No, really

By Mir
June 5, 2011

It took a few days to coordinate, what with our being gone for the long weekend and various other jobs to which he’s attending, but on Friday Fence Guy swore to show up here between 3:00 and 4:00 to Discuss Things given the interesting trajectory of our fence job and true to his (extremely malleable) word, he was here at 4:45.

(Do people who are late make you insane? THEY MAKE ME INSANE.)

Otto and Fence Guy spent an hour walking around the fence, outside, the fence which is now complete but which is still damaged in multiple places, uneven, with doors that are improperly hung and only occasionally work, and—the topper to this particular adventure—in the 95+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing, is now MELTING in spots. By the time I came outside to see what was up, Fence Guy wanted to know whether I prefer red or white wine.

“White,” I said, automatically. “Wait. Why?”

“Well,” he said, making sure he was more than an arm’s length away from me, “I was just telling Otto that I think the thing to do is just rip this fence down and send the material back. I hate this vinyl. Let us build you a custom cedar fence, instead. We’ll make it right. Two days, tops.”

“I HAVE HEARD THAT BEFORE,” I called over my shoulder, as I headed back into the house. “Also, I am going to need a LOT of wine.”

“You two talk it over, this weekend,” he called.

“MORE WINE, OTTO!” I answered, before slamming the door.

And how has YOUR weekend been?


  1. Chuck

    Wood does look nice but I thought the goal with the vinyl fence was low maintenance/not having to paint it? Good luck with whatever you choose to do. And every decision is easier after a glass or two of wine.

  2. barbara

    I just — I just — WHAT?!

  3. Navhelowife

    Take the Cedar. One advantage? In 10 years, any fence material is going to look dated and old. Cedar at least improves with age.
    Hoping for quick installation and so on…

  4. gaylin

    Two days top . . . yeah right, I have a bridge you can buy if you believe that, especially for custom cedar!

    A melting fence, sounds like a youtube video that would go viral.

  5. bonuela

    at least he has a sense of humor. (ducks)

    i wish i could send you my favorite scene from “the money pit” tom hanks has just had it, and is standing over a hole between the second and first floor laughing. it is not a ha-ha laugh. it is the laugh of of a man who has just LOST HIS MIND . it is hilarious.

  6. Tenessa

    ditch the wine. Grey Goose, or no wait! Patron Silver. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

  7. Heather

    Ohhhh boy. Maybe you can write off the cost of the fence since you’re getting so much blog fodder out of it? ;-)

  8. Karen R.


  9. Little Bird

    For the headaches involved in this fence ordeal, he should gift you with a case or three of wine. And a free fence.

  10. Nelson's Mama

    We don’t have a pool, but we are in the market for a home with one. I would want an iron fence – I know you have an issue with being “seen”, but I think the melting of the vinyl is main reason that I’d go with iron – air circulation, baby!

  11. The Other Leanne

    Mir, I almost got a vinyl fence just because of the “low-maintenance” claim. Except if the wind blows, or it melts (!), or it gets a film of NW mildew, it’s not really low maintenance. Fence Guy recommended a sturdy cedar fence, and I am so glad I went with it. Yeah, it will have to be re-stained every few years, but if anything is damaged I can find a replacement piece at Big Box Store and do it myself with no special tools or expertise required.

    White AND red, I’d say, given what you’ve been through.

  12. Lulu

    Does “We’ll make it right” mean “will cost no more than you’ve already paid, with a lifetime(or at least 10 year) guarantee, and done on time & correctly”?
    …yeah. that’s what I was afraid of.
    And you’re getting something in writing from them before moving ahead with anything else, right?

  13. divrchk

    Go with the cedar and good luck! Yikes!

  14. MomCat

    There is hardly enough wine in the world. Unbelievable!!!

    P.S. Aren’t you glad the weather was really hot right now and not next summer? The sight of a melting fence would make me go all surrealist and possibly postal on the fence company.

  15. Kim W.

    The thing that has made this story so unbelievable to me is that… my builder-husband builds a 100′ fence in two days by himself. That’s cutting the wood, digging the holes, filling with cement. The most time consuming part is waiting for the cement to dry.

  16. amanda

    At this point everything should be put in writing. This could end up in court… just sayin’

  17. Debra

    Lots of white and some Godiva. Or at least a bag of Dove.

  18. Laura

    Take it! Vinyl fencing sucks. It is brittle, it damages easily (rock projected by the weedeater? Giant hole in fence), and the material does not hold up well to intense, extended hot weather. Get a lot of wine, too, but take the fence.

  19. RuthWells

    Holy mother of god. Seriously?!?!!!

  20. Michelle

    I have no construction experience. If you had let me start building your fence when they started building your fence, it would be done by now.

    May I recommend a nice cold lemon drop martini?

  21. beth s

    I’d go for them ripping it out, giving back your money, and hiring someone else to put in a real wooden fence. Vinyl fences were popular here a few years ago and now they all look like crap. The summer heat does very bad things to plastic. We can’t even keep a pool toy for more than 1 summer since the few hours a day in the sun eats it and destroys everything. The wood fence we put in over 7 years ago has never needed anything except an occasional nail to replace one that has popped out. Aging actually makes them look better and we never even bothered to stain or waterseal the thing. My parents’ fence has been up a good 20 years with nothing but a couple boards replaced when the dog decided to chew his way thru to the neighbors’ yard.

  22. StephLove

    We just got a cedar fence and it smelled so nice before we got it painted. I almost wish we had left it unpainted.

  23. Lynda M O

    No Way, Mir. I would be apoplectic by now too and wine wouldn’t cut it.

  24. Jen

    You want a barrel. A vat. And a poolboy. And a massage. And someone to peel your grapes while telling you how pretty you are. :)

  25. Amy


    Someday you will love your (unpainted, maybe stained, but definitely not painted) cedar fence. ;)

  26. Beth R

    Are you KIDDING us???

    Does this guy realize that he now owes you two fences, a year’s worth of therapy and a vineyard?

    At HIS expense!

  27. meghann

    bonuela is right, that scene in The Money Pit is the BEST PART. I say watch it while you drink your case of wine. :D

  28. Steph

    Ho-ly crap. This stinks. Majorly.

  29. elz

    He meant, “Let us build it for you for free, right?” and also that they are bringing you a case of your favorite wine b/c OMG.

  30. Heather Cook

    I think that’s great! LOL Also because it’s not me.

  31. Stimey

    It’s never going to end.

    I am sending much fence fairy dust your way. Cedar is nice, right?

  32. Laura

    at this point, there may not *be* enough wine. Like, anywhere. Also, I’m with you on the tardiness thing. I do not understand people who have a casual relationship with time.

  33. addy

    Ummmm – what?

  34. Kathy

    Actually, this post made me happy! I think you’ll be happy, too, well, once it’s all finished and the hangover headache goes away!

    Enjoy the wine, my friend!

  35. Brigitte

    Maybe just a barrel o’ wine big enough to pickle the guy in (and not to be drunk, obviously). My weekend was perfect, by comparison!

  36. Ladybug Crossing

    Your fence guy is on the same schedule as my pool guy… I wonder if they are related…
    More wine is definitely in order.

  37. Peggy Fry

    Cedar totally rocks. Let it air out a week or three and then get them (or you guys with a sprayer) to put a water seal on it. It will last a long time. Vinyl looks like trailer park stuff… and it melts…as you found out. Cedar is great. And I hope it is free!

  38. Jill W.

    I say take the cedar. And I agree that anything you agree to with them should be in writing. I would also try to negotiate some sort of penalty system so that they have x number of days to complete the job to your satisfaction and each day they go beyond that results in a penalty of x dollars credited to the your bill.

    At this point they should be trying to avoid legal action from you.

  39. Heather

    You have got to be kidding me. He wants to put something up that you didn’t want in the first place. He should have told you from the beginning that he did not like the vinyl that much & recommend the cedar then let you make your own decision. I would still report him to the Home Builders Association Board & the BBB. Plus REFUSE to pay another penny.

    Since I deal with the vinyl & cedar in my job IF he had gotten the quality vinyl it would not have melted & it would have lasted you YEARS without a lot of maintenance ((other than spraying it down every now & then to know the dirt & build up off) in a few years the cedar is going to start having some spots in it & woodpeckers LOVE cedar…Ask him if they do the vinyl composite coating (its a cement compound coating that is painted on & is just as good as vinyl) so at least you will have the vinyl look & your wood will last a little longer…

  40. TC

    Sorry, but I kinda like him. Anyone who understands the ameliorative powers of a nice bottle of wine…

    I assume the new fence will be free/cost no more than the vinyl?

  41. Alexandra

    Went to vote for someone on Babble, and ended up here instead.


    You, now on my blogroll.

  42. Sara

    A cedar fence sounds pretty darn nice, as does some good wine–but I would be leery of using your same fence guy for that. Good luck!

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