A deer knocked down a part of our fence. Two days later, a storm hit, and falling branches took out another section. It was starting to feel like the HGTV version of “Final Destination.” When it’s your time, it’s your time. Not even Devon Sawa can escape the Reaper. He is Casper, after all.
I texted my friends to say I was going to rebuild the fence by myself. They texted back the emoji that is a face laughing so hard it’s in tears, along with a simple request: Send pictures.
Oh, c’mon, this wouldn’t be that hard. Hadn’t I built a birdhouse in eighth grade? Hadn’t I cobbled together every Ikea bookshelf on my own? I could demolish this thing and rebuild!
I charged up the cordless power drill and took it out front. All the screws had been stripped. No drill or screwdriver would be effective. We’d have to bring down the rest of the fence with pure force.
My 3-year-old jumped at the chance to help. I handed her a mallet. She scowled. “No! Give me the big-girl tool!” I traded tools with her. She wielded my hammer like Thor. Pure toddler rage was etched out in lines across her face as she knocked down the remaining boards. I texted the photo to my friends.
Two weeks prior, I had bought my daughter a free-standing mirror so she could admire the crazy outfits she dresses herself in. The moment I brought it in the house, however, I realized my mistake. Visions of mirror shards scattered across the floor filled my mind. I hid the mirror in my closet. Now, watching her gorilla strength as she took down a fence that had otherwise stood strong until an adult deer ran into it and a tree fell on it, I felt confident that mirror will stay in my room forever. The fence was down in less than an hour.
The next day, we took the kids to Home Depot. We bought new boards. We bought paint.
The fence came down so easily that I figured I would engage the children in helping me rebuild, too. The boards were laid out on the driveway, next to buckets of paint and brushes. I did my best Tom Sawyer routine. Only the luckiest of folks get to paint a fence. This is not a job for children. It’s too fun for children.
The children insisted there is no such thing as too fun for children. They would paint the fence. “OK,” I said. “If you insist.”
While the children painted, my husband and I began putting up the rest of the fence. Well, we tried. The children had hidden the screws we had just bought.
We heard giggles in the distance. “Where did you put the screws?” I asked. More giggles.
I looked up. The children had painted themselves. The boards were still untreated wood. My children looked like ghosts. This “Final Destination” metaphor had gone too far.
“What are you doing?” I pleaded. “Isn’t painting the fence fun — so fun only adults should do it?”
“The adults can have it,” said my soon-to-be first-grader. “Painting yourself is more fun.” He’s not wrong.
It started to rain. The fence was not up. My friends texted, asking for pictures.
It always seems that one home project begets another, begets another. We had decided we would repaint the front door of the house to match the paint of the fence. While the children bathed, I stood in our front entrance, removing the screen door so we could paint the door behind it. It was heavier than I expected, and I nearly fell through it. When I looked up, a deer was in the rain, staring back at me.
“You started this,” I said. He ran off in the direction of the fence boards but didn’t bother picking up a paintbrush to help finish the job. I yelled after him, “You could have at least taken down this screen door when you took down the fence!”
He didn’t look back. Deer are so selfish.
The next day, my children were at camp. My husband and I drilled, bickered, missed our mark, bickered, measured and got the job done. We have a new, unpainted fence, half a screen door and a half-painted front door.
Maybe “Final Destination” was wrong. It looked better before we completely killed it. The deer knows it.
Katiedid Langrock is author of the book “Stop Farting in the Pyramids.”