2011-06-30 / General Stories

How To Acquire A Picket Fence

“Wouldn’t a nice picket fence look great across the front of our yard?” my husband asked.

“Really?” It was so unlike my husband to come up with an idea that was so perfect. I’d always thought a white picket fence lined with some small shrubs was picturesque. Some colorful flowers peeking through the shrubs would make it absolutely gorgeous. It’s what you might imagine when you first dreamt of buying your first home. So pretty and cozy. Maybe we could add a little bench under one of the shade trees and a small gazing pool with goldfish, I thought.

“Yeah,” my husband said, “It’ll keep the neighbor’s dogs from doing their business in our yard.”

“Oh,” I mumbled, as the idyllic scene in my head shattered into a million pieces and was replaced by dogs defecating on my begonias.

Still, if he could be convinced to put up that fence, I could complete the scenario with the flowers and shrubs. Did I really care what his motivation was? No, as long as I get my picket fence.

“You’re right,” I said. “Those darn dogs think they can drop a load anywhere they want. A picket fence is the perfect solution.”

“We can tack a sign to it that says “Dear Dogs, We Don’t Poop In Your Yard, Please Don’t Poop In Ours.””

I looked at him in horror. “You can’t put a sign like that on our new picket fence!”

“Why not?”

“Because dogs aren’t the only ones who can read, you know!” Obviously, my sanity had deserted me. It tends to stick around only for short visits.

My husband gave me the “duh” look but, mercifully, said nothing.

I decided not to go on about the sign. Not only would it impede the progress of a new picket fence, but I might say something stupid again. I only needed my husband’s help constructing the fence, after all. If he insisted on tacking up an obnoxious sign in the middle of my little piece of heaven, the sign could always meet with an unfortunate accident; possibly at the hands ( paws) of our neighbor’s dogs. I haven’t worked out the details yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

As always, my husband has the wonderful ideas and I am left with the task of making it happen. Where can we buy a picket fence? Should we simply buy the wood and make the pieces? How much will each option cost? And which piggy bank will we rob to pay for it?

Will it be the vacation piggy bank, the piggy bank we use when our hot water heater blows up, or will we take it out of our food and clothing budget?

Not the vacation stash, definitely not the vacation. The hot water heater hasn’t been replaced in eight years and we haven’t had a transmission problem in four years. The law of averages says we’re due for a catastrophe.

We’re on a diet and it’s irresponsible to buy new clothes just before a catastrophe, so the food and clothing budget will take the picket fence hit.

I laid out the plan for my master builder. He was pleased that I had found a way to pay for the picket fence, but cheating on his diet would now be much more difficult.

The plan was accepted. However, the project wheels turn very slowly at my house. Some days they may not turn at all. My only concern is that the neighbor’s dogs will expire of old age before I get my picket fence.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at lsnyder@lauraonlife.com

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