Something about me many people may not know is that I am an ardent introvert. In keeping with my goal of staying in alignment with my most authentic (alone) self, I decided it was finally time to make my home the impenetrable fortress of my dreams. Well, city code being what it is (which is rude), we decided to do the next best thing: BUILD A FENCE!

Earlier this spring, this so-called "barbecue," known best for being a spider and mosquito breeding ground and injury risk, was razed to add valuable square footage to our patio. In true "homeowner special" fashion, the people who built it poured the patio poured AFTER it was finished, leaving a lovely cement-free area in the far corner.

Once it was demolished, we realized there was SO much rubble. Like, hilarious amounts of broken rocks, broken bricks, pieces of metal, random car parts, and lots and lots of garbage were stacked together to fashion this ridiculous fire hazard. We kibbitzed about how best to dispose of it, worried about the small fortune it would cost to haul it away. I suggested putting it on Craigslist because there are a lot of people who want all kinds of random things - even our trash. I was right.

But it was spring, and the hedges were about ready to POP. Too bad for them (but especially us), we decided to tear out every last stick along the street and driveway. They had outgrown the space in which we could reasonably keep them contained. We cut them back every year - sometimes twice if they were extra determined - but they were becoming rougher and less shapeable. The branches were growing more and more hardy, which made it more difficult to cut back, but also scratched pedestrians walking by... and the car of anyone who dared come to visit. As much as I hate ripping out thriving plants, they aren't the kind of shrubs you can groom into dainty topiaries. They looked janky, patchy, and you could see right through them regardless of the season. They had to G O.

Joke's on us. We were more exposed than ever once they came out, but we found some weird treasures under the structure once it was fully demoed. 

Bones. It was bones. 

A not-insignificant number of bones of questionable origin in various sizes. It was an odd enough quantity that I actually called our city's non-emergency number to ask if there's an established protocol for reporting our findings. They dispatched two deputies and the interaction went something like: "Hi, White Lady! Don't touch them with your bare hands (because they are dirty!), you didn't find a hand/foot/mandible/skull, so we don't care! Throw 'em away! Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" 

The fishbowl. 

Believe it or not, the orange hazard fencing was a surprising deterrent for the kids. I think they're like dogs in that an untested obstacle is perceived to be impassible. 

Like many things around here, it progressed slower than we estimated. I don't know why we always think things will take no time to finish when I have two toddlers to chase full time, and D has a full-time work elsewhere. For better or worse, he is a relentless perfectionist. This project was drawn up in AutoCAD, revised, leveled, measured, balanced, shaped, and perfected before even applying for the permit. Then all the work was meticulously executed on any and every available night and weekend, piece by piece, board by board, until suddenly, one day:

The last picket!

We got used to all the extra space in no time. As a mom, I feel more confident in my kids' safety than I did with just nothing but shrubs standing between my kids and the street (and keeping violent stray dogs OUT - a true story which still rattles me almost three years later). It is wonderful to sit outside, at the table my husband built, and eat al fresco without feeling as if the whole block can see us.

We had hoped to put up playhouse where the stone chimney stood, but if D had built that, we might not see him inside for the remainder of the year. For now, this patio is our paradise, and we are thankful for it.