Specifically, from my household’s point of view, the AL East was hypnotically compelling, despite (if not because of) the fact that nothing was changing in the standings. The Yankees had a one game lead over the Orioles. The Yankees held that one game lead for six days. They did so while winning every single one of their games, as the O’s countered by winning every single one of their games. And plenty of those games on both sides were in extra innings, or involved comebacks (in some cases both!), and walk-off home runs, and all I could do was try to explain to my wife that the very concept of the Magic Number is kind of moot when it’s exactly equal to the number of games remaining on the schedule for the regular season. My wife, meanwhile, steadfastly refuses to admit that the O’s are essentially bound for the post-season and all we’re trying to determine now is seeding. (Well and also who has to play the one-game Wild Card play-in game, which I readily grant is not insignificant.) In an effort to stave off the jinx, my wife will not countenance any interpretation of any scores or current standings as anything other than proof that the O’s season is over. I think the best case scenario is that when the playoffs start, she’ll be pleasantly surprised that the O’s are taking part.
Worst case scenario, when the playoffs start her head will a’splode.
But speaking of going over the fence, allow me to go over the current situation with … our new fence! I am somewhat relieved to report that our backyard is safely enclosed once again, and we still have two dogs (both in the sense that, although there were some running away incidents, they were always eventually returned, and also that during the months they were spending way more time indoors than usual, neither one was kicked to death). We used to have a six-foot picket fence separating the front yard from the back and our back yard from the neighbors’, and then a lower split-rail fence along the back of the property and up to the stairs of the deck; now it’s just the pickets all the way around, including a new gate between the front and back yard replacing the old and crooked one, which is pretty sweet. Of course the fence consists of nakedly wooden posts and slats, so for the past few weekends I’ve been endeavoring to get it all stained and weatherproofed and whatnot. It’s just a lot of surface to cover, with lots of corners that can’t just be rollered in quick sweeps. So despite how liberating it is to not have to worry about drop cloths or masking tape and just blithely let the excess stain splatter where it will, the project has consumed most of two Saturdays and one Sunday, and I’m only a half or maybe two-thirds of the way done.
And that’s only measuring against the work I’ll actually be able to do. My neighbor (who was technically the one who had the fence separating our yards replaced, though my new fence and his look virtually identical) stopped by the other day as I was working on the gate section, and he jokingly asked me if I was going to keep going and stain his section of the fence too. Truth be told I would have no problem doing that whatsoever, because that way all the fencing around my yard would look the same, but before I could answer one way or the other my neighbor said “Just kidding, actually the guys who installed mine said it had just been pressure-treated and needs time to dry, so don’t stain it until next year.”
So I’m going to have a two-tone fence for six months or so, it would seem. As I said, I still have a little ways to go to finish the sections I had installed (and, for the record, nobody told me one way or the other when to stain or not stain my fence, so I’m hoping that I’m not shooting myself in the foot here, but we shall see!) and I’m determined to at least get those segments evened out. Honestly it was a bit of a stressful summer on a fundamental, unresolvable level because I just had this constant, nagging feeling that we needed to get the fence in but it just wasn’t getting done, for a variety of reasons, most if not all of which were out of my hands. But I do, inevitably, feel responsible for the physical well-being of the house, the lawn, the property in general because I’m the Man of the House, so I felt like I should have been taking more action. This led, after a second storm knocked the end of a very large branch into our yard while leaving it still semi-attached to the tree, to me attacking said giant branch myself after work one evening with a firewood maul and a woodworking handsaw to get one more obstacle to the fence installation out of the damn way. This was probably a pretty dumb thing to do (compounded by using recklessly wrong tools for the job) but I just couldn’t abide doing nothing anymore. And now, I have something very much within my power to do, however tedious it is getting stain into every joint and side slat of the new fence, so I am going to do it, no matter how many weekends it consumes.
And if we get some freakish early October blizzard before I can finish the job, I’ll shovel out the fence and run an extension cord out to a crockpot to keep the can of stain thawed, I suppose.