My whole life I have been plagued with one very serious personality trait: I follow the rules precisely and exactly. Being a rule follower isn’t a bad thing. In fact, according to teachers, law enforcement and bosses, it is a really good trait to have and while it tends to keep me out of trouble, it does have its downsides. Mostly, when I strictly adhere to rules others are breaking, it makes me incredibly angry. This has led to some fun encounters in life.
Now, one more piece of information before I move on to my story. My mother, whom I love dearly, couldn’t follow a rule if it was branded to the inside of her eye lids. In fact, I truly believe that she views rules more as challenges.
The deal at the new house is that the horses can live there free of charge, but we are responsible for all maintenance. Pretty great deal. One of the biggest and the most immediate need is fencing. About this same time, a beautiful farm directly across from our current neighborhood was declared a new subdivision with plans to tear down any existing structures including a beautiful white vinyl horse fence that surrounded the entire 50+ acre property.
My mom saw this and told us to go take the fence.
Tempting for sure, but there was something about a massive NO TRESPASSING sign and the thought of spending the night in jail that didn’t seem too appealing to me.
She assured me nobody would care, but I wasn’t convinced. I mean, sure the place was abandoned and someone had managed to steal the front door to the house already, but two people wrenching a fence off the perimeter of the property alongside a very busy road wouldn’t be hard to miss. The very thought of seeing blue lights coming towards me sent me in a near panic attack.
Instead I talked her into calling the company on the sign and asking for permission. Yes, that goes completely counter to the idea of stealing it, but this way I wouldn’t get arrested. Supposedly we got our permission although this was all word of mouth and even after several requests to get something in writing, I’m sorry officer but really some lady at the company told us we could take it, it never appeared.
We finally grew tired of waiting and took advantage of the Bible Belt to sneak across the road while everyone was at Sunday church service. We began in the back and were both very tense and constantly looking over our shoulders for those tell tale flashing lights.
Now, anyone who has ever built a fence will immediately know the futility of this task. We had about 6 hours of daylight on a damp and grey Sunday to remove 50 acres of 3 board vinyl fencing. With two adults, a toddler and a screw driver.
We began on the first partition. We already figured the posts would be cemented in and didn’t plan on removing those although we were hopeful that maybe they skimped a little in installation. No.
Moving on to the first set of horizontal boards, we tugged. It didn’t budge. We tugged some more. Nope. Then we dug up the first post thinking maybe that would allow some wiggle room. Nope.
An hour later I googled how to take down a vinyl horse fence.
Turns out you need a special tool. One we most certainly did not have.
When the horizontal boards are installed, there are four tiny and very hard tabs on each end that spring out thus preventing the board from slipping back out of the post. If you are particularly strong, you can jam a flat screw driver in the end and push in on the tab to give a few millimeters of clearance. Of course, you have to do this on all four tabs at once.
We had a single screw driver, an increasingly irritated husband, a paranoid wife and a bored toddler.
Things were not going well.
Finally Dusty just jammed the screw driver in from the top and pushed with all his might while I pulled out. The board popped out. This was after 45 minutes of wrestling with it.
I beamed in delight. One down! Except then we looked down deep to where the second board was. There was no way we could reach the tabs from the top.
We looked down the length of fencing in either direction.
This wasn’t going to happen.
With a sigh we loaded up all our tools, the kid and our hopes and drove back around the front and onto the main road. Even when we did attempt to break the rules, sorta with permission, we made the worst set of thieves.
We would have to buy fencing the honest way.