Friday, June 11, 2010

A Job Well Done

As soon as the weather got nice enough this spring (which took an unusually long time this year), the Mister and I tackled a project that we have been talking about ever since we bought our home from his mom about five years ago. We decided finally to put that patio in the north west corner by the house and, well... the patio. Because I guess you can never have too many patios! Besides, the first one is full of the hot tub, pool table, pinball machine and fountain, because I guess you can never have too much stuff either.

Naturally, the bulk of the work fell on the Misters shoulders. He first had to rip off all the sod, then scrape away the dirt to the proper depth, without cutting any of the power lines that run not too far below the surface. Then he had to move a sprinkler line, and finally it was time to get the sand delivered. After he spread that around, it was my turn to become involved. What I like about this corner of the house is that when the weather just barely starts to turn nice, say about 40 degrees, even with a little bit of wind, in the afternoon after work, this part of the yard is going to be at about 70 degrees with the afternoon sun shining full on.

These 2x2 pavers were scavenged from our neighbor, a mobile home park. When the Mister and I were growing up in the 1970's, the park was home to close to a hundred families, who had all moved to town to work on the construction of the Gerald Gentleman Power Station for the Nebraska Public Power District. After construction was complete, most moved on to the next construction job. A few were hired by NPPD, but naturally, by that time, were prosperous and settled enough to afford a stick-built house. Now just so you don't get the wrong idea, just because there aren't any pictures of ME hoisting these hunks of concrete around, rest assured that the #3 Son pictured here helping the Mister only helped lay about a quarter of these stones. So just imagine that is me on his end of the work!

These concrete pavers, first constructed for the sidewalks of the mobile home park, range in thickness from about two inches to about four inches, with the weight increasingly accordingly! I thought the job was going to kill me.
We wheel the pavers over to the site one by one, then use straps to lift it off the cart.
After that it is gently lowered into place, hopefully to somewhat align with the previously laid stone and be somewhat level.
As is typical with any home improvement project, there are plenty of people volunteering to help, although you will observe that help in some cases simply means standing around with a beer in your hand making unhelpful comments. However, the #4 Son did manage to lend a hand for a few courses of pavers.
And so here it is, the finished project. Complete with an umbrella to keep out the harshest sun and a firepit for those cool evenings. A few flowers and a planting of grass along the edge mark the end of the work. Now it is just time to sit back and enjoy, of which I do a lot, including this evening, posting this blog, listening to the birds and the breeze in the trees. I'm also watching the clouds roll in, which according to the weather man portends a night of wild and dangerous storms that I'm not looking forward to!
I can't say the patio has done much for my productivity though. I would much rather come home from work, grab a beer and sit out here all night instead of do things like laundry, dishes, housework, you know, the mundane parts of life that will be waiting for me no matter how long I spend out here!
Another job well done after we got home from vacation and had a few days left before the grind of work began again is installing snow guard on our new metal roof.
After the roof got destroyed, yet again, in a hail storm last summer, we decided to replace the shingles with metal. We had enough snow this winter to show us that we needed the snow guard to hold it in place until it melted, so it didn't slide into the gutters and rip them off. To me they look kind of odd, but I suppose they are necessary.
Today is the last quiet before the craziness of NEBRASKAland DAYS kicks off tomorrow with an ice cream social out at the Lincoln County Historical Museum's Heritage Festival. I'll be out and about for the next two weeks welcoming visitors to North Platte, and wishing for great weather. Hopefully I'll get the chance to post a few pictures from the event as well.
Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on. Or maybe you prefer a cold beer - you'll find that in the fridge.

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