Wednesday, March 27, 2013

We was framed.

People, we've got walls.

It started with a little tiny wall.

 Even Trent recognized that we had a problem here.

Luckily, the contractors weren't finished. By the end of day one of framing we had walls tall enough, even for humans.

I came home from work very excited to see our new walls. I ran up the stairs and to take look but then I noticed the giant square holes in the wall. I poked my head in the door to verify with fiance that these big holes were going to be windows. They were. So I stopped taking pictures, went back inside and plopped down on the couch with a loud sigh to get Jaydee's attention.

"What's wrong?" He looked away from the Crysis 3 (the video game that he has been determined to beat since last Friday) for two milliseconds.

"Oooooh nothing." I replied.

Satisfied that I was fine he went back to his Crysis. What a silly man. Who actually believes it when girls say "Nothing"? So I sighed again and stood up a tiny bit so I could plop down on the couch again. No response. So I reached over to take off his hat.

"WHAT?! What's wrong? Don't touch my hat."

"Oh thanks for asking. Well... nothing really. It's just that the windows are in the wrong spot."

"Uh, excuse me?"

Jaydee wasn't pleased. Didn't I look at the plans? Yes, but I clearly didn't pay enough attention. Was I going to call Brian the contractor to tell him we would like the window moved? No, no I don't really like confrontation. Do I really think this is necessary, you really want to look right at the road? Yes. I think it's wacko to not have a window on the curb facing wall. 

We walked outside to take a look. It was real weird.

Jaydee agreed - the window had to be moved. Sooo he called Brian the contractor and explained that I was being a little baby and that we'd like to have the window moved. Yes, we realized it would cost extra. Yep, we know that the plans that we approved had the window on the side. Uh huh, we've considered that we'll be able to see the road. Alas, even Brian agreed. The window had to be moved.

So the very next day, I came home to this lovely sight.

And you know what, you can't even see the road from inside the bedroom (unless you try to. But really, how often will we try?).

Excellent. Next step roof.

Friday, March 15, 2013

So it Begins!!

The ground has been broken. We officially have a giant hole in the ground and a small mountain in the backyard. Shortly after we got permits the folks with clipboards started wandering our yard. As luck would have it, we were outside battling a giant stump, when the dirt dudes came by. This was great because Jaydee got a chance to ask them a question that had been plaguing him for months. "What will you do with all the dirt? And if you don't have plans for it, can I have it?" he asked. The dirt guys were more than happy to hand over the pile. It really turned out to be a win win for all of us - We save money paying for the dirt to be removed, the dudes don't have to take the dirt very far, and the dogs get a small mountain to play on. The dirt guys were so pleased with the transaction, they threw in another boon for free - "Hey, you guys want us to move the trees in the front back here while we're at it?"

Remember this big hole we made a couple weekends ago?

Trees was exactly what we needed. Perfect. We shook hands and bid the dirt dudes adieu.

Bright and early Monday morning, the trucks came.

Ok, I know this is a concrete truck... but I don't have a picture of dirt trucks so this'll have to do.  Ok? Ok. 

Then, some nice looking fellows started digging the giant hole in the front yard.

This hole is to become the master bedroom, bath and closet. Very exciting stuff. As promised those two nice dirt folk we met, saved the dirt for us and even moved it to a convenient location for the dogs.

Jaydee was thrilled to come home to find four freshly torn up trees ready to be re-planted in the back yard. He borrowed some dirt from the pups, and hauled the recycled trees to the giant crater in the back yard.

Someone needs to wash his pants...
They look great and they were only $free.95. Gotta love it.

Ok, back to the dirt pile. This shining pile of glory is to become a terrace. Pretty fancy, eh?

All we have to do is buy and stack some retaining wall blocks and then smash the dirt down. For that we get to use a very intriguing tool that Jaydee calls a whomper stomper, or whacker packer, or basher smasher... something like that. It sounds very exciting.

As soon as the crew was done digging the hole in the front yard, they started filling it back up again. They added forms, then concrete, then some scary looking spikes.

This my friends, is my new room.

It's a bit drafty, but whatchagonnado?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Two's Company, Tree's a Crowd.

 Jaydee got a new hat on Friday.

Jaydee's not much into change so we decided that we'd better do something seriously dirty this weekend to make the new hat look more like a Jaydee hat. We had the perfect project in mind. We'd use this occasion to tackle the monstrous dead-weed-tree-twig-demon in our back yard.

You ever removed a tree? Yeah. Me neither. It's quite a project. First Jaydee tried insults and some moderate badgering.

Twasn't enough. Sooo we broke out the ax and the clippers and the shovel. The dead-weed-tree-twig-demon branches didn't stand a chance. We had that puppy in pieces in about an hour."Ah ha!" we thought, "victory is ours!"

While we basked in our success the dead-weed-tree-twig-demon root gathered it's power and army or earth worms. We didn't know it yet, but the fight was only beginning.

We started to work at removing the stubborn root tangle. This thing was ridiculous. As you can see, there were about 234,132 different limbs growing from the beast, each one with a root that was longer than me (for a reference, I'm 5'7" long, so that really is quite a root).

We hacked. We pulled, shoveled, spaded, hoed. We circled the dead-weed-tree-twig-demon and plotted the best way to remove the root tangle. We decided the best bet was to dig around the monster, and then when we had some room, start digging under the mess. We started digging. About a half our way in, we had our first fatality.

He was a good shovel. Ok, he wasn't a great shovel. He was a $5 shovel that wasn't up for the challenge - we should've known. We piled into the car and headed to Lowes for more shovels, gloves for Dani and tree planting soil.

With new shovels in gloved hands (I wore gloves, tough guy couldn't handle losing his dexterity and grip so he unwisely chose blisters over comfort) we started at again. Digging. More digging. Then more digging. This war was slow going but our spirits remained high.

After about an hour and a half of trench digging we realized it wasn't going to be enough. We started plotting again. I had the idea that we needed something to stick under the dang thing and pry it out but unfortunately we didn't have any 5'+ steel rods laying around. Then Jaydee had an idea. We needed something called a spud bar. So, we piled back in the car and headed back to Lowes.

It turns out a spud bar is a really heavy steel bar with a spade thingamabob at one end and a flat circle at the other. This gadget proved key. It just took jamming it into the ground about 28 times with Jaydee's full body weight behind it, then Jaydee and I both hanging on the end of it and then the beast started to move. Slowly, but surely we jammed, pried, wiggled, kicked, jammed and pried that puppy free. The crunch of the last few roots breaking free was like an ice cream sundae on a hot day...

We thought, "Now it's over. It's really over. We've won." But once again, we underestimated the dead-weed-tree-twig-demon. It still had to be moved from the battle ground to the front yard where it would be taken away with the excavation stuff and it planned to torture us the whole way there...

The heathen weight about 300lbs. Ok, maybe 200lb. Either way, that mother was heavy. We heaved and hoed until finally, we got the beast in the wheel barrow.

Just as we started to let our guard down. SNAP! The dead-weed-tree-twig-demon took it's second victim.

The wheelbarrow. In the excitement and horror we almost failed to notice that another team member had been taken down...

Jaydee's right boot. It was all too much. I didn't know if I could go on.

But then Jaydee brought me a cookie and things got better again. The four of us piled in the car again for our third trip to Lowes. Oy! After the quick errand, we were back in business with a shiny new wheelbarrow.

It took some serious man-handling, but we finally got the dead-weed-tree-twig-demon loaded up and taken out front. Geeeeeeeez llloouuuiiissseee!

The last thing to do was play in the giant hole we dug.

Here's a look at the post-war backyard.

Betcha didn't know there was a shed back there. So long dead-weed-tree-twig-demon!