Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Fence in progress

While we were building our house, every six weeks we had a budget meeting and were given a line-by-line list of all expenses, from the rental of the port-a-potty to the roof trusses.  We were also given a list of each expense and how it fit into the overall budget for the house, and where we sat within that budget, so we always knew if we were going over or staying under.  Part of that budget was a $7000 "Contingency," which was available as a buffer in case we did end up going over in any category.  But blessed day, we didn't, and now that money has been turned to us to either remove from the principal of the loan, or to use to enhance the house in certain ways.  We've chosen to enhance the house, because we won't have the pocket funds to do these things ...well, forever, probably.  Our plan is to use this money to 1. Reimburse our backyard neighbors for half of the fence, 2. build the remaining white vinyl fence around the rest of our property, 3. Install Air Conditioning, 4. Put in a back yard sprinkler system, 5. Buy sod for the back yard. 

The fence must come first.  AC will be the very last thing installed, because our project manager knows that if we get too comfortable in our houses, we won't have any drive to get out and finish stuff.  So, because I'm a wuss when it comes to summer heat, we've been devoting at least 2-3 hours a morning to the fence.  (By the way, did I mention that Cody's schedule got bumped back to evenings for the next month?)  As for the choice in pricey vinyl fencing--the part parallel to the road between houses is required and there's a separate part of the housing budget for it.  If we choose to finish the back yard with vinyl, that's our choice...which we decided was kind of a no-brainer.  It's cheaper to just do it all at once, and the finishing results are gorgeous.  Besides, we have our contingency money to spend it on!  So we got it measured about a week and a half after moving in.  The materials were delivered on May 25, but that first Saturday we were gone.  After that, we used strings, measuring tapes, and whatever else we could figure out to mark where the posts would go.  We are grateful our project manager has a skid steer with a big auger attachment which he used to dig all the holes for us (although we still had to clear them out and take them down another six inches or so).  After that, we were able to place the post and pour concrete around them.  I'm a bum and didn't take pictures of that while it was happening... I'll have to remember to do it on our last post (read on).

East Side of the house
 We opted for 2 5-foot walk in gates; one on each side of the house.  We weren't too fond of the double wide gates because they have a tendency to break.  But we may widen a gate later in life if we scrounge up enough money to buy a metal one.  Also, part of this deal is that we do this together with the neighbors who share the property line.  On the East side, I told that neighbor Cody had to work in the evenings but to please leave us half the posts to put in.  He didn't listen.  Now we'll owe them forever because he just went and put them all in.  :) 

West side posts, and kiddy-corner neighbor's odd partially finished shed/playhouse
We've been working together with our west-side neighbors as well and put in the last few posts today.  See the last post sitting on the ground? Because we aren't doing a double-wide gate, we received permission to leave out one post until after the sprinkler system is installed.  Those tractors have to get in and out somehow!
Test panel
 Now we get to do the fun part as soon as we can scrounge up some saws: put in the panels!  It's kind of like a jigsaw puzzle.  We cut the top and bottom runners to length, slide in the bottom runner, put in the panels (cutting the last piece to size if necessary), then pop on the top.  The fence company will measure our gates again and build them to size, and we will install them when they arrive.  Lastly, we cap off the posts and that's it. 
Front of the house where the panels and posts are being stored
I'll put up more pictures when it is done.  What little we have finished looks great, so we are excited to get it all in!