Sunday, December 23, 2007

It Had To Happen Someday, I Suppose

With a skip full of jobs to do around the house today I was not pleased when Mrs Stevie came in from her organized religion and announced that someone had "tagged" our cedar fence.

Some years ago, in order to make sure the Stevieling could play in peace without being subjected to the fbleepckwit goings on of Crazy Joe et al next door I ran tall fencing around the perimeter of the back garden. The side of the house features a nice 70 foot long seamless cedar panel I engineered with a friend over the course of about two days or so, and it has stood as a proud testament to our constructional skills ever since. I have occasionally marveled that the long, flat surface hasn't been visited by our publicly literate youth, so today was more of a long-expected thing than a complete surprise.

It still pissed me off.

Each eight foot panel for this fence would cost a significant portion of 100 dollars to replace, depending on where I got it, and I had no pressure washer1 with which to clean the paint off. Grumbling, I grabbed a cloth and made for the scene of the crime, where it seemed that the moron responsible had run out of paint almost immediately, limiting the damage to about eight slats.

When I rubbed the paint with a cloth I found we had lucked out. The fence was so filthy that the paint hadn't keyed into the wood at all, but floated on a film of greasy grime. I grabbed a bucket and filled it with warm soapy water, and by using a scrubbing brush was able to clean those eight slats quite quickly.

As I was doing this, one of my neighbours for the other end of the street pulled up in his Chrysler LeMountainGoat and offered me the use of his pressure washer.

I was touched by this offer since I didn't really know the guy. I explained that I wasn't cleaning the whole fence, just the damaged part. His face fell a bit (as I have said before, My neighbours live in constant hope I will maintain my property better. For my part I live in hope that they will leave me in peace and stop dumping grass-killing crap on my grass verge and emptying their ash-trays along my property line. We live in a state of mutual disrespect).

The soap proved surprisingly good at cleaning the fence back to a nice orange colour though. I might use a scrubbing brush on the whole thing next year instead of a (new) pressure washer. I had no idea it would work so well. Normally the weathering is so bad that you need to fetch off a couple of thousandths of an inch of wood. Which is where the pressure washer proves itself supreme. You can turn a fence into papier maché in no time with a properly adjusted pressure washer. I digress.

So now our fence sports a nice orange stripe in a field of grey. I expect the tagger will see this as a challenge, so I am mulling ideas on how to catch the little bleeder in the act. Some sort of CCTV camera setup, but how to do it?

Ah well. We should be okay tonight. The wind has come up something fierce, which must make spray painting things problematical.

I can hear the siding trying to come off the house as I type.

  1. mine having gone south last summer

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