Monday, March 21, 2011


Sometimes I'm thankful that I have a desk job to save me from myself.  I knew going into the weekend that I had a very ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish.  And let's be clear -- I have totally ditched doing anything on the inside of my house now that it is Spring.  I am all about what is outside. 

Friday night was date night and I relaxed... 

Saturday morning I was tied to the house because I was waiting for the cable guy to show up.  You know the drill; they give you a window of 4 hours during which you really hope they show up on the front end.  I put a note on my front door that I was out back, and tackled raking up the rest of the winter straw cover out of my beds and spreading it into the alley.  That lead to weeding my alley.  Weeding.  The alley.  When I did that last time (yes, not only was I doing it, but I've done it before) one of my friends called me a @#$*%  overachiever.  I think she was kidding... But in my defense, I can see my alley -- and I went to a lot of effort last year to clean it up...must.  Maintain.

Anyway, the cable guy did show up and I lost a few hours of work time; he was there 4 hours (hello wireless internet -- I knew the technology could work...) and you can't just let a service guy roam your house without you.  Although Greta made it very clear what she thought of his presence.  She spent the 4 hours locked in the kitchen...

Anyway, the straw was raked and spread in the alley for additional weed control.  The straw did great things in the plant insulation and mud control departments over the winter, but I am not so sure that it is a repeat.  Or, if I do repeat it, maybe I won't use three bales.  That is more straw than you would think...

Saturday afternoon Red came over and first things first, "Be gone, old wooden deck stairs!"  I am LIBERATED from those nasty ol' hazardous wooden steps.  Although tentative from fear of hitting rusty screws, I took great satisfaction from cutting them into pieces with Red's chainsaw.  I had some fleeting thoughts of saving the old lumber to repurpose into something else, but in the end toted the whole business to the curb.  The steps and other related refuse had been junking up a section of my yard for almost a month -- wouldn't you know they were taken out just after the monthly bulk trash pick up?  I reclaimed that section of my yard.  Visually excellent.

Then we finished building the yoga platforms... photo in the next post!

And then the rest of the dervishing began in earnest.  Raspberries were weeded.  Plants were watered, flower seeds were planted (okay I was procrastinating.)  Construction remnants were sorted and put away.  The dog was walked, fed, and bathed.  Shower, eat, review the list for Sunday... still rather daunting.  Made arrangements to return borrowed bicycles to friends.  Went to bed early.

Sunday.  It began at 7:30 a.m. with a half hour of yoga in the backyard.  Ahhh.  Awesome.  And good for getting the kinks out from the day before.  Next, a dog walk, and coffee on the porch with neighbors.  Then my weekly telephone call with my best girlfriend.  Then an unexpected long telephone chat from a good friend in North Carolina -- she got engaged while vacationing in Italy!  So happy for her!  All fun.  All not exactly productive, but mental health is important as well.  By now... it's after 10.  My first bicycle delivery is slated for between 10 and 11.  Yeah, I am already late.

Insert a fiasco involving 7 foot sheets of paper, Gorilla tape, a lot of wind, an extension cord, a laptop computer and a projector.  Move the fiasco to three different locations before having marginal success.  More on that later...

And then, at 11:45 a.m. put the bike in the backseat of the Mini, and road trip to Richardson.  Realize about halfway there that I forgot the tire pump.  Do not turn back.  Arrive, unload the bike, have a nice chat with the girlfriend (it's becoming an unexpectedly social weekend -- I am momentarily frustrated until I review and say a prayer of thanks for having so many friends.)

Stop at Home Depot paint department and wheel home.  It's now mid-afternoon.  Yikes.  Raking begins again, this time of leaves, not straw.  That leads to attacking (I am not exaggerating) the evergreen vine that grows on the fence along my driveway.

It's pretty, right?  I agree.  But it also is rather aggressive.  I choose not to think about what I've been told with regard to it being a "rodent highway" at night -- which is evidenced by my dog's frequent interest in it.  Ewww.  Instead, I reconcile that while it may be a highway, it is not a highway to say, my attic,*  and that I'd rather look at the vine than a bare wooden fence.  Anyway some semi-annual maintenance is required.  Well that got totally out of control.  Three hours later I had the hedge trimmer and ladder out, and I was literally knee deep in cut up vines in my driveway.  I would still be there bagging all that up if not for my $9.99 leaf hands that I bought last year.  Whomever invented those things deserves a gold medal.

Anyway, it's too late for long-story-short, but this weekend was bonding weekend with my rake.  During all of that, a posse of 8 friends and neighbors showed up for a backyard tour of rain barrels, garden beds, the worm farm, (they have one too) the work shop, and rain barrel dealing (sale) and bicycle pick up.  Fun -- but you know what happens when you've been doing hard labor for hours and you stop?  And then try to start up again?  Your muscles literally make noise.

Then I got up on the ladder and swished leaves and debris off my garage roof.  Stuff was getting on the screens, and then down the gutter, and then on the tops of my rain barrels.  Can't have that.  Then I moved to the front yard and used the chainsaw and took out 4 shrubs and shortened a tree stump.  I was able to dig out the roots for 3 of them... but others were stronger than I.  By now my pile at the curb is reaching epic proportions.  About 10 of my neighbors across the street are in their front yards, drinking wine and laughing.  They wave, call out to me, but I know better than to pop over and say hello... by about 7 p.m. this is what things looked like:

It had gotten a little ridiculous.  By 7:45 p.m. I was showered, in clean lounge clothes, and enjoying a cold beer on my porch -- surveying my accomplishments.  Some neighbors stopped by, and we sat and enjoyed the cool evening for a while.  I know I am going to be sore in the coming days... but my place sure looks better.  My fervant hope for tonight?  A home pedicure, a real dinner, and my DVR.

*Which is one the reasons why last year the vine had to come off of my house.  The other reason?  The movie, "The Ruins."

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