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Monthly Archives: April 2020

Weather and life teamed up to delay our concrete work and tilling, but this weekend we took advantage of beautiful weather and hammered through both tasks in two days. I am exhausted and sore but also done with the heavy work.

Last weekend I laid down the brick path to the garage. It was cold and rainy all week so it just sat there waiting for me. So, on Saturday it was above 60F and sunny. It was perfect for some concrete work. My wife and I were on our hands and knees for over three hours pushing mortar between bricks. I don’t think I will ever do it that way again. It turned out great but I can’t really say it was worth it. There has to be a better way to do this.

BUT… it is complete and looks great.

The next phase of the project was tilling the yard for new grass. I was able to borrow an old Troy-Bilt tiller from a friend and fired it up on Sunday. I then spent the next three hours being drug around the yard like a dog toy. It was comical and, again, exhausting. This ground hadn’t been worked or dug up in decades or ever. It was full of bricks and nails and mystery trash along with long-dead roots and buried steel posts. It was an adventure in itself.

The ground is now fluffy soft and waiting for seed. It’s supposed to rain on Wednesday, so we plan to have it seeded and fertilized by then. All the hardest work in our project is complete and our yard has been beaten into a semblance of submission. Right now, every muscle in my body is sore and I need Chiropractor. 

My wife has already announced that we will be contracting someone to do the sidewalk next time. I am in full agreement! I won’t even ask the cost.

Uncertainty is a terrible catalyst for creativity. When the Coronovirus transformed into a pandemic and we began to see social distancing and stay at home orders, I was excited. Wait, that may not be the best word. I was encouraged and expected to get some alone-at-home time to complete my book and even had some new ideas for other material. The reality of the situation has proved to be far different.

I have had zero alone time at home. My work schedule hasn’t changed an iota and my wife thought this would be a great time to landscape the yard. So I have had far less time to write than I did before the virus, not more.

I have made daily attempts to write, but it comes in fits and starts and rarely flows like it did or needs to. The uncertainty of our current situation is weighing on me, I think. I expected the United States to be able to handle this situation better than most.  Irregardless of our incompetent President and his lackeys, I expected there to be enough quality adults in charge to offset them and get us through this smoothly. I was sadly mistaken.

A month into a weak national lockdown and we’ve got more cases of the virus in this country than all the rest of the world combined. We as a nation have failed and as a people are continuing to fail. I have little confidence that we will be out of this crisis soon or undamaged. Our economy, our world standing, our healthcare system and our self-confidence will be damaged and changed.

I’m just trying to complete my novel. I made the conscious decision to not address the virus in my writing, but it has definitely affected my work-mind. I need to be in the correct frame of mind and emotion to produce quality work and the uncertainty of today is not making that easy. Most days I get little accomplished and end up getting lost in the pity/bitch party that is Facebook/Twitter.

I hope everyone is safe and taking this seriously. The only way through this a concerted effort to stop it. And that can only be accomplished by social distancing.

See Ya!!

The weather has held, but the labor is not fairing so well. I’m getting worn and tired. But I am plugging forward. We completed the small patio area under the deck. The place where my grill was parked didn’t have a full brick underlay so my wife wanted to use larger paving stones to redo it. I’ve done larger sizes before am not a fan. I’m not sure why maybe my technique is not up to it?

However, our cat Turkey has turned into quite the assistant. Has to have his paw in everything.

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Turkey supervising.

But we finished that area on the weekend and then did the next section in the original repurposed red brick. The smaller bricks were much easier to work with. They are more forgiving. The area is NOT level or uniform or anything else professionally expected. I mortared the joints on Monday after work. It took a lot more than I expected. However, they are pretty and permanent. That is enough for me.

My knees and feet are killing me. Today, rather than tackle the next section, we broke mandatory isolation and snuck to Menards for more mortar and sand. I think we had 1000lbs of materials in our old beat-up minivan. It was NOT happy.

Tomorrow we’ll tackle the run to the garage. It should be easier than the patio. I might know what I’m doing now. My goal is to survive this lawn. I haven’t bled into it yet, but I gave it all my aches and pains. This is why people hire professionals.

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The weather here in St Louis has been cool and sunny. Perfect for DESTROYING… I mean remodeling a yard.  My wife is still working from home and it is beginning to wear on both of us. (I go to work daily to get away from her.) She is taking her frustration on our back lawn. Weekend #2 is coming up, so I’m sure there will be some significant activity.

During the week we work on it in the evening. I have sprayed chemical death on everything living and it is all turning brown. I’m assuming that is a good sign. We also decided to dig up the sawtooth leaf thing on the side of the yard.

Can you tell I’m not a plant guy? I have NO IDEA what these things are called. They all have leaves, a stem, maybe flower…plants, right?

Anyway, we dug up the hideous sharp leaved plants that were there when we moved in. The roots went deep, so I had to dig up the yard a bit. I expect to see them again. Nothing with roots like that dies easily!

Now, while we wait for everything to finish dying, we’ve decided to redo that path also. So, yesterday we dug up all the old bricks and trim. We even found some old path we didn’t know about hidden under an overgrowth of grass. Tonight, I’m researching how to install a bricked garden path. This should be interesting.

Please keep in mind that we are renting this property. I keep trying to explain that to the wife, but she must have what she wants. Because… Happy Wife, Happy Life.

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