I have owned my house for a year now. My houseiversary was a week ago. I am still very happy with my purchase, even though paying for it is an increasing source of stress. I just want a job, man. With a salary that can pay for my mortgage. And maybe some heat too.
Speaking of heat, my propane company called me at 7:55 this morning. I don't answer the phone before 8 a.m. as a rule, unless it's a family member (who had better be calling because something bad is happening, otherwise heads will roll) so I didn't listen to the message until 9:30 or so. Apparently, the propane delivery guy finds it difficult to fill my tanks, which are behind a wooden fence slightly taller than the tanks themselves. The tanks have lived behind this fence for many years without incident. But now that happy time is over. "You need to lower your fence," he says.
I called back, and the secretary tried to relay his anti-fence reasoning to me, which just made me get defensive. Seriously, the fence is not coming down. First of all, it's the middle of frickin' winter, you really expect me to be out there all day with a table saw? Second of all, the fence is tall in order to hide the propane tanks. If the fence is shorter, well, it kind of ruins the whole point of the fence, doesn't it. Third of all, why has this not been a problem before? Judging by the age of the fence and the matching paint job on the house, the fence has been up for at least 5 years. Why now? He also complained about nails that point through the fence, and I agree, they're ridiculous. Whoever built the thing used nails that were an inch and a half longer than they needed, and then didn't bother cutting off the extra or even bending them down. Those, I am happy to deal with.
So now I am waiting for mister cranky propane pants to call me back, and we're going to "talk about it." Things I should not say:
Were all of the previous propane filling guys taller than you?
I would get a carpenter in here to tear down and completely rebuild the fence, but all of my "spare" money is currently going towards my propane bill. Sorry.
Thing I am considering saying, but will try not to:
Most of my neighbors use a competing propane company. Perhaps it's time we said our goodbyes. If I'm going to destroy the fence anyway, I might as well take your tanks out of there and get new ones put in while I'm at it.
Thing I will say:
I can make the stone "step" higher so it's easier to get over the fence. I can also be better about keeping it clear from snow and other obstacles. I will also take care of the nail points.
I hope that'll be enough. I am trying to get into a cooperative mood.
Update: I talked to the guy who called originally -- he's the boss of the actual filling guys, it turns out. He seemed reasonable, but who knows. He explained the problem to me, and I get it -- the hose doesn't bend very easily, or whatever -- but I am hoping we can come up with a solution that doesn't entail me cutting the fence. I said as much to him. He's going to stop by later to take a look at it. Gulp.
Update to the update: The guy just left, he was fine. We came to a compromise: they are going to take about four or five inches off of the top of the fence, and THEY will do the work, for free. It will make my tanks more visible, but I will still be able to hide them in the summer with flowerboxes and such. So I feel ok about it. Whew.