fatherly nesting (post by Pete!)

Over the last three weeks or so I’ve been tackling a few projects that Sarah and I have been saving up for. The first of these stupendous endeavors was a privacy fence. This was a necessary addition for the sanity and well-being of our dogs, our baby and, well yes, mostly us. After waffling between making this a DIY job or hiring a contractor, we wisely decided to hire a contractor. I thought it would be a cinch to just let a pro do it for us not to mention a much nicer, sturdier result. I received estimates from four different fence contractors – two large companies, one guy I found on Craigslist and a smaller company (also from Craigslist). Except for one of the larger companies, all estimates were within $1,000 of each other (the anomalous and outrageous estimate was twice as much!). The two Craigslisters were the least expensive and almost exactly the same. The company I decided to go with was Braham Fence out of Raleigh. The name of the owner is Onofre  and he brought one other gentleman by the name of Elder 🙂 to help.

These guys set 41 fence posts in 5.5 hours! This is when I realized this was money well spent. Two days later Onofre and Elder returned and finished the entire fence in approximately 9 hours. I’m quite sure I would’ve spent well over 15 hours on this little project had I tried my hand at fence building. And it would’ve probably looked similar to a POW camp fence. Here are some pics of the project from start to finish (note gash in roof of shed which will be addressed later in this post):

Setting the lines

Setting the lines

Setting the posts


Voila! Jake and Graycie's paradise!

The second project was to rehab our old, dilapidated shed (or lean-to, as it stood). When I asked the previous owners of our fine house (sorry to call you ladies out) what they had stored in that building with the gaping hole in the roof they replied with a jocular, “we’re just waiting for that thing to fall over or for the city to condemn it!” Ironically enough, that building was structurally ressurrected just two days after Easter! The labor was supplied by my mother-in-law’s boyfriend, Randy, a roofer in Boone, while Sarah’s mom, Deborah, and I helped as gophers. Thanks Randy and Deb! Can’t wait to see the look on the previous owner’s face when they see this old ghost of a building!

Notice the buckling just to the bottom left of the front door

Randy raised the roof

All dried in!

Tadah! Ready for paint.

The third project, sanding the nursery and dining room floors, was a more direct nesting project. These were the last two rooms in the house that needed to be refinished. I tackled this task alone. I waited until my baby’s lovely mother went out of town with 8 other ladies for a weekend of fun in Charleston. This way I could surprise her and, more importantly, not endanger the health of Sarah nor my offspring with clouds of sawdust. Also, Sarah doesn’t handle clutter well and the house looked as though we just moved in during this entire project. She only had to deal with the mess for about five days while we let the floors dry and cure well. This was almost as hard as actually sanding and refinishing the floors. Seriously though, sanding floors is a very straight forward task but it is very time consuming. Two rooms equaling about 600 square feet took me two full days of commitment. I’m truly not using the word commitment lightly. I began sanding on Friday at 10:00 AM and the fourth coat of poly was applied at 11:55 PM on Saturday. This doesn’t include the time that it took to move the furniture out of and back into the rooms. On the bright side, this project gave me oodles of time to think…and my mind kept thinking of how my efforts on these floors would be enjoyed by my little baby girl for years to come. Even though I know she will not fully appreciate how warm and inviting the floors in her bedroom are, the work enabled me to fully appreciate and understand the value of nesting. More importantly I felt like this project at least somewhat rivaled what I expect parenthood to be — really hard work that feels really good and evokes thoughts of good things to come.

Bright and shiny dining room

I love you little Norah!


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