A Garden Wall Worthy Of Fred & Wilma

[Sub-titled: So You’re Really Going To Do This, Huh?]

Last week while the stock market was on the roller coaster ride of our lifetimes, we decided to do something a little bit different with our money.  Why not invest in something stable, said we.  How about finally getting the back of our property to look like something resembling a backyard, said we.  So…

We had this concrete wall built.  It’s very Flintstone-esque, don’t you think?





What I Learned About Having A Garden Wall Built

√  Unlike the land excavating guy who said that he’d be at our house at 8:00 a.m. on Monday and arrived at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday, when the concrete guy said that he and his crew would there at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, they were.  With lots of battery-powered lights.  Trying to work quietly, not succeeding.

√  It took 5 hours to create the 2.5′ x 4′ footers.  Two of those hours involved the crew sitting around on the ground, listening to music, laughing among themselves, eating snacks– waiting for the footers to become solid enough to continue on with the wall.  We paid for them to do this, of course.

√  It took about 3 hours for 9 men to build this 30′ x 4′ free-form concrete wall.  A truck in front of the house pumped a foamy kind of concrete through a 90′ hose to the backyard. Two men positioned the concrete, which looked like toothpaste being squeezed out of a tube, along the wall line by slowly walking back and forth; they stopped when the concrete was 4′ high. Then the rest of the men, each holding a trowel in one hand and a paintbrush in the other, shaped the wall.  It was the darndest thing to watch.

√  After the wall was stable and had air-dried for about an hour, a man stained it to look like naturally formed rock.  He used two different colors of paint in sprayers, a water sprayer, and a paint brush dipped in stain.  It took him maybe 45 minutes to do this.  He told me that he wanted the wall to look like “God had put it there.”

√  It takes about a week for this concrete to cure.  So until that happens, the land excavator guy can’t fill behind our wall with dirt to create our yard.  Meaning… there will be more to this story.


[Please note: This is Phase Two of a three-part project.  Phase One is here.  Phase Three is here.] 

We’re Investing In Dirt

[Sub-titled: The Big Dig Begins]

Two weeks ago while the 112th US Congress was destroying the credit rating of the USA, we were investing in something a little bit different from the usual.  Something that is a known commodity, but generally is just there when you buy a house.  Unless, of course, you have a non-traditional property with a swale in the backyard that needs to be filled in. In which case, you need to buy dirt.  Lots of it.  So…

We bought 110 tons of dirt.  Really.   

In the past I’ve mentioned the sad shape of our lawn.  Our Lawn Has Mange

I’ve talked about my meeting with a land planner.  Talking Dirt

I’ve even told you about my anxiety about our backyard renovation project.  Rambling Thoughts From A Sleepless Night

But it wasn’t until this project finally began that I realized what the heck I’d gotten us into this time.

# # #

Below is a photo of what the swale looked like right before the Bobcat operator began to push the dead wood and half-dead trees out-of-the-way for the dirt.

While the first man in the swale cleared that space, a second man in a different Bobcat moved the dirt from the street in front of our house to the back of our property.  He drove over, and piled it on, what used to be a lovely bed of pachysandra and juniper.

Then the first man, working at a precarious angle on the side of the hill, used the new dirt to fill in the swale.

# # #

[Amazing as it was to watch this phase unfold, the words “liability insurance” kept dancing through my brain. You can tell that I’ve been around lawyers all my life, right?  But I digress…]

Here’s a photo of what the former swale looks like now that we’ve completed Phase One of our project.  Our property is almost flat, open to sunshine, and ready for the next step– which is a poured concrete wall.

[Please note: This is Phase One of a three-part project.  Much more about this later.  Phase Two is here.  Phase Three is here.] 

Retro Blogging: Adding Whimsy To Your Week

::  I crack myself up.  I got this idea from The Bloggess.  Zen-Den thinks that I have a future career as a banana engraver.

::  Anyone else remember back to when bloggers did silly things like this all the time?  I miss those times.

::  Do You Make Other People Happy?  I try, kids.  I try.

In Which Frick & Frack Sell Me Something

It’s been hotter than normal around here this summer.  Late yesterday afternoon, when the heat and humidity were at their worst, I went to the grocery.  It was a miserable time to be outside.

Standing under the awning outside the entrance to the doors to the store were two boys about 15 years old.  The first kid, Frick, was big and had very curly, light brown hair;  his smile was ginormous.  Behind him was a super skinny, shorter kid with straight dark hair– and a very loud voice.

They were selling a restaurant coupon book for their high school football team.  And they were doing it in such a way that I was trapped standing out in the sun while they gave me their sales pitch.

  • Frick: [gliding smoothly into my path toward the door]  Hi!  We’re selling a coupon book with lots of really awesome stickers in it for our football team.
  • Frack: [loudly, jumping to the side of Frick]  They’re not stickers…. THEY’RE COUPONS.  FOR RESTAURANTS.
  • Frick: [stepping in front of Frack while still blocking my way into the store]  Oh yea, that’s it.  We’re selling a book of coupons to really awesome places to eat like McDon—
  • Frack: [loudly, pushing Frick aside]  GREAT DEALS.
  • Frick: [elbowing Frack aside, not missing a beat]  –alds and some pizza places.  This is for our football team and it’d be gre–
  • Frack: [loudly, jumping to the other side of Frick]  GOOD COUPONS.
  • Frick: [standing up very tall and stretching his shoulders out to stop Frack from coming anywhere near me]  It’d be great if you could buy one…
  • Frack: [loudly, standing behind Frick trying to jump high enough to see me over his head]  GREAT DEALS.  [jump]  FOR RESTAURANTS.
  • Frick: [sighing and allowing Frack to stand beside him]  … for only $20.00.
  • Frack: [loudly, bouncing in place]  TWENTY DOLLARS.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I’ll buy just about anything from a kid.  And anyone who knows me knows that I’ll do just about anything to not stand out in the hot sun. Meaning that this transaction was a done deal before the first word came out of Frick’s mouth.

So I bought one of the coupon books.

I doubt that we’ll ever use anything in there, but that doesn’t matter.  The entertainment value of Frick & Frack’s sales pitch was priceless.  Definitely one of the best I’ve experienced in a long time.  It makes me think that someone over at the local high school is doing something right.  What exactly that right thing is, I’m not sure.  But something.

‘Cuz man-oh-man, those two boys were effective.  And funny.

Nancy Drew, Narcissism, and the National Debt

Here’s what I’ve thought about this week.  Brought to you by the letter “N.”

Me.  I started reading a Nancy Drew mystery this week.  I saw it on the shelf as I walked by the guest bedroom and thought “why not?”  Having read it decades ago, I don’t remember the plot of the story so it’s all new to me.  All I know is that I loved Nancy Drew.  Unlike Laura Ingalls who I knew I could never be, Nancy Drew’s example of “do good” behavior gave me hope that I could become someone useful and cool when I grew up.  Whether or not I’ve accomplished this goal, I don’t know;  but at the very least she showed me that attention to detail and an independent spirit could take you far in this world.


•  Us vs. Them.  I’ve never, ever seen so many narcissistic people on TV in one week as I have this week.  Hello, Washington!  How are you weasels doing?  Let’s review what narcissism is, shall we?  It’s shallow, self-absorbed behavior in which your need to be important trumps everyone else’s right to exist;  combine this behavior with being overly sensitive to perceived criticism, and we have an egotistical, whiny person who only focuses on himself or herself.  Sound like anyone in DC?  Oh, yes– I know, it sounds like everyone in the U.S. Congress.  It’s time for all you weasels children people to shut up… sit down… and do something productive.


•  We.  So we’re going to pay our bills.  Good idea.  That would be the responsible thing to do.  As WE have racked them up, now WE must pay them down.  I hope that there will be less bills in our future.  That would be an example of reducing.  And I pray that there will be more money in the coffers.  That would be an example of regulating & refining.  But I fear that until Americans understand that the U.S. Constitution starts with the words “WE the people” none of the common sense things that need to be done will be done.  And this nonsense will continue forever.


Keeping Up With The {Energy Conscious} Joneses

We’re getting a new front door– or more accurately: a new Entry System.

[One must use the jargon that one encounters when one is working with individuals in a new and different industry, mustn’t one?]

Three times during the last few week we met here at the house with the sales rep from the door and window store.  While our windows are fine, our front door is older, wooden, and because of sun exposure, impossible to keep properly refinished.  Many of our neighbors have replaced their Entry Systems with more energy-efficient/visually pleasing doors and sidelights.  So after talking with the sales rep, we decided to do the same thing.

Our new Entry System will be a six-panel American cherry-stained fiberglass door with no glass in it.  Half sidelights and an arched transom with beveled glass and gluechip glass complete the Entry System.  Pretty and private.

Of course, it’ll be weeks until this door is made;  having a special order arched transom slows production down a bit.  And then who knows how long after that until the door can be installed.

Nothing is fast in the world of home improvement.  But that’s probably a good thing.  It gives me more time to practice saying Entry System out loud– without rolling my eyes as I say it.  Lord knows, I wouldn’t want to use the wrong term for our new front door.  😉

The “7 Things About Me” Meme

I saw this meme at Sweet Tea.  I thought that it looked like a fun “dog days of summer I have nothing else to say because my brain is fried” kind of post.

I’m to list 7 random things about myself… add this button to my post… and then invite other bloggers to do the same thing.  Consider yourself invited.

~ ~ • ~ ~

1.  I like mushrooms and pineapple on my pizza.  Don’t judge.  It’s good.  Zen-Den refers to it as “dessert” pizza.

2.  I stood in line at Starbucks behind Peter Frampton one day.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but later when I saw his photo in the newspaper I realized that the handsome, pleasant Englishman in front of me, who everyone in the shop was looking at, was Peter Frampton.

3.  I love to go for walks in city parks.  Movement +  people watching = entertainment. Throw in a few inquisitive dogs on a leash and I’m smiling for hours after I finish walking.

4.  I like palm trees.  They are happy trees.  When I see them in real life I know that I’m on vacation.  When I see them in photos I remember that I was on vacation– near happy trees– having a good time.

5.  I don’t like pastel pink.  I like fuchsia, dark pink, or honeysuckle;  these shades of pink have some zing to them.  But pastel pink makes me anxious and irritable.  It’s too demure and passive for me.

6.  I think that social media is lots of fun, but that too many people take it way too seriously.  Lighten up, people.  Live from your heart, not from your FB friend count.

7.  I have narrow feet.  Finding shoes that fit is difficult and always has been.  For me, when it comes to shoes, it’s not about getting what I want– as much as taking what I’m given.