1. Involve a 57 year old round man, the Chinese GM Finance, and the 24 year old professional musician man cub, who is five days away from a six-month contract aboard a cruise ship, and filled to the brim with the desire to NOT be on the fencing crew.
2. Make sure the back yard is a primordial jungle in New Zealand, and that it slopes like the friggen Grand Canyon, only bigger.
3. Make the mistake of actually going off-site for a business meeting while Junior and the GM Finance dig the new post hole (for the third section of fence) in approximately the right place, when approximately means that your nose is approximately in the same place as your buttooskies.
4. Get home so late in the day that a) the man cub is LATE FOR SOMETHING IMPORTANT, b) the GM Finance is getting irritated that the JOB IS NOT DONE and c) mosquitoes large enough to screw a chicken standing flat-footed are taking off like fighter planes from the USS Ronald Reagan.
5. Ensure that the two members of the fencing crew who are not me, have done helpful things like choose starter nails for the fence brackets that are actually bigger than the screws, so that when you pull the nails out and try to screw in the too-small screws… nothing.
6. Everyone, at the same time, realize that the back gate has been left open and that the sister’s precious dog who we are baby-sitting for the next two years has DISAPPEARED and we are doomed. Drop wood and hammers and drills and levels and LOOK FOR THE DOG. Only to find him on the front porch chilling out.
7. Realize that the last time you built a stockade fence, your camo pants were so much looser in the waist. Sadly, they must have shrunk due to global warming. Anyway, wear them so that you resemble an Army-issue sausage. Be grateful that the work boots still fit and are reasonably good at keeping your noodle-strength ankles from actually falling off your leg stumps.
8. Make sure that when you are trying to attach the runners to the new post, before you concrete it in, so that everything fits nicely, that you have not actually purchased screws since you lived in Houston in 1990. And you need screws RIGHT NOW. So go to the shed. Search through every single damn tool box, and drawer and baby food jar and tool chest and tool pouch to find enough screws to do the job — 8 in total. Make sure that half are Phillips head, two are regular, and two are those stupid square hole things, just so that, when you are trying to drill them in, way up there above your head, while standing on a ladder, sort of leaned against a tree, that it goes just like clockwork. Or perhaps a train wreck.
9. At 6.45 p.m., after pointing out the options to the GM Finance — a) concrete the post RIGHT NOW, where the hole IS NOW, even though this means the fenceline will NOT BE STRAIGHT; or b) wait until tomorrow, redo the hole, without losing gallons of blood to the mosquito-raptors, and concrete it in properly — the GM Finance, who is thinking, “It has taken two years to get my husband and son to get this far, so we are going to DO IT RIGHT NOW” — makes that face that tells you that you really should DO IT RIGHT NOW unless you want more pain than any man can stand. For at least the next 20 years.
10. Most important of all. Tell Junior to go ahead and do his important boy stuff because you can handle the rest (90%) of the job. Because you are just that kind of Dad. But about 10 minutes after he’s left, remember that you forgot to ask him to carry the two 50-pound bags of cement, down the steep steps, through the jungle, over all the roots and dead trees, through the squadrons of savage mosquitoes, and drop them near the hole. Because it’s way better to do that yourself so that you can actually feel the disks in your back exploding.