Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Ol Man comes up for a work day

Yep, he showed up in his hoodie with an eagle on the front, his cowboy boots, and his wallet on a chain. The old truck was loaded up with a nice big load of black composted horse manure and the weedwacker. Ready to rock.

This is all part of the Disastrous Deck Project. Some of you might not know the background here: two and a half years ago we had to do a big reconstruction project on our house. It started off with fixing the decrepit bathroom, which we'd put off for eight years, then turned into adding a second bathroom downstairs, and heck while we're at it let's renovate the basement into living space and holy heck I'm getting hives just thinking about it but it's done now, it's great, we love having twice the amount of house but our deck got taken away in a dumpster because the whole foundation had to be dug out and why am I telling you all this?????

Because we ended up with a three foot drop at our back door. There's been a little set of steps there but it's not cuttin it. We need a decent porch out there. It's not like we can afford it though, so we're doing most of the work ourselves. Enter my dad.

Give the man a job and he will hunker down and do it. It won't get done fast but he'll just keep at it. Jethro had to go to work, so Dad and I got to work on setting down the landscape fabric. The fabric will keep weeds from growing up through the stone; the crushed stone goes under the deck as well as at the back of the house. The plan was to do a patio beside the deck but it might just stay in that lovely crushed stone look. I'll just say it's a Japanese Zen Garden. Think anybody'll believe me?

My backyard is wrecked. As if it wasn't bad enough that I've had various pieces of heavy machinery in there over the last couple of years -including my pickup truck- I let my kids and half the neighbourhood dig big holes. I figure it's good for them to learn how to use a spade. I mean, how the heck else are these townie kids gonna learn????

After a few hours Dad and I had the landscape fabric all down. We'd have to wait til the next morning for the crushed stone truck. I took the dog for a walk since the fence was down to allow for machinery, meaning Pug can't go out and run free in the yard. Then, we emptied Dad's truck of all that lovely black compost, spread it around, and called it a day.

Meanwhile back at the farm, my Mom snuck out to the barn to feed Spooky the barn cat, hoping the horses wouldn't notice, since she didn't plan on bringing them into the barn for grain. She wanted them to just sort of keep on grazing and not get all demanding on her!

So the next morning, we're all up and ate breakfast, kids wander out the door to school, and finally the stone truck arrives.

Jethro and Dad went out to show him where they want the stone dumped.

As in, back it right into the yard here, and dump the stone right here behind the house.

OOOOOh no, the guys says, nope. I'm not backing in there.

From where I was in the house I could hear voices although I couldn't hear what was being said. It would have gone something like this:

I'm not backing my truck in there.

Well we want you to. Back it into the yard.

No, I don't want to get stuck.

You won't get stuck. The Bobcat didn't get stuck yesterday, when it was raining. Let's go.

No, I don't want to screw up my transmission.

You won't screw up your transmission. We've had our pickup in here lots of times.

Yeah, I just had my truck in here overnight.

Well I don't want to do any property damage.

Uh, buddy, take a look. Seriously. You think you can do any worse than what's already been done?

You, what are you shaking your head about?

I'm a farmer, I know what's gonna get stuck in the mud and what's not, and you can get that truck in here!

I'll drop the stone in the driveway.

No you won't.

I'll dump it in the driveway and you can move it back yourselves.

Not a f***in chance buddy. Take it away.


I gotta go to work, man, we're not spending two days hand bombing stone into the backyard. I'd rather get somebody else in here that'll get it done like I want it done. Go back to the yard.

I gotta charge a delivery fee even if I take it back.

Fine. I'll pay it. Go away. I gotta go to work in half an hour.

We then spent ten minutes pondering the candy assedness of the entire landscaping/ contracting business around here. Dad kept saying, "How do these guys stay in business?"

Well, it's like this. Here in the town of Affluencia, where most of the residents commute to the city to work in office towers, there is never a lack of home improvement jobs. People make money and when they're done spending it on their kids they spend it on their houses. If the contractor says the topsoil is getting dumped in the driveway, Mr & Mrs will hire some grunts to move it into the backyard one shovel at a time if they have to. This would never work out in Smallville, mostly because many Smallvillians (haha, I love that term!) have their own tractors!!! They'd be all like, "Listen pal, do it my way or take a hike and I'll call my cousin Clem to do it."

Which is basically what Jethro did.

He called the other division of the company that sent the Bobcat the day before. The lady on the phone laughed. "Buddy didn't want to get his nice shiny new white truck all dirty, eh?"

They'll be bringing our stone sometime today.

In the meantime Jethro and I are seriously considering taking down this pansy ass townie standard chain link fence and putting a good proper farm gate at the end of our driveway. Even if we have to wire the cain link onto it so the Pug can't escape, we have to do something practical here. This deck project inevitably will lead to more machinery and I'm sick taking the fence down every time we have to get some work done.

Seriously. We took the dog for a spin around the block, which is an activity my Ol Man doesn't get- dogs don't need to be walked because they follow you around all day, right?- and on our tour of the neighbourhood I pointed out that almost all of these properties aren't accessible by big trucks. Most have a garage added, and have only a people sized gate to get behind the house.

"How does anybody get any work done around here?"

Yeah, no kidding. I was irritated enough that we had only one way to get into the back yard. No access from a dirt road on the other side of the property. No wide open spaces to turn around. And every other house in the subdivision has only enough room to get a push mower through there.

Dad just doesn't get it. Neither do I. Jethro grew up between the feed mill and the flood plane. He doesn't get it either.

So Dad and I fixed up my flowerbeds, I made him a fried egg for lunch, and sent him on his way.

He said he had a nice visit but I know he was eager to get back home again. Where he can park his truck anywhere the heck he wants.


Balloon Pirate said...

Yay for farmers!

Good luck on that farmer fence. I doubt the zoning board's gonna let you do that.

May I suggest a new name for your project? Negative names engender negative consequences. How about the Definitive Deck Project instead?


her indoors said...

i would have told him to jump out and i would drive it in myself, the whimp that he is!
so you forgetting to take the pictures, before and afters?!

Anita said...

I understand completely...
Contractors have taken over our town, and we hear horror stories about them every day!
I guess it's a blessing in disguise that we can't afford to hire one for our renovation...lol

Heidi the Hick said...

Pirate-heh hehe hehe....we're kind of not going to ask anybody's permission first...

You're right, we need a new name for the project. You are absolutely right about that.

I'm taking suggestions, starting right now with Definitive Deck Project!

Indoors, all three of us figured we could wrangle that truck in there and do the job right. Thanks for reminding me to take pictures!!!!

Anita I can't imagine the mess of contractors surrounding you right now. Yeeeeesh!

dilling said...

if we put a vehicle in the back yard, we can't close the gate!

Tod said...

Good luck with the new project! I'm done with them myself. After fifteen years renovating an old house we moved to a new one. All my spare cash is gonna be spent on me in future! Hee1 Hee!

Heidi the Hick said...

Dilling- that's because your backyard is FULL OF FLOWERS!!!!!

Tod, the worst part is, when we're done with this place, we'll get to start all over again...on a bigger place...more land, more buildings...or is that the best part? I'm not sure anymore. I have such a love hate for home improvement!

Redneck Nerdboy! said...

Contractors and permits shut the entire system down a little more each day.

You are such a good writer, ladyfriend!

CindyDianne said...

Damnable Suburbia!

(new post about one of your favorite topics)

mdmnm said...

Oh man! I'd about half convinced myself that I could hire somebody to take out 50' of nasty evergreen hedge in front of my (suburban) house but now I'm feeling all guilty about it! After all, I've got a chain saw, loppers, and a pickup- it'll only be about eight or nine loads to the dump! But, but, it's hunting season. Best fishing of the year! Oh man, I didn't come here for a guilt trip!
Oh, and- backyard access is a big selling point. You all are just adding value with that gate. Right?