Finally had the survey done. The cost makes me want to cry a little bit-- a LOT of money to spend just determining where the corners and edges are. But now we can start the fence, after which we can start the garden. So that's good. Plus they're going to give us neat maps and things, which could be useful, or at least interesting.
The back of the property is just where we thought, thank heavens. (That's the side bordered by neighbors who are not so very friendly. We were told that our side went straight up to their little concrete retaining wall, and it does, within a few inches.) One side is further towards our other neighbors' house than we figured; that might be an awkward conversation later on... "hey, it turns out we own more of that side yard between our houses than we all thought!" But they're the cool neighbors with the band and the friendly dogs, (and only occasionally have lecherous, inappropriate house guests), and the only thing they use that side yard for is to access their AC unit. So that should all be OK. There's a lot more road-clearance than we had guessed (meaning that a lot more of "our property" belongs to the city)... something Don wants to ignore now. It seems he was worried about fencing accuracy on the two neighbor-bordered sides but not the two city-street sides, which seems backwards to me because you can talk to or negotiate with neighbors but not so much with the city, especially when there are power line right-of-ways involved. Not to mention that our two "pretty" fences (i.e. the expensive, permanent ones) are going on the street sides, while the backsides are just going to have utilitarian wire fencing, to keep our animals in and other animals out. I told Don that I'm willing to let him make the call about where the fence is going, on the condition that should we ever have to move them, I get complete I-told-you-so rights, including bringing it up every year for the rest of our lives. He remains unfazed, says that pine tree is OURS no matter where the flags are.
Don is working to fix the drainage problem on the north side of the house and repair the damage (inside and out) that it's caused. We finally had a chance to really see the interior water damage, and this project has shot to the top of the priority list, since we really shouldn't rent the place until it's fixed. I didn't catch everything but it involves replacing the sill (?), building a retaining wall to hold soil away from the side of the house, some kind of drainage system, replacing the drywall inside, and (eventually) replacing the gutters, since they've been spilling water on that unfortunate spot all the time.