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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Candles and Fences? (Nov. 2008)

Does the adage about not playing with matches and wood apply to candles and fences? True, combining unlit waxy sticks and wooden boundaries is not inherently dangerous, but there may be a connection between them. Here’s the tale of how my birthday and our aging fence converged.

Sagging backyard fences can be ignored for a while, but eventually something’s got to give. Last winter it was the fence itself, when a five-foot section of it fell over in a rare Southern California rainstorm. We faced the truth: the 50-year-old vintage fences needed to be replaced. Even the termites had moved out years prior, leaving a tunnel-tracked shell in the shape of a fence.

Ten years ago I never thought about fences, which (although functional) are hardly exciting. Just thinking about them makes people drowsy. But somehow I’ve found myself raving about our new fence to anyone who would listen. The whole yard looks better now. We have tall, straight fences where our peeling, mottled-green would-be fences used to lean into our yard at 45-degree angles. Well, I exaggerate. They were probably at a 60-degree angle. (Mr. Schwartzman, I guess you were right all those years ago: my 9th grade geometry class did eventually come in handy…) If fences are in decent shape you don’t really notice them, but they contribute to an overall look. And our yard is looking up!

On what may be a related note, my 35th birthday is 2 weeks away. Age is relative, of course, and I don’t feel “old.” People half my age might think otherwise, given how excited I am about…FENCES (and they may have a point). But ten years ago I was a renter whose biggest household challenge was chipping ice off of the ceiling of my freezer. I’m a home owner now. I have young kids, and keeping them safe and inside our back yard is a priority, so fences now have relevance to me.

But back to the connection between candles and fences. If my fence enthusiasm = at age 35. And if fence enthusiasm = confirmation of oldness, by the transitive property of math, 35 = old! (That gem I must credit to my 10th grade math teacher, Mr. Kelley.)

But if it’s true, I don’t care! I don’t bemoan my age nor am I embarrassed about my fence excitement. It is what it is. I feel young, I feel excited about our fences, and hey, maybe it doesn’t matter what turns you on as long as there are things in your life that do…

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