Thursday, April 26, 2007

Like it or not we are getting a fence

We live in Texas, aka suburbia filled with fences. Everyone here has a fence around their backyard. I find it annoying but at the same time practical. We live on postage stamp sized lots and so it helps us avoid seeing the neighbors in their undies! One day a few years ago both my left and right side neighbors told me (at separate times) that our fence needed replacing. How is it our fence. Does Mr. Leftside not keep his fancy dogs in because it? But, Mr. Leftside Neighbor followed that comment with "I'd be willing to go in half." Fair enough. Mrs. Rightside Neighbor had a different theory. It's just a bit cockamamie but here goes.....She said that when they moved in (they were one of the first houses in the area), there was a fence on the left side and back but not the right. The builder told her that if she wanted a fence she would need to put it in herself. She did. That led her to the theory that everyone owns the fence on their right side. Never mind that there is a fence in the back. Who knows who pays for that!. So, we replaced the fence with Mr. Leftside. We approached Ms. Backdoor Neighbor and she agreed to split the cost. In the time it took me to hire someone (lots of time passed) she hired a company to do the work. When we saw that she was replacing the fence we offered to pay half. We do share it after all. That only leaves Mrs. Rightside.

It has been two years since the fence needed replacing! For the past 6-8 months it has been supported by a rope to the tree, various poles, concrete blocks and a bit of good luck. We've had some halacious winds and I keep expecting to see the thing in the middle of the street but as DH says, " It'll last another two years!" However, the truth of the matter is that we need to replace it before hurricane season. Over the past two years DH has been determined to patch, tie up, prop and generally keep the eyesore standing. However, I approached Mrs. Rightside again and asked if she wanted to share the cost of the fence. She said "If you want someone to help you pay for your fence, go to Mr. Leftside neighbor! " She was getting mad as a hatter as we talked. I decided it wasn't worth fighting over but there was no way we were running to replace the thing. We don't look at it....she does. (Oh btw, we aren't total crums. We've had every intention of replacing it but just allowed other expenses to come first. If she had been a mensch we may have acted differently. In all fairness she did say we could "Take the THING DOWN if we wanted! It made no difference to her. Sure! She also threw the pieces that fell off the thing into our yard. I mean threw! If she had even once been nice about the whole thing we would have understood. But she came out barking from the beginning conversation. Well, it is now more than an eyesore, it is a hazard. If we would really have a hurricane there would be a million projectiles and then really big trouble. So we are replacing the fence this weekend.
I went to her yesterday to tell her that the tree that is overhanging into our yard will need to be trimmed either by her or us, so that it will not be damaged while they put in the fence or lay on the fence after it is up. It turns out it is a mango tree and has loads of baby fruit on it. She said, and I quote, " Oh I was going to tell you, any of the fruit that falls into your backyard you can have!" I just wanted to sit down in the grass and roar with laughter. How magnanimous! If it falls into our yard, it's ours! Hmm...was she expecting me to heave them over the fence as she does the fallen pieces???

This is how it looks. Angle #1, looking toward the back.

See that rope through the knot in the wood. Well one particularly windy storm sent that panel and the one next to it to the ground. What's a girl to do? DH was out of town so I called in the troops, we lifted the thing up, wove the rope in and around and tied it to the Mesquite tree! It looked hilarious. See the plank at the bottom supporting the thing?

This is angle #2. Looking toward the front. Notice the two panels completely GONE! We have a cut through to Mrs. Rightsides backyard! Notice also the new front gate she added!! Complete with a separate post so she is totally independent of our fence! Hmmmm....if it's our fence why does she need a gate?????

This is a particularly nice looking view of the shared Ms. Backdoor and Mr. Leftsides fences. (My yard is a) not as big as it appears and b) not as lush as this picture depicts. I sure wish the camera made me look as good as this!) If you look close you can see the rope hanging from the poor tree.

We are not mean people. I just get so annoyed when others can't share. I spend my entire day trying to teach children to share, play fair and be kind. Then in the grown up world, the rules change. Don't tell me that she doesn't use the fence as much as we matter who's property line it is on. I have no idea if it straddles the line on or is on one side or another. Actually, I don't care. All four of us, Mr. Leftside, Ms. Backdoor and Mrs. Rightside benefit equally from the fence. It makes no sense to me to be so ugly. If she just couldn't afford it, I would have understood. I'm not convinced that that is the case.

On the plus side, I am so excited because I can fix up that side of the yard to look nicer now. I'm going to plant some peppers and a few bushes on that side of the house and forget that Mrs. Rightside lives there....until she ties her trees up to the fence! She had better think twice!


Leah S said...

Good grief! What a pain. Is your husband handy with fences? Could he just take it apart and rebuild it with the boards is already uses? Sure it'll fall apart in a few years, but then you can dump it into HER lap - "Your turn!"

Thankfully it wasn't a problem at either house my parents lived in. It did help that most of the neighbors had dogs and our dogs were big... theirs weren't so big. Our fences actually connected with 5 different neighbors! I know, most only connect to three.

Now my parents live on some land... there ain't no fences there. Unless you count the barbwire type. Or deer fences to keep them out of the garden.

Anyhow... I hope you get it resolved. She should really be paying half. If she tries to tie anything to the fence, just cut it. It's your fence now, it's your responsibility to keep it nice now and you've got a receipt to prove it! :)

paula, the quilter said...

What's that old adage about good fences make good neighbors? We only have one neighbor and he is a completely neurotic paranoid moron who hordes JUNK. The fence, which incidentally is ours will be replaced with a newer, stronger version and there will be plantings to grow taller so it screens the unsightly mess I live next too. Bah.


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