Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Driveway re-do

Ever since we moved into our house (about six and a half years ago), we've wanted to re-do our driveway. The parking area used to sit above the level of the house, and there were always those lousy stairs to climb (pictured in the first shot below). These weren't too big of a deal before we had kids, but bringing bags and bags of groceries in while also toting a newborn/toddler/newborn AND toddler... got kind of old. Also, the steps themselves and all of the beams around them are actually old railroad ties, which rot. And when they start to rot, they send out cordial invitations to every bee colony in the county... which means bees everywhere. Tons of nests. Lastly, both boys have fallen down the stairs: Matt fell down them once and fell down on his way UP once, and Ben fell down them when he got his sneaker stuck in one of the rotten places. Seriously, they needed to go! 

We finally decided to bite the bullet and lay out the money to get it done. We are eventually planning to put up a garage in the area closest to the house, which you'll see in later pictures. Here we go.....

The first night our personal heavy equipment operator (who is a man from our church) dropped off the heavy equipment on a big trailer behind a dump truck. He figured since he had to use the dump truck to get the excavator here, he'd dig out the railroad ties so he could haul them away in the same return trip when he took the trailer back. Here's a before shot:
 And here is a before shot of the side yard, which is now GONE. The neighbors joked that this was a pretty expensive way to get out of mowing so much! Ha.
 You can see that he scooped out all the RR ties except the actual stairs, at this point, and he started digging a little down next to the sidewalk. The area by the sidewalk is where we have run into some drainage issues... we apparently have a little spring there, and the topsoil was very loose and soggy, so we ended up having him haul away a LOT more than we had planned and haul IN a lot more of the better stuff than we had planned.
 This part made me catch my breath. I was like, Are we making a mistake?! The grass was so green and lovely... and it just rolled up the blade of the bulldozer like ice cream on an ice cream scoop. So sad to see it go.
 This was taken from the sliding glass doors in our kitchen. You can see the corner of our picnic table. The cars are now parked just in front of the picnic table in the area that will someday be the garage. We also want to put down a concrete slab where the picnic table currently is, to kind of make a breezeway between the house and the garage.
 This picture is as if Ben has just come down the stairs and is headed toward the house.
 At the end of each work day, the boys had a BLAST climbing the piles of dirt and rock. I had to get a picture of Ben in the bucket of the excavator - it was so cool to see him in there! So small, in comparison.
 Here is the first roughing out of the driveway. There is no stone down yet, no crusher run on top or anything. But you can see how the driveway comes in at an angle from the road, toward the house. The roller (if that's what that thing is called) is sitting in the area that is now a turn-around. I want to put up a basketball hoop over there if we ever get a chance to pave this thing. :)
That's all for now! I have lots more pictures, but it's hard to keep track of so many when I'm uploading. To be continued.....

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Wish me luck!

I bought a bunch of plant starts (?) at the Farmer's Market today, and this afternoon I planted six yellow squash plants, six zucchini plants, six tomato plants, and six cucumber plants. The cucumbers Matt started with Meema from seed, so I especially hope those grow... but we shall see! I have kind of a black thumb, and planting all those babies was a LOT of work (I am doing giant planters, not an actual garden, so I had to dig up tons of topsoil and fill the planters before I could plant, OY)... but I am really hoping for a nice little garden in spite of myself. Wish me luck.

Friday, May 11, 2012

5 Things To Be Grouchy About

I'm just keeping it real.

1. Josh got home at 3:45 this morning. His shift was supposed to end at 9pm yesterday. Which means he would have gotten home at 10, which already would have stunk, the night before he leaves for a WEEK. He is already gone.

2. I stayed up till 2 watching episodes of Glee on Hulu. Then I fell asleep. I am crazy tired today and it wasn't even worth it because I didn't get to see him.

3. OK, fine, something to be happy about. Ben told me this past week that he wants to spend some time picking up garbage in a local parking lot, because Curious George told him that all of the litter that is on the ground ends up in the ocean. He told me this as he was collecting litter from the parking lot of the Freihofer's outlet on our way to the car. We didn't have time to keep picking up all the trash because we were headed somewhere... so I told him we could pick a day and purposefully pick up litter somewhere. He requested rubber gloves, "in case one of the pieces of litter is actually a snotty tissue." Today is trash day. I wonder where we'll go? I should put this on his blog.

4. I should have just named this 10-second thoughts, because that's what it's turned out to be.

5. I don't have a fifth one. Please cheer me up in the comments.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

5 Things To Be Happy About

I was digging through old blog posts in an effort to find pictures of a project I started a long time ago, and which I have recently begun working at again. I didn't find them, boo... but I did notice that I used to write posts entitled, "5 Things To Be Happy About." I think that's a more positive quickie post than "10 Second Thoughts," so I figured I'd revive it. For today.

1) I know how to knit, now. Very basic stuff, but I can make a dishcloth, a prettier dishcloth, I'm guessing I could pull off a scarf... and I just finished knitting a basic hat today to donate to a local oncology floor. I like to have my hands busy, and knitting is productive.

2) I have two bright, healthy kids. Josh and I rented 50/50 the other night, and I got thinking about how horrific it would be if one of our children had cancer (even though the main character is in his 20s... for some reason I just related it to our kids). We are so blessed.

3) Josh has a great job. His new hours have been an adjustment, and unfortunately he switched to this new position during an extremely busy time of year (due to school vacations and then upcoming summer vacations) so he's been drowning in work... but we are thankful for his job, for this change that he waited so many years for, and for change itself - life can get monotonous, and burnout is huge in law enforcement (nursing too, heh). He has lots more weekends off now, which is pretty much the bee's knees. (I have a great job, too, by the way... but I'm claiming Josh's this time.)

4) The rain this week has turned everything super bright, vibrant green. I love Spring and all the promise that it holds for a gorgeous summer. I really want a gigantic garden. The kind that weeds itself, of course.

5) I got to help out in Ben's classroom today and he didn't burst into tears when I left. I guess that's technically two. It was so fun to be in his little world for awhile and to interact with some of his peers. I feel like you can tell a lot about a kid's family by the way they behave. (I don't mean good vs. bad, I mean social vs. quiet, secure vs. insecure, rough vs. gentle, etc.) It was just really neat to absorb all that. I wonder what people think of Ben's family, judging by his behavior.... :)

Monday, May 07, 2012

Be kind to yourself. Do less laundry.


I've started this new thing where I won't put in a new load of laundry until the previous load is FOLDED. It has been *awesome.* Seriously. My old pattern was: wait until mountains of laundry pile up. Wash a load, dry a load, throw it on the couch. Wash another load, dry that load, throw that load on the couch. Lather, rinse, repeat. Basically the only time I would ever fold laundry was when the entire couch was covered... which equals about seven loads of laundry (or, um, more). Good thing we have two couches! Suffice it to say that I hate folding laundry. Hate it! Two good things came from this "plan." One, Josh would occasionally take pity on me and fold THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN of laundry. Bless that man! Two, Ben has learned how to fold washcloths, his own underwear, and the entire family's pants. And he actually likes to do it! With a gigantic mountain of laundry to be folded, I could keep myself busy with towels and t-shirts while he went to town on the stuff he could do. It was great.

But maybe not as great as only ever folding one load at a time. I am baffled by how tiny a load of laundry seems. It takes me like five minutes. Maybe ten. And since I don't put another load IN until the current load is folded, I get a long break in between foldings which is sheer bliss. I still hate folding laundry.