Fifteen months ago my brother-in-law built a fence around our garden. He did a great job, and when I went away back home to visit my family, all that was left to do was the fence and gates across the front of the house. I gave my husband this picture:
However, when I came back, what I found was this:
I stared, and stared, and then burst into tears. (Well, I was jetlagged and emotional.) “What’s the matter?” my husband asked, with a bewildered look on his face. “It’s the fence.” I sobbed. “The wood’s rough, the fence is too high, the palings on the fence are a different width to the ones on the gates, and they’re higher as well. They don’t match. And they’re not even finished! Waaaaah!”
“Don’t worry,” said my husband. “I’ll get it sorted out for you.”
For the first few weeks, I’d often ask my husband when his brother was coming back to finish the gates. Soon, he’d say, soon. Then a couple of months passed, and the gates still weren’t hung. I saw my brother-in-law. “Oh, I must come and finish off those gates,” he said. But then he got busy with work and didn’t come. So I suggested to my husband that perhaps we could hang the gates ourselves. “I’ll do it. Don’t worry,” he said.
A year later they still weren’t done. At that point, I realised what I should have known all along: if I wanted those gates to be hung, I would have to do it myself. And while I was at it, I might as well change the palings.
So, my husband and I went to the hardware store to buy a circular saw. The conversation there went like this:
My husband: My wife wants a skill saw.
Shop assistant: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
My husband: ….
Shop assistant: Oh, right. Right. You really do want a skill saw. Well, of course there’s no reason why a woman can’t use a skill saw, is there? Just be careful – you don’t want to chop off any of your fingers.
(They’re probably still talking about the time a woman came in to buy a skill saw in that shop even now.)
I tried to take the big palings off the fence, but after an hour of struggling wondered what was the point in keeping a dog and barking myself, so asked my 6’3″ tall ex-rugby forward husband to do it. It took him two weeks to get round to it, but about 10 minutes to actually do it. Once they were off, I cut the palings down to size, using my new saw, and I didn’t chop off any of my fingers, nor did my womb explode. Then I measured and marked where all the palings should go, and started to hang them. I quickly realised I needed an extra pair of hands, so once again asked my husband to help. Then I did all the measuring for the hinges, and drilled all the holes, and attached the straps, and my husband and I hung the actual gates together. And finally, after 15 months – ta daaaa:
Much better, isn’t it?
And look – these ones have even got a latch on them:
A couple of days after we finished these, a man came round to finish off replacing the putty on our windows. Last time he was here was before I’d changed the palings and got the gates done. He looked at the gates and said, “Your husband’s been busy, hasn’t he?”
That day, I added ‘digging a shallow grave’ to my to do list.