The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Wednesday Wonderings

 

WonderingWednesdayWe’ve experienced some thunderstorms in the middle of the night the last few nights and have officially discovered that our new family member, Lady Lola the Diva Dog, does not appreciate thunderstorms.  My first clue was waking to find her standing on my head.  I wonder why they didn’t mention that in her adoption paperwork? That might have been useful information.  Well…okay…it did say she doesn’t like loud noises. It didn’t say she’d rip into our bedroom at 80 miles an hour in the event of a lightening strike.  Good thing she’s so cute.  The bonus of our mid-night escapades is that I’ve discovered  I ponder really silly things after a few night’s interrupted sleep.  Just in time! Without further ado: this week’s wonderings!

  1. Why do you not appreciate your thigh muscles until they hurt?  I didn’t even realize the suckers were there until the day after I spent an afternoon squatting on the ground pulling out rocks. OUCH!
  2. Why does everyone feel the need to post on Facebook about the weather when it turns hot? (Or cold for that matter?)  “Guess what! It’s hot out!” I guess that is for all your virtual friends who are living under a rock?
  3. Who invented cliffhangers at the end of a television season? Sadistic bugger. I need closure people!
  4. Who knew there were so many products out there to choose from to remove “tear stains” from your dog’s eyes? Should this be that complicated?!
  5. Why do motorcycles zip around you at a hundred miles an hour and then complain that no one is watching for them? (Okay…before you go there: I know this doesn’t apply to all motorcyclists.  Just the ones on the interstate.)
  6. Does anyone else ever wonder if it is actually possible to successfully empty an entire toothpaste tube by only squeezing from the bottom? No really. I want to hear from anyone who has done it.
  7. Where do all those bugs that show up at night come from? And while I’m thinking about it: why do they think up my nose is a good place to be? EW!
  8. Why does everyone think everything you say or post is about them?  It usually isn’t but if you are feeling guilty…. (We have a saying around here: “If the shoe fits…it’s likely a Wedel female will purchase it. Oh…wait…)
  9. Am I the only one who watches commercials for the latest greatest weight loss pill and wonders how many days it makes one spend in the bathroom to accomplish that weight loss?
  10.  Finally: how can a dog annoy and amuse you at the same time?  Probably the same way my kids always have but I haven’t figured out their secret either….

Have A Happy Wednesday All!

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The Uncomplicated Project

Saturday dawned sunny, bright and full of promise.  My sweet husband was off work, I felt well rested and the day lay before us with no specific plans whatsoever. Utopia.  Over our morning cup of really yummy mocha coffee we discussed what we wanted to do over the course of the day that stretched out before us.  Relax?  Catch up some housework? Relax? Do a little yard work? Relax? (Guess which one I was leaning towards??) By cup number two we decided it was about time to tackle the one remaining landscaping project we had been dreading putting off but wanted to accomplish this year.  Though the day was supposed to get hot we decided if we started early enough we could finish early and enjoy the rest of the evening.  Having determined our days plans we set off to tackle this:

Before

This is the area in the front of our house where the two sidewalks meet into the steps that go down by the old wash house.  Yes. Wash house.  The little white house where my grandmother did her laundry before she had indoor plumbing.  Actually the white building  you see in the picture is the cellar house which is connected to the wash house but let’s not get technical.  And yes.  It is the front of the house which confuses the snot out of my kids because no one really uses the front door much so they think the back door should be the front door. I’ve tried to explain to them that no house’s “front door” opens into the laundry room.  Again…technicalities.  Since these steps lead to both doors I guess for the purpose of this post it really doesn’t matter. The point is that this mess was there to be viewed every time we sat on our front porch and it was time to do something about it. We’ve spent quite a bit of our spring and summer cleaning out areas about the farm and this was the final area left to tackle.  The fact that we’ve made it this far without killing each other is a minor miracle considering my husband’s “let’s just rip it out and start over” theory often clashes with my “my grandma planted those let’s weed around it” attitude. Combine that with the fact that neither one of us actually enjoys this type of activity – we just want it to look nice – and you have the perfect storm really.  Fortunately for him there really wasn’t much here that I wanted to preserve so we knew it was going to be a faster fix. Storm clouds were not on the horizon here. This should have been simple. Uncomplicated.

After pulling out almost everything growing in the dirt, we turned our attention to what we thought was going to be the hardest part of our project: digging the sunken bricks out of the dirt between the steps and the bank.  Those bricks are from the old “big barn” on the property – the barn built by my grandmother’s uncles – so of course I wanted to save them and reuse them as edgers. My husband cheerfully dug them up while my younger daughter and I reset them.  All was going well.  Everyone was quite content and pleasant as my husband and I left for town to pick up the mulch required to finish off our little project area.  It was a little before noon so we were right on track. Victory was in sight.

Arriving home with our mulch (and a couple bags of rock for a different area) in tow we paused for a quick bite of lunch before heading back out to finish for the day.  We were focused on completing our uncomplicated task.  That’s when the landlord, or “Daddy” as I call him, appeared.  He had mentioned before that he wanted to do some work on the concrete in that area so the water would quit pooling there and making mud, further burying the sidewalk and steps, every time it rains.  He had, in fact, purchased several bags of concrete mix to do that repair.  They are safely out of the rain in the barn waiting to be used. Apparently because we were out working in the area he remembered that project needed to be done so he was measuring and figuring while we were laying down mulch.  By the time our mulch was laid he had busted out the old step and was laying the old concrete in to “flagstone” the path behind the house.  My husband once again grabbed his shovel and my two favorite men worked together to lay the old concrete into flagstones.  (Looks great by the way.)  That project completed and back to figuring the best way to lay new concrete to get the water to run-off down the hill and rebuild the step they just removed, Daddy mentioned that at one point he had dug a trench under the handrail and filled it with rock so that the the water would run down the hill.  Muttering about some prior renters not keeping it up he pondered aloud the fact that redigging that trench and finding the now buried rock might help before he relaid the sidewalk.  Cleaning up from our other project I smiled and told him that we could probably do that…thinking we could do it another day.  Fixing the area under the handrail wasn’t on my agenda for the day.  That’s why my husband has a weed wacker. It didnt look so bad. I resumed cleaning up mulch bags. When Daddy brought up the buried rock trench again I suddenly knew my uncomplicated plans were changing.  We were about to dig up rock.

Once again the guys manned the shovels while my daughter and I helped unearth the billion and forty two rocks that had become buried over the last 5-7 years.  Big rocks….little rocks….lots of rocks.  Realizing that if we tried to find every lost rock were were going to be out there for…oh…one hundred and five years…I threw out a desperation contingency plan.  Why didn’t we just pull out the larger rocks, leave the smaller ones in the ground, retrench and then mulch the top of the trench over the mixture of small rocks and dirt.  That way we didn’t need to locate every rock and could save ourselves a week of work.  (I’ve always been more “just make it look pretty” than functional anyway. Well…when it comes to yardwork I just want to be done I’m that way.)  My plan met with approval so while my engineer minded father trenched the water run-off we quickly finished finding the large rocks. And washing 5 years of dirt off the large rocks. Yes. I washed rocks. Then we waited while my dad (I just mentioned he’s an engineer, right?) tested the run-off trench with the hose.  And a bucket.  And the hose again.  It worked  (Of course it worked.  He’s an engineer!) so we were given the green light to arrange the now ridiculously muddy large rocks and put the mulch in the now muddy area under the handrail.   I’ve seen ads for mud baths at spas and I must say….I don’t get it. There are few things I like less than playing in mud.  Since I used to make mud pies for my mother so I guess this is a new thing but I must say laying muddy rocks in the muddy ground was not my favorite part of the day. It was messy and squishy though so I guess there is some fun in that…okay…not really.  At any rate, we got it accomplished.  Satisfied that we had a well draining run-off that looked pretty we cleaned up our mess and dragged our now sun-burned – and muddy -bodies into the house just in time to take a fast shower and make dinner.  Not quite the quick project we’d envisioned but gratifying none the less.  It seems like life is that way most of the time isn’t it? Things are never as uncomplicated as you thought they were going to be but it turns out better in the end.

Just don’t say the word “rock” to me for a few days…okay?

Our Finished Project:

After

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