The joys of home ownership. Not that I’ve ever been one — a home owner. Not ever, beginning with my growing up years, right on through married life, to three decades of singledom. But now I am a primary contributor here in the wilds of L.A.’s lower 48. Joint responsibility with Kris. Fun, and decidedly different. In the old days as a tenant, the hot water heater blows, you just call the owner, or the owner’s management agency. A guy with the wrenches and a blow torch comes over and you vacate for a couple of hours. The bill goes to the owner. Nice.

But as a contributor, things are a little different, and we’re talking about involvement here (yikes!).

Ah, but that’s the technical part. Let’s talk about the recent item: a new gate, replacing the old and falling apart wooden one that was attached to the falling apart fence and, according to the city building code, has always opened in the wrong direction (to preclude kids and dogs from causing havoc in the pool).

A new gate. We talked about it for some time, regarding absolute need, and cost (naturally), and who might build and install such a thing. We also did a quick perusal of the rest of the house and environs where the need for enhancements might also be needed. We didn’t sense a need for security, given that break-ins are not a noticeable problem in our neighborhood. In fact — knock on wood — we haven’t even heard of one in these parts in who knows how long. The guys in the pricey digs up on the hill…well now that might be a different matter.

I think in the space of 15 or 20 seconds we threw out the idea of doing it ourselves, and then threw out the idea altogether. And when we saw what was involved — that is, to do it right — we made the calls. I’ll not mention price because if you’ve been into this kind of thing you probably have a pretty good notion of what we were looking at when we decided to say, “what the hell.”

If you haven’t, I can at least sketch the steps involved: two 7-foot pillars of block and concrete from which the metal gate is hung, and to which said fence is secured; and a semi-custom metal gate built of, oh, I don’t know, steel perhaps? It took two guys some grunting and groaning to fasten it in place while I watched. The whole operation was delayed several days, thanks to a couple of rare rain days.

No pix here, because, after all, a gate is a gate is a gate. It swings open (this time the proper way in the eyes of the city), people walk through it, and then it clicks shut. Hoo-hah. Fancy metalwork, with a screen attached to its backside, so that if I decide to flash my backside to the neighborhood it likely will result in eye-strain on the part of the folks across the street. But really, it’s sorta cool, but with a deadly warning to the guy who cleans the pool and the guys who work the yard: one nick on that newly painted gate and management will nick their respective hides with unrestrained vigor.

So what’s next? Last year it was the steps in the garden, then a hot-water heater, and now the gate. Kris keeps looking at the roof, while I keep pressing the point that we’ve actually gone 18 months at a time with not a single drop of rain.

Then again, a couple of weeks ago we were dodging rain of ark-building status…

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