I haven’t really had a chance to write about the dogs. Probably because the dogs take up a lot of my doggone time!!! I love the dogs though. I just wish they weren’t so much trouble.
Chiefly this dog: Spreckles. Spreckles is pure trouble. It’s really not her fault at all that she’s so much trouble. She’s a six-month-old Australian Shepherd-Queensland Blue Heeler mix that my mom keeps in her house—her studio apartment that is only one room big. That translates to pure torture for a 30-pound bag of springs that has been bred for centuries to run ten miles a day chasing cattle.
I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. My mom’s dog needs to run, preferably not into my neighbor’s yard who happens to be deathly afraid of dogs.
And so, I’m having neighbor issues.
I’ve been really really friendly to my neighbor but because of the dogs getting out constantly, he’s afraid to leave his house. I totally understand where he’s coming from. Our dogs, though super-cute and lovable to us, can be pretty scary to others. In fact, they can be downright snarly. I’ve been thankful for their over-protective tendencies since this is the first time I’ve ever lived alone with single-pane windows and on the ground floor where my laptop shines like a beacon blinking “steal me! steal me!” all night long because I refuse to buy dark drapes…but you know, not so good for neighborly relations.
So while I’m afraid of people breaking into my house, my neighbor is afraid of our scary snarly dogs. I’m afraid of guns and he has several. We have both been living in fear of each other. I don’t think he’s going to break into my house but I have to admit when it’s late late late at night I do sometimes get paranoid. He meanwhile has gotten so fed up with the dogs that slingshot onto his property regularly that he has threatened to shoot them. If he shoots them, I’m sure the bullets would go right through the dogs and the tin can I live in that is called a mobile home. It’s not really a very good living situation.
Add to this tension the fact that my mom has trouble keeping her crazy crack-head dog on her leash because her hands are arthritic and she can’t keep a good grasp on the leash when she’s walking Spreckles over to my yard in the early morning hours. Often it’s very cold and her fingers just don’t bend. But she has to let the dog out. She’s a bag of springs!
Our first problem was the wall. My nice big huge backyard is walled in on both sides by a cinder blocks. They’re so old they are pink. Did you know you can’t buy pink cinder blocks anymore? I didn’t. But now I’m an expert in cinder blocks and all kinds of fencing since I’ve had everything from bricks to wood to that fake plastic white fencing to finally chain link priced backwards and forwards.
Anyway, the problem with my wall is that it’s graduated. It starts at about five feet in the very back and then graduates down in steps until it’s about three feet in the front and then about one foot in the very front yard by the curb. I guess that was the style back in the late sixties when this mobile home tract was designed.
It’s all fine and dandy except when Spreckles jumps over it and charges our neighbor and his two-year-old son. I didn’t really have the budget to put in a new fence but I didn’t really have the budget for a lawsuit either. So we kept the dogs in the house as much as possible, walked them as much as possible and saved our pennies like nobody’s business for a grand fence project.
In the end a family friend agreed to put in a chain link fence for FREE for us. My parents and I only had to split the cost of the supplies. This family friend is one of those kind of friends. I am eternally grateful. He probably saved me 800 bucks. Because putting in a chain link fence in a really big backyard is not easy or cheap.
We thought we’d hit the jackpot when one of my aunts offered us the old fencing from her chicken yard. That did help us out a lot but in the end most of it was not usable. So we probably spent about $400 on supplies. It’s a lot but it’s so much less than I would have had to pay if I hired a company to do it.
This is John Jenson, our family friend who’s a handyman. He’s wasn’t a fencing expert before this job. In fact, I don’t think he ever put in a fence before. But he is a fencing expert now. It took him about a month with my dad helping when he was in town and me helping in between freelance graphic-design jobs and a cousin helping on an odd weekend.
It was a Project with a capital P. He worked through the weather, through the prickliest of prickly cacti and he’s afraid of dogs too. I really cannot even say how thankful I am for his hard labor. I did bring him endless glasses of lemonade but that was not nearly enough to pay him for all the sweat and tears he put into this job. Not that he cried of course, but I may have.
Even CC helped. She’s in town, by the way! It’s so good to have her around. She’s only here for two weeks to pack up their old house and move up to Northern California. I don’t know if I updated you guys on their plans. My brother got a job up in Yreka and the whole family has moved up there. They are living in an old ranch house alongside the Klamath river. It’s very pretty up there and cold. My nieces are in new schools and adjusting. We miss them terribly.
Yesterday was CC’s first day in town and she helped John Jenson drill in the last few clamps to the fence. As you can probably see, we bought one length of chain link fencing and then cut it so that it could go farther. It’s bolted to the existing brick wall. It’s not the prettiest fence you’ve ever seen but it’s very effective. Nobody, dog or kid is getting over or under that fence. I’m so relieved.
It’s really nice to have a safe and secure backyard again.
The dogs are happy. I’m happy. And with enough prayer, maybe even my neighbor will be happy someday.