Puppy-proofing the backyard

Friday we got our grown-up furniture for the living room delivered. I put Gus in the backyard so he would be out of the way and not try to eat the delivery guys. He was fine as long as I was in the kitchen where he could see me.

When the furniture guys were done I went to see them out, which meant going out-of-sight of my vicious guard dog. The guys were getting in their truck, I shut the front door, go to the back door to let Gus in…and he is not there. Where is he? In the front yard barking at the delivery truck as they drive away! He had pushed through one of the screens in the back porch, the side that is not contained by the fence, jumped out and run around to the front!

See how the fence starts at the back corner of the house?

Gus exit-point

Well I had errands to run that afternoon, so rather than leave him in his kennel inside, I moved our patio chairs in front of the broken screen, thinking that would deter him enough to stay in the backyard. WRONG. Two hours later I come back to find Guster hanging out in the front in the shade. NOT GOOD. He had pushed through a different screen this time, the one that I did not put a chair in front of. Who knows how long he had been loose, I’m just glad I didn’t come home to find him in the middle of the street. Obviously, we would not be able to leave him outside until the backyard was puppy-proofed.

Second Gus exit-point

It took us 4 tries to Gus-proof the backyard in Orlando, with various failed solutions including zip-ties and aluminum screening. The final solution involved a sheet of plexi-glass and paving stones under the gate so he couldn’t dig out. Clearly, it was going to take more than just replacing the screens to keep him contained, now that he knew he could escape through them.

We discussed putting in windows, but realized it would take a professional, since there have never been windows in the frame, so it would be a from-scratch job. Eventually we would like to put in windows and make it more of a sunroom than a porch, but that is for the future.

Finally we came up with this.

Sucessfully Gus-proofed

“What an ingenious solution!” you say? “Why, yes, but what is it?” you say? What you see there, my friends is ornamental wrought-iron garden fencing. We simply attached them to the wood frame of the screens, and voila! Puppy-proofed.

Attatchment with wood screws and washers.

I will probably get some ivy and train it to climb on the fencing, just to disguise it a bit, but for now it doesn’t look terrible and we can once again leave Gus outside without fear!


We have arrived

First, I would like to thank the Steele Creek branch of the Charlotte Public Library system for the use of their wireless internet, since we do not yet have any at our house. I would also like to note that the library is a mere 3 mins from our house, a fact that I was much more excited to learn than Stephen. So, here we go!

The drive from Orlando to Charlotte was uneventful, even with two children, uh, animals in the backseat. Gus loves riding in the car and for the first few miles was trying to roll down the window by pawing at the button on the door. We gave JD a sedative and he was quiet the entire ride, giving a little mew every once in a while just to remind us he was there. We did get stuck for about an hour and a half on I26 just outside of Columbia, SC because one school bus being towed by another school bus caught on fire, catching the one doing the towing on fire, and the trees and brush on the side of the road on fire. The driver appeared to be unharmed, but the busses were goners.

Because of that delay we ended up pulling into the driveway of our new home around 9 pm, tired, hungry, and in the case of the animals, full of pent-up energy. Well, Gus at least was getting antsy, JD was just getting cranky. We dropped of our stuff and went in search in food that was not too fast. The only place we could find that was still open was IHOP and that was only open till midnight!

Our first full day in the house was spent cleaning and doing important home-owner things. Like figuring out how to light the pilot light under the hot water heater. It did not explode and we now have hot water. Hooray! We went to get lightbulbs and new door hardware for the front and back doors, so now we know we are the only ones with keys to our house. There was a good deal of debate (on my part, S didn’t care that much) as to whether to get round knobs or lever handles. The front door hardware I liked the best came with a knob for the inside, and the one I thought was just ok came with a lever on the inside. Stephen pointed out that the lever was not velociraptor-proof. After walking around a bit with the knob-hardware in hand, I decided I really wanted the lever, so we went and traded them out. Not velociraptor-proof, but they are easier to grip and open when your hands are full. Plus, we could teach Gus to open the door.

Installing new door hardware


"Lever" handle

We found out our moving van will not be arriving until this coming Friday, over a week after they loaded it! We had nowhere to sit except the stairs, and we did not pack enough clothes, so the first big purchases we made were a kitchen table and chairs and a washer and dryer. Ok, the table and chairs were only $85 off of craigslist, but the table weighs a ton, so it counts as a big purchase. JD was very happy to find that we bought him a chair too.

We have been painting, painting, painting so we can have it all done before the furniture gets here. You can find all the house pictures so far here.

I must run now, we only have one car (Stephen’s is not here yet) so I have to go pick my husband up from work!