Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Guys. never ever in a million years did I ever ever expect that I'd be so giddy with joy, like a wiggly five year old at Christmas, ants in my pants, to see a concrete truck in our alley delivering to us.  But so I was.  It totally and completely was Christmas multiplied by ten thousand.

Firstly, lemme apologize for not following up quicker.  I seem to be a broken record in this regard.  Life has been screwy, ya know, it is.  Unfortunately, I had to leave the dog park group.  The stress and recent stresses and concerns were insurmountable.  That was hard.  And disappointing.

It sucks too because it's vitally needed, as was I, I worked insanely hard, but worse I feel a wee like a quitter and I am so not a quitter.  I'm ridiculously committed to the uh well, commitments I make.

Too, and I never care about what people think because they can shove it, I imagine folks are thinking "ah well ya know, quitting just as everyone else had, knew she didn't have it in her."  So that's mildly irksome.  Likely I'm making that up.  Or if I'm not, they can shove it.  They just don't know snap snap!!

But whatever.  Let us not dwell.

I'm sorta getting some more sleep now, I have more time, days are oddly longer, I am less stressed, I am recommitting to house projects.  Finally gonna get my sorry a** to finish the hall bathroom.  Record album storage.  A leaky shower (yep, it's a horrible true fact and Mike is now a believer).  And of course more baking.

As an aside, I had forgotten how unpleasant a shower curtain is, eternally blowing its cold lifeless plastic self onto you.  When did they stop putting magnets in them?  Did I just date myself?

But the concrete!  Oh!  Swoon!

Had I not been bemoaning the lack of a normal person pathway from the house to the garage, errrr, since um darn freakin' forever?  Yes, forever.  It rains, the sunken walkway floods, feeties get soppy soaked.  We couldn't shovel hence it was a perilous take-your-life-in-your-hands treacherous ice odyssey in winter.

broken concrete back door walkway
Out back, looking west towards the downspout area.  Yeesch.
Mike was bored at work (always a bad thing) in late August and decided to purchase a behemoth gas grill for the deck, as you may recall.

broken concrete walk by back door
Turning eastward, outside the back door.  Oh, hey, the back door closer is awesome, zero complaints!  Finally!!
Bothered I was as I felt that money could have been spent on a long- and desperately-needed pathway.  To replace the disintegrating concrete walk out the back door.  And maybe fix a sunken piece in front.

back yard walk broken
Aaaand most of the east side of the back door area.  Pa.Thetic.
The wind raced right out of his sails when I slipped that into a conversation about why the grill was bugging me.

"Fine, go ahead and find some concrete people," he disgruntedly choked.  I wasn't trying to rain on his grill parade; we've gone five years with wet feet, this lack of path situation, the eroding back door mess, and I just could not go another winter.....

backyard before
Backyard bef.....Finn!!!  Aw jeez, sorry guys.  Yes, he pees like a girl, always has.
messed up concrete out front
Front before.  The piece near the top of the photo sank and was all twisted up.
So ok.

Speedily I drew up ideas for the backyard.  Because I'm a pain in the a** and not good at doing things the normal easy way, I came up with floating rectangles.  I showed my idea to Mike who grunted and shrugged.  "Sure, go ahead."

autocad drawing of plan for backyard concrete walk
Mmk doke, it's a plan.
(He really wasn't as mad as I'm making it sound.  Or I hope not.  He knows I'm only trying to improve this pile of bricks, fix the broken, set us up rightly for future sale.  And not be a pest.)

In the end, I based the width of the rectangles off the stair width of the deck which I discovered is mysteriously nine inches narrower than I designed, then attempted, surely poorly, to proportionally design the rectangles off our patio blocks then space them evenly over the distance.

Math.  Ugh.  It hurt.

Poking around the interwebs, I found five concrete folks to contact.  They all came out and gave us varying quotes and thoughts including a couple crazy-person looks.

What?  I don't like boring!  Get over it!

And look, I know there's a premium for non-boring.  And there was.  I mean, not drastically so.  Except for one quote which was quite outlandish.  They clearly didn't want the job.  No worries!

Anyway, we went with the company that was the most professional, taking photos, measurements, and emailing a written quote with expediency.  Plus the guy was nice and friendly and approachable and even had a great suggestion for the front sunken piece.

And then they disappeared.  No, we hadn't given them any money but as soon as I said hey, let's do this guys, they were tough to get a hold of.  Finally, after being a mild nag, they gave us a date three weeks out.

I can't remember the last time I wanted three weeks to go by so fast.  And of course they did because getting old blows.

But they were a no-show that day, as my sneaking suspicion held true.  They sent a text saying they can't come until Friday due to recent rains setting their schedule behind.  I was frustrated but replied ok, fine.

Friday morning there's an email in my inbox from 7 am saying, nope no can do.  Ugh.  Ok.

I was starting to wonder if we had made the wrong choice.  "Tuesday.  We can for sure do Tuesday, you're next on our list."  Uh huh.  Yeah.  All right.  See you then.  Mmm hm.

Monday evening rolls around and eyeball pop, an email, "we're on for 8 am tomorrow."  !!!!!  Ok!

They were late but they made it.  Two guys, one who did the form carpentry and one guy who had the misfortune of busting up the concrete by hand with a sledgehammer and carting it off.  Ouch.

I was home so I was being a surreptitious dope, sneaking peeks out windows, opening doors "hey you guys need more water?," covertly spying on what they were up to.  Couldn't help it, I desperately wanted to watch that channel all day long but didn't want to be an annoying creeper.

removing broken concrete walk out back
But I did sneak out while they were away at lunch.  What?  Finn needed to tinkle again.  Going from west to east, holy sh*t.  That's where the stair going from the yard to the basement is/was/is.  Holy yikes.
removed concrete walkway at back door
Ummmmnmmm.  So what's holding up the back edge of the house?
concrete walk removed in back
Uhhhh.  Is there anything holding up the back edge of our house?
Asking for a friend.
What can I say, it was interesting to say the least and too I wanted to ensure they were doing everything properly.  That's not too much to ask, right?  Right.

Day one ends and bam, the old concrete is out, most of the forms are done sans the front.  Out back it was a bit freaky and unsettling seeing the back of our house floating in space.

concrete removed in front yard

laying out for new concrete in front yard
Out front for you guys, far less scary.  If you look close, you can see the stone of the foundation.  Yep, stone foundation.  1890's represent!
Back in the quote phase, they said they couldn't level the front piece so their suggestion was to remove the entire front and repour it, no real price difference.  If they popped out and replaced one segment, it wouldn't match, he said.  And that would be ugly, I said.

Plus too, they could trim the pour back to two feet out from the house rather than the excessive existing four and a half feet or so, so no longer would there be a pointlessly huge swath of concrete out front anymore.  Much better visually.  Yes, let's do that.

I did notice end of day one, hm, the carpenter hadn't laid out three of the floating rectangles in the correct spots.  Hmmph.  Well.  Hm.

It's not critical, I pondered standing there, doin' the ol' chin scratch.  He spent an incredible amount of time perfecting his forms, I don't want to set them or this project back any further, it's fine.  There was one weird spot but, not the end of the world.

backyard concrete walk forms for squares
Always sniffing that one.  Always.  Forms end of day one.
forms for concrete walk by back door
So uh like, the back of our house won't fall off, right?  Did not sleep well that night.
Ok, so day two, day two was concrete truck day and me freaking the f out.

Concrete.  Truck.  Day.

When the wheelbarrow with the first batch rolled through the backyard, I near passed out.

Becky, it's just concrete!  I know I know but it's such an incredible feeling getting something done that's been a long time coming and will improve the house, improve our daily lives.

When that wheelbarrow came through the back with the first batch for the rectangles, I think I did black out.

Before long, the concrete was in its new home and the smoothing began.  Scrape scrape scrape.  Hours of scraping.

Ordinarily, they use a brush to roughen the surface for safety but I requested the front and the rectangles be smooth.  They hesitated on the rectangles so I said, yeah I know it'll be slippery-ier (I probably didn't use that word) but it'll look nicer and we'll be careful.  More hesitation, then they relented.

A bit after lunch hour, the text arrived, "it's done, come outside and see."  I near had to wrap myself in several blankets to contain the pending explosion of emotion.

new front yard concrete
The front, after.  Ahhhhh soooo much nicer, yeah?!  We need some dirt though.  Got any dirt you can drop off?
And ta da!!  It's done!  Omg, my friends, I cannot even begin to tell you how ecstatic I am.  I mean.  Are there even enough adjectives in the world?  No.  I think not.

new concrete walk by back door
Wowza!  It's like, legit and sh*t back there!
"Hey babe, woo hoo it's done, whaddya think?  Huh?  Do ya like it??  Huh?  Huh??"

new concrete squares for backyard walk
Sure kept you waiting on this one, yeah?  Woot, rectangles!
"Yeah."         "I like it."


new concrete squares walkway in backyard
They cleared so many weeds out, thank you!!, and I threw down new seed.  Pretty cool, yeah?  I think so!  I'm contemplating staining the rectangles to match the patio.  That'd make sense.
Mike will like it come winter time for sure.  Or after a soaky soggy puddly rain, then he'll be happy.  Hopefully he'll enjoy the fancy walk on his way to his fancy new grill.  Heh.

Charlie Brown lilac replanted
Hahahaha, lil' Charlie Brown lilac has a new happy place of honor, hiding the gas meter for us.  Heh!
Until next time!

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