Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My New (And Improved) Driveway

It’s only through the miracle of caffeine that I am still in motion.

I was up for 21 hours (5:30 a.m. Monday until 2:30 a.m. today) and then back up at 5:45 this morning. I was doing some stuff for work as a trade-off for taking vacation today. Vacation only in the sense that I wasn’t physically in the office.

Before 9 a.m. I was outside moving things out of the driveway and getting things ready for a workday with Lawrence. Today’s job: Align and secure the second of the columns in the carport and shore up the edge of the driveway by pouring concrete in the area adjacent to the existing edge, currently occupied by landscape timbers.

This time, instead of raising the column between 6 and 8 inches like we did on Saturday, we brought it up less than inch. We did, however, still have to dig for several inches to hit bottom and burrow beneath to put in a concrete footing. Even that job was easier.
Instead of hollowing out and removing 15 gallons of debris, we had to take out less than half that. Still, digging in an area little more than a square foot with a hand trowel is tedious and painstaking. Once the concrete was in place, and while it set up, we moved to the driveway edge. We began digging out weeds, rock and other debris.

While Lawrence mixed and poured, I continued the weeding and debris removal. I would then throw in a light layer of rock on the area he was working in and he’d cover it with concrete. We started out with an edge that look like this. Look closely at this photo from Saturday and you can see the jagged edges of the driveway and how they periodically drop off into nothingness.

The previous owner’s solution was to “square off” the driveway with railroad ties. These were already rotted by the time we moved in and the mother has replaced them with these landscape timbers.

I have to pick them all up to properly mow or to weed eat and they turn the pit they fill into a leaf magnet this time of year. Total pain in the ass.

Well, that era ended today.

Fifteen bags of fast-setting concrete later, the driveway is now even with the yard. Due to the gritty quality of the concrete, it already seems to mimic the consistency of the asphalt. I need to wait a while, but eventually I’ll throw some driveway seal on it and voila, instant extended driveway!

We were also able to stuff rock and concrete under some of those nasty crevices, shoring up the edge. No more fighting to fill them every time I seal! I sure wish I could get back some of the hours of my life I dedicated to doing that.

Depending on how well this solution works, I’m already thinking that I may pull up the cinder blocks (you can see them farther down the driveway) and replace them the same way I did those landscape timbers.

But that's an "if" and a "someday" scenario. Right now, I need to finish some stuff for work and put my sorry self to bed.


Vicki said...

I am always impressed with your projects and how much you do. Sigh, I still have to hang up the kids' clothes that I washed on Friday.

Victoria said...

Wow, looks great!

modernemama said...

I'm totally in awe of the energy you put into the project

Debbie said...

Wow, you are like the energizer bunny! It's amazing how much you accomplish, I hope I have that much ambition once I get started! :)

Anonymous said...

I was up most of last night too for very different reasons and this post is reminding me how tired I am now! You are a die-hard. How do you have so much energy?...

NV said...

Vicki -- Thanks! I wish I could do more. The simplest things just take forever sometimes.

Victoria -- Thanks! It will really look good once the bricks are in place and I seal over the concrete.

Moderne -- Thank you. Just glad I can be up to most of these challenges. The alternative is scary. :-)

Debbie -- Thanks. Even the Human Dynamo gets tired sometimes. (Take this week, for example.) You'll be VERY busy. You've got lots of pent-up energy to get rid of!

kspin -- Yeah, but your reason is CUTE and CUDDLY! :-) I am a die-hard which is a good thing because you almost have to be that determined to get ANYTHING done around here! Caffeine and sugar. Couldn't do it without them.