Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy birthday to me

Things are good.

My backyard is very quiet right now, and it's a beautiful sunny morning. There's a nifty stack of presents sitting on my dining room table, with my name on them. Miz Bubs bought some very nice steaks last night, and some Danish blue cheese to crust them with, so I'm looking forward to an excellent dinner. I talked her and my mom out of taking me out to Shaw's Crab House in favor of us cooking a fun dinner here at home. Plus I can stay in shorts and sandals. Woot!

I originally planned on going for a 4 or 5 mile run first thing to celebrate my 44th birthday, but an unanticipated 5am wakeup and allergy headache postponed that plan. So, instead, after moving the cars out of the driveway and buying donuts for the landscapers, I treated myself to the last slice of apple pie and a rich dark cup of coffee. Back to the backyard: there is no grass, and all the dirt is unnaturally flat. The landscaper came yesterday and tore the evergreen bushes out from the front of the house, and removed all the grass/weeds from the backyard. In about 20 minutes they'll be coming back to lay new sod. Around 9am my friend the side-job-working firefighter, is coming to run electric conduit along the edge of the backyard to where the pond is. I spent day before yesterday digging the trench for it.

As some of you long-time readers may recall, on May 9th I started calling contractors to get estimates for landscaping, a new front porch, driveway repair, and a new or repaired garage door. And on May 30th I got all enthusiastic about the native plants that Miz Bubs ordered for our backyard. Here's where it's at now:

The landscaping work will be done at the end of today, with new sod in the backyard. We're preparing for the challenge of keeping the dogs off it for a few weeks. The pond is finished except for the planting, and the electric will be in by this afternoon. It turns out that most of the plants we ordered aren't available, so Miz Bubs, girl genius, ordered a bunch more after talking with the lady at the nursery and explaining what we were looking for. We'll pick those up and plant them Friday.

Yesterday I hired a brick guy to tear out and replace the front porch. He's coming by this afternoon with samples and plans. Can't get the work done until mid-late July though.

The garage is on hold. It's simple to repair the door, but Miz wants to put in a new automatic door, which is cool except there's no electricity in the garage. And, thanks to the concrete back patio/garage apron, there's no way to run electric there from the house. Unless the entire driveway gets dug up, which brings me to the next point...

Living on a state road makes getting your driveway repaired a pain in the ass. Take a look at this picture. The part of the driveway from the garage out to the sidewalk is old, but I could get away with just having it sealcoated. The apron, from the sidewalk to the street, is a rutted mess and needs to be torn out and replaced. Here's the problem--after talking with 4 different asphalt pavers, no one will only repair the apron. The combination of busy street, and the permits needed from the state in addition to local permits, make it too much of a hassle for a contractor for such a small job. So, I have to get the entire driveway excavated and replaced, in order to get the 60 square feet I really need repaired, done. Now, the upside of this is, once the entire driveway is excavated, there's about a 20 minute window where my friend doing the electric work can put the conduit in to run electric to the garage. I just have to get him to commit to being here on the same day the asphalt guys come. Or show me how to do the conduit part and have him snake the wiring later on. Because I don't mess with electrical stuff. Then we can deal with the garage door issue.

Hey, this blogging stuff is fun, and it cured my headache! The combination of coffee and generic Costco claritin has kicked in, and I'm ready to tackle the day.

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