Sunday, May 18, 2014

(un)Lucky Us...

The Facts

The side yard project didn’t go as smoothly as it could have.

His Side

Our last post may have given a false sense of how everything went with updating our side yard. If you read it, you might have the idea that everything was just great and we encountered very few problems. Come on… you know that’s not true. Let me tell you a few stories of how bad luck reared its ugly head.

When we first set up the line to make sure our post holes were in line with each other, we made sure we liked where it was, made sure it was perpendicular to the house, and everything was hunky dory. So we dove into the rocky earth with our borrowed post hold diggers. Once we got down about a foot and a half, we hit concrete. Too much concrete to dig up and remove. At least it was the first hole we started digging. So we had to move the fence line up a few feet and everything was fine. It was just an omen of things to come.

The rest of that first day went off without a hitch. We got so much done and we were so very happy with ourselves. We were exhausted, but quite proud. My grandparents were in town, so we were headed out the door to have dinner with them when bad luck struck once again. Our garage door broke. It didn’t just sort of break but we could still use it… it straight up didn’t work. We couldn’t even manually put it down all the way. So we ate and ran so we could go to Lowe’s and get a replacement piece. We installed the replacement piece and that seemed to make it worse! I don’t usually get frustrated very easily. I usually can let adversity bounce off me and just focus on fixing the problem. This one almost broke me. It’s just the fact that we had gotten so much done and were so proud of ourselves… and we were exhausted and looking forward to just relaxing the rest of the night… it just wasn’t fair. We also thought we were going to have to shell out more money to fix our garage door. Luckily, my brother-in-law came to our rescue yet again. Together, he and I figured out how to fix the problem while Kristi and her mom lent their hands when needed. If I’m being honest, it was mostly him that figured out what the problem was and him that got it fixed. The irony is that HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A GARAGE! 

That was the roughest one in my mind. All the other issues we ran into were minor when compared to a broken garage door. Installing the gate brought a couple of issues. First, we had to attach our own cross beams to make the gate work, but we had bought pre-fabricated fence panels. So we thought we had to knock the boards off the cross beams already there in order to attach them to the new ones. This messed up some of the boards which was quite annoying but we got them off without too much damage done. It turns out that we didn’t even need to break them off because it sat out far enough to be perfectly fine. Oops!

After everything was done, the last piece to the puzzle was latching the gate. We just want it to close properly and lock into place. Not too difficult… we thought. The piece that attaches the latch didn’t work. And it was in the actual kit we bought. IT WAS MADE FOR IT! We tried so many different options to attach it and, after a trip to my brother-in-law’s house, my mother-in-law’s house, and about 3 trips to Lowe’s, we finally got it attached and it latched properly… for a while. After a week or so, it now does not latch properly. Time to fix it again!

No project is going to go off without any hitches. The hitches, though, are what make the process memorable and overcoming them makes you stronger as a person and as a couple. It may frustrate you to no end during the process but, later, you can look back on it and laugh… or just sigh in relief that it’s all over.

Her Side

I’ll call these the bloopers of our side yard project, although most of them don’t seem very comical at all…  

Day one of fence post installation was a rather long one since we began putting in a walk way once the posts were up. Once our day in the yard was done, we cleaned up and were heading out the door to have dinner with Nolan’s grandparents when trouble decided to strike. Nope, it had nothing to do with our fence… I honestly think that would have gone over better than what the problem actually was. It was, in fact, our garage door that decided to malfunction. And by malfunction, what I really mean is break. Yep, the stupid thing decided it didn’t want to work correctly anymore. As soon as I realized what happened, I wanted to cry. We had accomplished so much on that Saturday and this is how our home repays us? Nolan and I were in a hurry to make it to dinner, so we did a quick inspection of the garage door (as if we know anything about them at all) and saw that a bracket had given way.

We went on our merry way to dinner knowing that we would be making a trip to Lowe’s after we ate and we were hoping they carried a replacement bracket. To be honest, I didn’t think they would because things don’t always go in our favor. So, you can imagine our surprise when we walked into the store and easily found the part we were looking for. I was excited because I thought it would be as easy as just replacing the broken part and it would be back to working like new. NOT! It didn’t come close to working like that. We replaced the bracket and it still wouldn’t work. In fact, replacing the bracket seemed to make the problem worse… if that’s even possible. Now, the garage door wouldn’t move the little amount we were able to coax it into moving a few moments before. I was ready to call in a garage door repairman because I was drained, Nolan was drained, and we had no earthly idea how to solve our problem. We took a moment and eventually called in reinforcement… twice. My mom came over to lend a hand, but we couldn’t figure out what to do so we decided to call my brother. Now, he doesn’t even have a garage door so I don’t know why I thought he would have any expertise in the area, but it was worth a try. He graciously agreed to come over and see if he could lend a hand. We realized that the door was out of square and the line that helps raise it was off of its track. There was some pushing, shoving, and hitting involved. No, we didn’t have a knock down drag out fight… we were just trying to tap that garage door back into place. It took a LOT of work, but Nolan and Jason were able to get it fixed and the garage door was back on track (pun intended).

As if that wasn’t enough of a problem to deal with while trying to get our side yard spruced up, we had an issue with the gate! We didn’t purchase a pre-fabricated gate; but, instead, decided to make one from part of the fencing panels we purchased (it’s a much cheaper option). We bought the kit and it came with “all of the necessary hardware” (so it claimed). Everything went smoothly until we began to install the latch. The screws that were included in the kit wouldn’t work. Three of us tried to drill those bad boys in but, to no avail. They just sat on the outside of the metal and spun around like a fast moving merry-go-round. We thought perhaps the screws were too large, but another quick trip to Lowe’s proved that theory wrong.

All we wanted was to have a gate that latched securely… is that too much to ask? I think not. So, we took yet another trip to Lowe’s and purchased an array of bolts (one of which was sure to solve our problem). At this point I’m pretty sure Nolan and I were already thinking about getting the strongest glue out there and just gluing that latch on there… obviously not the best option, but if it works… Thankfully, a bolt was the answer to our gate problems. I’m happy to report that the gate closes and that’s all I care about.

Sometimes life has a funny way of teaching you things. We had been so caught up these past few weeks in thinking about our yard and finally finishing our project and making it awesome that we thought our neighbors would be glad to finally see an amazing finished product. While our human neighbors might enjoy what we accomplished, one “neighbor” made it pretty apparent that he or she didn’t care too much that we invested a lot of time or effort into it. We came out to admire our yard Sunday afternoon only to see that a neighborhood pet had made our nicely manicured and mulched side yard into their own private bathroom… they clearly don’t appreciate the finer things in life.

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