Yet Another Journal

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» Monday, December 13, 2004
Good Fences Make...Bad Backs
The fact that I can sit at the computer right now owes to a good mattress, Advil, and a long, long sleep.

Yesterday was a bit of a blur. We had groceries to stock up on, so had stops at Walmart and BJs. We also had to go to Lowe's for some lumber.

Pertinent digression: Our property backs on an apartment complex. It's a bit "low rent." Most of the folks are just nice ordinary people and the worst trouble we have is someone playing loud music (audible through closed windows with the A/C on) late into the night (but usually on Saturdays when it isn't so bad). But there are a few of the hoodlum element.

Two years ago I stood at the sliding glass doors and watched in incredulity as some "kid" (I use it loosely; he could have been in his twenties) bashed a hole in the fence (apparently to use the wood for something, since he didn't come through). (I would have shouted to him, but the doors don't open.) I called up the apartment complex. When someone finally answered, they sounded properly horrified and said they would do something about it. Yeah. Sure. Some weeks later James took some spare fence panels that were in the shed and used three-inch deck screws and blocked all the broken parts of the fence. It remained okay.

(Digression about the fence: we bought this house from friends. There was originally another fence behind the property, but it was cheap and collapsed. Our friends were going to replace the fence and contacted the apartment complex management to inform them there might be some workers on their property. The complex management replied with asperity that the fence was theirs and they would replace it. And so they did, with the sorriest bit of fencing God has ever seen. Instead of using six-foot solid fencing boards, they used five-foot boards at the bottom of the fence and one-foot boards at the top. They were held to the crossbraces of the fence by only two nails about an inch long; a good kick would take them loose. By the time we moved in, the fenceposts were leaning backward and we had to brace them with other fenceposts.)

Well, I happened to peer out the window the other day and what should I behold but a nice hole in the fence in one of the places James had repaired, where the kids had broken through before (they're too lazy to walk around to our street and want to cut through). The wood was all splintered and pushed aside so someone the size of a 12-year-old might squeeze through. Yes, I called the apartment complex. The line was busy.

So Sunday we bought enough boards to fix the hole, and I helped James push the fence back up a little bit more upright and brace it with the the fenceposts. This, compounded with spending the evening putting up the Christmas tree, completely undid my back, even though I took pain medication from the time we got back inside.

The ultimate solution is to have it out with the apartment complex, I know, but I hate these confrontative issues. If I had something to back me up, I'd be in a much better position. I spent one entire day last winter calling city and county offices attempting to find out if there was some type of ordinance that required the apartment complex to keep a barrier (well maintained or not) between their land and private land. The conclusion: "I don't know" and the infamous "We'll have someone call you back," the latter which was the response when I called them to find out how to safely dispose a computer monitor and if they had a paint recycling center. Need I say that no one ever called back, on any issue?