I suspect it comes as no surprise to anyone when I say that I’m a little Jekyll-and-Hyde-ish. (Often leaning heavily towards Hyde.)
Let me just state this for the record: I built some shit this weekend. I also put on a dress and painted my toenails. And swore a lot.
The swearing was mostly because of the dress and the toenails, and because I had to stop building stuff at like noon on Saturday to brush off all the sawdust and go to my cousin’s wedding. I love all of my cousins, even when they have the gall to get married right when I’m in the middle of building a fence– if I didn’t, I wouldn’t send them expensive tools as wedding gifts– but at the exact moment that I have to stop a project to paint my toenails, I sometimes lose my shit.
So, I knew I had this wedding to attend this weekend, and I also knew that come hell or high water, I was going to take care of this…
Building a fence around this eyesore has been on my list for years.
That’s on the side of the barn that faces my house, and there’s an 8×20 concrete pad that contains one out-of-use propane tank, a bunch of junk, and a small jungle’s worth of weeds.
I’ve been planning this project in my head for a while, and, after much debate (that was mostly influenced by the fact that I’m going to poke my own eyeball out with a shovel if I have to dig one more post-hole this year) I decided to mount fence post brackets directly to the concrete. It also means the fence will be flush with the front of the garage, and weeds around the fence will be slightly easier to control.
So the first step was to figure out if I could mount the brackets to the concrete pad. Saturday morning I tried drilling 1/2″x3″ holes in the concrete using a straight-shank concrete bit and my drill…
I thought this might be a pain in the ass– because it ALWAYS is, when you aren’t using the right tools for the job– and if we’re going to count the number of times I went a little Hyde over the course of the weekend, this would be the first one.
(The Makita works just fine for pre-drilling and setting standard sized tapcons, by the way, but 1/2″ was maxing out what it could realistically do… despite a valiant effort.)
At this point, because I had limited time and even less patience, I did what any reasonable girl does when her tools aren’t doing the job…
And it was a sad, sad moment when right after I got home from the store– before I could even unwrap my new baby– I had to put on a party-dress and start doing shots of Jameson with my dad.
That’s the sum total of things I got done on Saturday, by the way: Drill half of one hole, bought a new hammer-drill, painted my toenails, did a shot with my dad. Not my most productive day ever.
So Sunday I was bound and determined to make some progress. I got all set up, pulled out my new hammer-drill, and then realized that none of my concrete bits would work in the SDS system. Then, more swearing. There might have been some angry texts to my dude. I drove back to the store, bought the right bits, drove back home, and tried to stop my left eyeball from twitching.
Then this happened…
HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS, this thing drilled through the concrete like it was butter. Reaffirming, yet again, that a girl can’t own too many power tools. I actually sent a follow-up text to my dude telling him that I felt the need to formally retract all the nasty things I said and thought about this drill while driving back to get new bits, because once I got it set up it worked beautifully.
So 2PM on Sunday was really when I started making actual progress on this project. In no time flat I had anchors in place.
One of my friends bought me what I like to call “big girl crayons” for my birthday, and dammed if they didn’t come in handy for marking the placement of the anchors on the concrete.
Next up was setting the 6′ 4×4 posts…
With help, of course.
Then I started adding deck boards on to complete the fence…
Since this was a one-woman job, I got clever with some spacers and a bracing board to hold things in place while I pre-drilled and sank some deck screws.
I did get a helping-hand in the evening, which made installing the top boards a lot easier, and adding the rest of the decking much faster…
And boy does it look better already.
I still need to build the gate for this end of the fence…
And stain everything. And also paint the wall of the barn behind it (and add fascia and trim). Oh, and finish the pergola. So… I’ve still got a little ways to go before this part of the property stops being an eyesore, but it’s looking better already.
Plus, no matter how far I still have to go, it feels fantastic to have made some progress.