How to build a gate


First, you will want to draw a diagram of the proposed gate. You will want to, but that will not get you any closer to having the remotest idea how.


Go to the Internet for help. The Internet has many blueprints and instructions for building a gate, with terms like "latch post" and "swing space," which will make you sound knowledgeable at the hardware store, a place you will soon be spending a lot of time weeping on lumber.


Visit your in-laws. Taking the kids over for a friendly visit to Grammy and Geempa's offers a prime opportunity to borrow your father-in-law's circular saw, power drill and sawhorses. Geempa loves the hardware store almost as much as reruns of "Matlock," and will often pick up the tab for your supplies out of sheer excitement.


Under no circumstances should you take Geempa up on his offer to help you build the gate. He grew up in the olden days honing his building skills on arks. Involving him will push your labor into a second weekend, because he was in the Seabees and believes in spending a lot of extra time "planning" and making sure things are "square" and other fancy time-eating procedures.


Dig two post-holes two feet deep and one foot square. This is the perfect size for standard gate posts, or for giving that garden gnome of your neighbor's a nice, long dirt nap.


Sink your gate posts in cement. The sticklers among you will want to ensure the posts are "vertical."


Measure the distance between the posts. This number is how wide your gate needs to be.


Go build a gate that wide.


Using galvanized hinges (from the Latin "galvanus," meaning "more expensive"), hang the gate from your posts.


Invent new seven-syllable curse words, because three steps ago, the instructions should have said "Subtract a half inch of room on both sides from the width of your gate."


Go build a thinner gate.


After hanging your new gate, it's time for a drink. Or three.


Call it four. You only need one hand to finish this trifle anyway. 


Affix the latch hardware and, one-handed, drill a hole for the string-pull.


Sweep up the shards of your snifter.


Note the four inch gap at the bottom of your gate, and recall that you have seen skunks squish themselves under three inch gaps.


Yell loudly toward the house, warning your wife to lock up the gun.


Stack bricks along the base of the gate. It's not as if you will need to go through there more than nine or ten times a day.


Hit the sack. You deserve it! You have gone beyond your limitations, which turned out to be even greater in number than your wife imagined. Congratulations!