Remember The Song that Never Ends, the children’s song that bores into your head and makes you insane?
If it looks like I am trying to fence a vast primordial jungle, that’s just distortion from the camera lens.
My back yard is way bigger than that.
By my reckoning, I should get the fence done about a week before I die, notwithstanding any unexpected heart attacks.
I think we started this section three or four years ago, but the actual history of the The Fence That Never Ends goes back 14 years.
After we moved into this house in West Auckland, N.Z., at the foot of the Waitakere Ranges, I got the 5-month-old Moosedawg from the dog pound.
In addition to being enormously diggy and barky, he was also insanely bouncy, hence our small fence was useless.
At the suggestion of my neighbors, and the City Council, we had a stockade fence erected in the front.
The Missus wanted to fence the back yard, as well, which, as I mentioned above, is very similar to Yellowstone National Park, only with bigger trees.
I was less than thrilled with the idea. To my credit, I successfully delayed the massive undertaking for over a decade, which, if you knew the Missus, should qualify me for a Nobel Prize.
But all good things must end, especially when women are involved, so a few years ago the Missus started to “make noise” about wanting the back yard fenced.
If I were to describe that noise, it would be something liked The Song That Never Ends, sung with a Singaporean accent.
To be fair, the Missus had her reasons. She’d spent untold hours at hard labor, ridding the back yard jungle of a wildly invasive ivy. But her efforts were being undone by the neighbor’s evil ivy, which kept invading our back yard, like the Huns.
This makes the Missus unhappy. And when the Missus is unhappy, I get a dull, throbbing pain in the back of my head.
So, finally, because of the stupid ivy, and the throbbing pain in my head, I had to admit defeat and start work on The Fence That Never Ends.
Now, I may look stupid, but I’m really not.
So before a single nail was hammered, I negotiated a masterful agreement with the Missus which called for me, with Junior’s sporadic help, to concrete in the fence posts, nail up the runners, and mark and drill each individual fence board so that the Missus, in her good time, could nail them up one at a time.
And it got even better.
About that time, the Missus decided to go to university. And, since Junior was also away at college, my strategic delaying tactics paid off in spades!
Give that man another Nobel Prize!
But, as I said, all good things must end, if women are involved, and they are singing The Song That Never Ends, with a Singaporean accent.
So I drafted the trusty Honda station wagon into service, and hauled in fencing posts, runners, boards, nails, brackets, and fast drying concrete.
Well, at least I started to haul in the bags of concrete.
After I lugged the first of the 55-pound bags down the stone stairs, down the slippery hill and through the primordial jungle, every disk in my back exploded. So we needed a short time out for rehab.
After the pain had subsided to the point when my back hurt less than my head (which was throbbing because of The Song That Never Ends), I got out the trusty post hole digger and began digging holes. Through the dirt, rocks and tree roots.
Thankfully, Junior would visit at the weekends and do the heavy lifting and serious digging. The two of us would then set a few posts, and nail up the runners.
But even with his muscles, for every section of fence we built, I figured out that I had to make 1.5 visits to the physiotherapist and consume a box of anti-inflammatories.
Which was just awesome.
Fast forward a few years to today.
I am old enough to know better than to work on a project that is only slightly larger than building the Hoover Dam.
But I am only the man of the house. There is also a woman of the house, who is singing that song.
So the fence must be built, albeit at a slower pace than when I was younger and did not have a shoulder baby (torn shoulder ligament) and worn out shoulder joint.
Thankfully, my bodaciously fit son, when he is not on tour playing piano, can gorilla around fence posts as if they were twigs.
Unthankfully, and that should be a word, we are not a crack family of professional fence builders.
Junior’s experience with building is limited to Lego blocks. His mother has helped immensely by “supervising” and falling into a post hole, up to her waist.
Not to be outdone, I have mis-measured, wrong-cut and plain forgot so many things that I cannot remember them all. (Because I forget).
But by God’s grace and miracles, The Fence That Never Ends is slowing going up. There have been no broken bones, and the riot police have only been called in twice to calm the disturbance.
By my reckoning, this sucker should be built by the end of our *summer (your winter).
At least the west side will be built.
At which point the Missus will start singing that song, again, about the unfenced east side, and that neighbor’s evil, invading ivy.
So I will get another steroid shot in the shoulder baby, and construction on the final section of The Fence That Never Ends will begin.
Hand me a beer and some ibuprofen, would you?
*Are you new here?
Click HERE for another adventure in my primordial back yard involving chainsaw spider monkeys.
Click HERE for the painful tale of the middle-aged shoulder baby.
Click HERE for more stories about being Mid-50s Denny Crane in New Zealand.