that Mr. Pig put in my order.

Back at the house and unloading everything, I started to question myself. Holy crap. I have all this wood, have to dig three 4 foot holes, mix and pour cement and pray that this all lines up. This is the moment my neighbor (also a tall blonde) walked out and saw the slight stress on my face. About four hours later…three 4 foot holes were dug, poles were raised, cemented in the ground, and leveled as best we could without a level. Hey, c’mon, we are chicks after all. The panel went up and with some help from her dad and her boyfriend; a gate was built and attached. Measurements exact and remarkably, a perfect fit.

IMG_3899IMG_3936I stood back and admired my (really, our) project. It was the most beautiful fence I had ever seen. I couldn’t believe that I could do it and it was truly standing on its own. Pride of accomplishment was seething from every pore in my body. I placed the final touches on the posts: 3 toppers which in reality I really didn’t need but when I read the name, Hatteras on them, I had to buy.

IMG_3935Was it as easy as I read online? Pretty much! Would it pass an inspection from a true architect? Probably not, but it was exactly what I had in mind. Opening the gate and walking into my newly created secret garden, I found my space where I could sit, think, meditate, have my morning coffee, and an evening glass of wine. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Take a chance and you just might surprise yourself!

builder footnote: yes, I couldn’t resist taking a few snapshots to the kind sales associate…

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