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Friday, September 16, 2016

Patio Project 2016

So, in my last post I told you we were building a patio but I wanted to expand a bit on that.

Ever since Steve and I moved into our house, we've always desired more outdoor space to enjoy.  The lot of our house was originally huge, a couple of owners before us sub-divided the lot and built a house on what used to be the backyard... and it's taken away any space that we would have had to enjoy our time outdoors.  We have a small cement slab of 'patio' between our house and garage, but it's very sheltered and not a desirable space.
So, with that background, we've always talked about putting a nice patio off our front door - we have a corner lot and a park across the street, so with our front door being right on that corner, it's the perfect place to have an outdoor space.
So this past Spring Steve says to me "let's build our patio this summer"... WHOA!  Okay!!  I always thought this was just a pipe dream and would never actually happen.

So... it's been a very LONG drawn out process and we've been doing ALL the work ourselves (with the exception of some stucco we needed patched up) mostly because we've learned that hiring the work out is a crock!  I can't even tell you how many days were wasted waiting to hear back from people on one job or another.  Seriously... PISSED!

Sometime in the last 5 years we discovered that the old cobblestone street pavers in Minneapolis had been salvaged and we're available for purchase, but they were pretty expensive.  Until one day we learned about a place that was selling these beautiful granite pavers for CHEAP!  So... these things are huge (like 5"x9" and 5" thick) and beautiful, around 20#-30# each, rose granite, gray granite, pink quartzite:

The catch is that you have to go this yard and pick them yourself from a pile as tall as a house.  Also, most of them are filthy and many have cement stuck to them.  So once you have the bricks you want, you have to spend the time using an air chisel to remove the cement and then power wash them all.

So let's count... So far we've lifted the 20# brick to load it, lifted the 20# brick to unload it, lifted the 20# brick to chip cement off it (the air chisel is no joke), and then lifted the 20# brick to move it to be power washed... AND THEN lifted the 20# brick after power washing.

Next you have to remove stairs from your house.. because they are heavy and causing the stucco to break open...
I tried to operate the jack hammer, but it was far too heavy for me, so I only got in about 45 seconds

and then you have the stucco people come and fill in the hole on your house (this process was painful, the communication of the company was lackluster, at best, and I almost didn't want to pay the final payment because of the length of time we had to wait):

The next step of this patio is to dig out the space, right?  So we rent this beast:
and while you won't find a photo of this, I promise (and I have witnesses to back me up), I operated that thing the entire weekend!!  It was a bucket list sort of things for me.

Then of course you lay a gravel base and tamp it

Next we had sand delivered and we are ready to start laying bricks!
laying the first brick

This is the point we are at right now:

It's a challenge for sure, laying these bricks in a pattern, they are different sizes and shapes... more of a puzzle than anything.  We're getting there... slow and steady wins the race, my friends!

We removed the stairs the last weekend of July and now here we are almost 7 weeks later (working mostly weekends only, and mostly just the 2 of us) and we probably have over half of our bricks laid.  Our goal is to have all the bricks in place by end of day Monday and cross our fingers for good weather next weekend for filling in the gaps with our bonding sand.

I will try to remember to come back in a few weeks and post the finished product!!  I'm really excited for the historic value this patio will provide, not to mention, FINALLY having a place to sit outside and enjoy a nice glass of wine!


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Random Update v16.1

So it's been a hot minute since I've typed a random blog... I'm gonna try to do a random update of sorts.  Lots to be keeping track of in my life right now.  I'm seriously behind.

  • Last October (2015) my (maternal) grandfather passed away. 
  • Last month (August 2016), his wife, my (maternal) Grandmother, passed away.
    • That means, in a span of 15 months, I lost 3 grandparents and a cat.  I'm ready for death to be done.
  • In June, I added a little tattoo to my growing collection, in honor of my little buddy (this is his actual print):

  • Somewhere around the end of July, we took a jack hammer to our front stairs and began building a patio all by ourselves.  I'll post another blog detailing this patio.. it's pretty cool actually.
    Here is what our house looked like when we moved in:

    Here is what our house looks like now (currently under construction still):
  • I have some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks:
    • I'm running a Vikings 5k on 10/1 and the finish line is at the 50 yard line of the new home to the Minnesota Vikings (U.S. Bank Stadium)
    • After that 5k, I will be boarding a plane with my mom and brother and heading to Portland, OR for a few days!
    • I'm going to see Sia on 10/13!!!
    • A week after Sia I will be boarding a plane with my favorite group of girls and heading to VEGAS!!
      • We also have ticket to see Britney Spears while in Vegas :)
I think that is probably about all I've got for now... I"ll put together something regarding the patio, with more detail real soon for your reading pleasure.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May is becoming my least favorite month... RIP Boomer

RIP Sweet Kitty
Back on May 3rd the hardest decision of my life was made.  Boomer was ready to leave my side and go play with the all the heavens have to offer.  All he can eat catnip, mice to chase, cheese and yogurt galore...

You don't need details... because simply, the details are not important.  His health was declining and rather than selfishly keeping him around and pumping him full of drugs and other crap, I decided it was time to move on.  The vet supported my decision and told me that cats don't show pain like people do and he was likely in pain.  Hard to hear, but a no-brainer as far as the decision.

He was my little buddy for 14 years.

It's been 3 weeks to the day and I'm still fucking distraught over it.  I went to the vet alone to talk it over, knowing the whole day it was coming... Steve came and I explained everything and we agreed.

It's so different losing a life that is part of your everyday.  You still look at the floor when you walk to give him a good pet or to make sure you're not going to step on him.  You still look at his food dish to make sure he's eating.  You still think to give him fresh water all the time.  You lay on the couch and wait for him to jump up and cuddle with you:

I've been in a downward spiral... drinking more than I should be, not working out, not having any real motivation for things in general.  I weighed myself this morning and I'm 0.8# away from hitting the next weight class {up} in weight... so hopefully I can go home and run tonight.  I can't cross back into that weight class.  I think that working out routinely will help boost my mood, as it has before, so I need to find the energy to try.  Even if it's just a short run, I need to do something.  I need out of this funk.

Last year on Mother's Day (May 10th), my Gma (and my best friend) passed.  3 years ago on May 22nd, 10 days before our wedding, Steve's mother passed.  Before I was born, on Mother's Day (May 12, 1972), my grandfather passed.  It just seems like May is quickly filling up with sad dates.


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