Well, as you can see, we got the fence back up, though it did take a few days longer than expected. I managed to get the old post out of the ground well enough. See that big “log” on the ground in front of the fence? If you click on the picture, you’ll see that it’s really not a log at all. It’s the two feet of concrete that the old post was set into… two feet of concrete that I had to dig out of the ground before I could plant the new post.
I suppose I should be grateful, though. The guy that put up our fence used an auger to plant the posts, so the holes are all nice and neat – smooth cylinders of concrete straight into the ground, and relatively easy to find and dig loose. Not so easy to get out of the ground by yourself, though. I mean, that much concrete is heavy!
However, I managed it all right, though I had to go wide enough with the hole so that I could get enough leverage with the shovel to help lift it out. And that meant that the nice, neat, round hole, was no longer nice, neat, or round. Now I had an oblong, ragged, gaping hole in the ground, with considerably more volume to fill than I had bought concrete for. But yours truly is nothing if not inventive. You see, I get buckets from the local bakery for use in my various gardening experiments. They’re free, and give me considerable freedom to test out various ideas for planting, irrigation, or to just carry tools around.
In this case, I just sacrificed the bottoms of two of them, cutting them out so that I had a couple of empty plastic cylinders. I poured a little concrete in the bottom of the hole, slid the first bottomless bucket around the new post, filled it with more concrete, and when it was full, repeated the process, stacking the second one on top of the first. The end result was a post set within concrete filled buckets that were then easily surrounded with the fill dirt I had dug out in order to remove the old post.
So there I was, feeling quite clever… old post still propped up, holding the horizontal rails and fence in place so the dogs couldn’t get out and nothing else could get in. The new post was standing straight up in the ground (I knew it was straight, since I had repeatedly checked it with the level while placing it). And that was when I realized that the horizontal posts from the old fence had to go into the new post before the concrete completely set.
And I still hadn’t even taken them off of the old post!
The next several minutes were filled with me frantically struggling to remove the fencing staples that held the fence to the rails with a screwdriver and hammer, all the while hoping the “QuickCrete” I had bought, wasn’t so quick that I wouldn’t be able to move that post to get the rails into the holes on the new post. And after considerable hammering and prying at the staples, (you know, those crazy “U”-shaped, double-headed nails?) and more than a little bit of cussing, I managed to get the rails loose from the fence itself, and then from the old, broken, post.
And the concrete hadn’t set so much that I wasn’t able to move the post. So I shoved the new post out a bit, placed the horizontals in place, and shoved the new upright back into place, all with the concrete still pliable enough to fill back into the hole. Crisis averted. Whew!
At that point, the new post and rails were in place, but the concrete hadn’t set well enough to put any tension on them. The QuickCrete bag said it would be four to six hours at a minimum, so I still had to prop the old fence back up again with old lumber (and a bit of wishful thinking) right up against the new post.
Saturday came, and as promised, brought with it more than enough rain to keep us from working on the fence any further. No big deal though, we still had Sunday, right? (sigh)
Unfortunately, Sunday brought its own set of issues… namely, me. I’d been having problems with my asthma for the last few weeks, which let me know that I was probably getting ready to have a full-blown allergic reaction sometime soon. “Soon” ended up being Sunday.
MBH and I got up and made cinnamon rolls. It was another experiment for us, as we had never made them before. They turned out pretty good, though as with most experiments, there was room for improvement and we’ve already decided how we’re going to change the recipe for next time. After breakfast, we bundled up (Saturday’s rain brought more cold weather with it and the temperature was down into the upper 30s), and took the girls for a brisk morning walk. That was all it took.
Many years ago, I was diagnosed with exercise induced allergies. My first attack was when I was a teen. I had just finished one of my karate classes, and was jogging home when I started noticing how much my feet were hurting. Within a few minutes, I was having trouble breathing, and by the time I made it home, I was in the midst of my first asthma attack, accompanied by my first experience with hives. My mom freaked (understandably), and rushed me to the local emergency clinic, where the doctors also just about had a cow. To be fair, I suppose I would have done the same. I mean, you see a thirteen year old kid on the table, face so swollen that his eyes are barely able to open, and he’s wheezing like his throat is swollen shut. My mom told me later that they were about ready to trache me. Luckily, one of the docs recognized my symptoms, administered a dose of adrenaline, and within several minutes, I was breathing normally again and the swelling was going back down.
Since that first time, I’ve learned to deal with this as a normal part of my life. I’ve also learned to recognize the symptoms leading up to an attack, and minimize their effect. MBH has also learned to help me deal with them. Because of the tightness of chest and trouble breathing I’d been experiencing for the last few weeks, we knew it was coming. And since I had shut down the last few attacks before they’d really run their course, we suspected I was due for a relatively bad one. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as we had feared, though as you can see in the picture, I did end up with a few hives.
But the end result was that my Sunday was spent kicked back, trying not to scratch, while I tried to let the attack run its course. A few hours of hives, with the accompanying itching, swelling, high blood pressure, and asthma, meant that I wasn’t about to be outside working on the fence. Instead, I ended up sitting like a lump in the easy chair, waiting on the symptoms to peak so I could take a Benadryl and crash.
But Monday, I finally got to get outside to finish the freaking fence. Yay! It’s still not perfect. It turns out that I set the pole a couple of inches higher than the original, and the gate is about an inch higher off the ground than it was. And while there’s nothing I can do about the post being higher, there is enough adjustment in the gate itself to line it up properly.
So that’s it for my “Post about the Post”.
End Point Pangaea – EPP now sits at nearly 55k words, and is still moving. This has been my main focus (other than visiting family, fence posts, and allergic reactions ), so no other real writing news to report.
The Burning Land – “But wait,” you say. “I thought there wasn’t any other writing news.” That’s true. However, I’ve done a bit of recording, and am going to see about releasing TBL as audio via ACX and Audible. We’ll have to see how that works out. But with the changes that Amazon has made in terms since they bought out ACX, it’s very difficult to find voice actors who are willing to work for a royalty split. These days, they want payment up front, and for anyone that does a decent job, the cost is usually at least $200 per finished hour. Since ACX lists Year 12 as an estimated 12.8 finished hours, that means I would have to come up with roughly $2600 to have it produced. And I just don’t have that kind of money. So it occurred to me that perhaps I could do it myself. But I need to start with something smaller… MUCH smaller. Most sources agree that you can count on working about eight to ten hours per finished hour when you begin audio work. Thus, this experiment with TBL. I’ve already recorded the basic reading, and I already have the software, and know how to use it. I’ve used it to record my promos for my other books. Now it just remains to be seen if I can get a decent enough production level to put out something good enough to Audible. That means editing out the miscellaneous train whistles from town, jet noises as they pass overhead, stomach gurgles from when I try to record just after eating (lesson learned there), wind whistling through the trees, laptop fan when it kicks on… I think you get the idea. But IF I can get all that done, and manage to produce a decent audio file, then I might consider tackling the recording for Y12.
And that’s it for now. Time to get back to writing. So for now, stay safe everyone, and I’ll talk to you next time.