Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Scrapbooking Meets DIY

One of the things I probably like the most about scrapbooking -- outside the photos themselves -- are the tools.

I have a Slice, which is like a small but less frilly Cricut, except this die-cutter is rechargeable and can be used cordless. I have a myriad of cutters, clippers, setters and adhesive machines.While scrapbooking and DIY clearly have this in common, it's not often that the two worlds collide, at least not for me.

But on Sunday, they did.

I have a variety of cordless Black & Decker tools, several from their Firestorm line. On Sunday, I was using my sander from that collection. LOVE the sander. It uses the sanding pads that you velcro to the sanding base. See the velcro? Do you also see the little orange triangle at the top? It's special in that the pads come with extra diamond-shape pieces so you can switch JUST that piece out to do edging or other precision sanding. I use that a lot.

Which is probably why the adhesive holding that little piece of Velcro in place finally gave way. I tried another option, which worked in the short-term, before falling off yet again.

For a while, I couldn't figure out what to do and then it hit me: the Xyron. Of course!

Some years back, when I was traveling back and forth to Rochester, a client turned friend was having problems getting her parking card to stick to her windshield. (It had a similar Velcro attachment.) I took my small Xyron in my carry-on luggage and fixed it while I was in town. A few years ago, she mailed me the piece again and I repaired it and mailed it back.

Because it was handier, I grabbed my medium-sized Xyron. It works on items up to 2.5-inches wide. The smaller one is up to an inch. I think the biggest of the three I own is up to 5 or 6 inches. Collectivelly, these are some great tools and I use them a lot.

It didn't hold the first time. The second time, after I cleaned both the sander AND the Velcro piece and then wiped both with a touch of rubbing alcohol and allowed them to dry, it stuck! Didn't have any trouble with it for the rest of the afternoon.

It's great to know that I can mix my mediums. It's like getting twice the benefit of my tools!

Monday, July 30, 2012

At Last: R-A-I-N!

We got teased with raindrops a few weeks ago but other than that, we hadn't had rain since I can't remember when.

I was sound asleep yesterday morning when I heard the mother’s voice: “It’s raining.”


I wasn’t awake but I wasn’t so out of it that the idea of rain, something we’ve seen almost none of in the past three months, did not escape me. “Really?” I asked, half doubting her even as I sat up to peer outside. I pulled the shade back, flipped the shutter and behold, there WAS rain! Wow. It wasn’t a downpour by any stretch but it was a steady rain, strong enough that puddles were forming on the deck and in the driveway.

It would figure that it would finally rain when I had planned to be outside sanding between 8 and 8:30! (I had managed to get the large cabinet down in the bathroom and I also had a half-sheet of beadboard to tackle.) Instead of thinking of something else to do, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

When I got up around 9:30 it was still raining though it looked like it was slacking a bit. The sky even had a small visible patch of blue. I thought that by the time I got dressed and had a little breakfast that I would be ready to go. But no, still raining. It would rain for almost another two hours!

Great. Now it will be muggy and horrible out, I thought as the sun blazed through the clouds. Except, it wasn’t. Instead, after setting up shop under the tree that separates our half of the vacant lot from the neighbor’s, a steady breeze kicked in. It was PLEASANT! What a welcome and wonderful change from sweating your guts out as soon as you walk outside.

I managed to make it through sanding the cabinet, both its doors and two shelves. The beadboard will have to wait. (Not a big deal. I figure I can sand and then cut it at the same time.) I also carried a bunch of stuff out of the basement, located several projects pieces I was looking for and then found and carried up paint we’d need for the bathroom.

I was pretty much on the move from 11 until after 8 last night, taking just a few short breaks in between. While I was exhausted when I finally fell into bed last night, at least it was from the effort of actually DOING things and not almost entirely from trying to DO things while being baked alive.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Night Scene

For weeks now, almost without exception, I go out and water the shrubs at or just after sundown.

And it's been SO miserably hot that even at night, even without the sun, it is still oppressive. It's like the air just stops and your oxygen level goes with it. Absolutely stifling. But last night, it wasn't that way at all.

While it was very hot again yesterday, at dusk it was comfortable. ("Pleasant" would be too strong a word, though I'll admit that when the occasional breeze kicked up, pleasant might apply.) Even as I tugged at the hose, something that is not that dissimilar from trying to unwrap a firehose, the air didn't immediately rush from my lungs the way it usually does.

As I began to water the shrubs, the moon became perfectly aligned with the plastic pan of water I leave out for the creatures. For the next few minutes, I watched the half-moon glimmer and dance in the water. Then, as it rose in the night sky, the moonlight caught the gutters along the house giving them an eerie shimmer.

When hit with the hose, the resulting droplets completely lit up as they connected, bursting against it and then flying away into the darkness of night. It was quite the night scene and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's one I hope to enjoy a bit more this summer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The TV Saga: The Final Chapter

You may recall that, back in March, I had quite a saga in purchasing a new TV for the livingroom.

I was finally successful after finding the same TV (for less money) at Wal-Mart and also adding HD to our cable service. You may also recall that I tried previously to move the old TV a few months ago to get it out of the house but had to give up before I dropped it on my fool feet.

And so, it sat on a small canvas throw in the dining room floor for four months. It was getting to where looking at it made me angry. I wanted it gone – and yet I felt powerless to achieve that.

That ended today.

I noticed that it was electronic item collection day in a neighboring community – where I was planning to do some hardware store shopping anyway. That sealed the deal. That TV was going OUT OF THIS HOUSE and INTO THE CAR. I didn't care what it took. It was happening. I reminded myself of what I had been able to accomplish on a similarly hot summer day four years ago: destroying the old concrete walkway with a 14-pound sledge hammer. I had been encouraged by the fact that someone had quoted me $600 to do the job. (That alone was more than half of the budget for the whole walkway/porch bricking project!)

I was able to drag the TV on the canvas across the dining room and then into the kitchen. From there, things got dodgy. The door from the kitchen to the basement and the backdoor which opens into the landing cannot be opened completely at the same time without some careful maneuvering. And while the TV wasn't incredibly heavy (maybe 40 pounds) the weight was situated all in the middle. And you can't reach the middle (or at least I couldn't) because of the bulky, lightweight protruding back of the set. Total nightmare.

I managed to wrestle it through one doorway and then the other and carefully navigate it onto the deck. From there, my plan was to load the TV into Pearl's trunk. I drove Pearl out of the carport and forward as far as I could without hitting the shed, meaning she was parallel to the deck. I threw open the trunk and then began my challenge.

Getting the TV from the deck to the car wasn't hard. Hefting the TV into the trunk was a little more challenging. Then, trying to maneuver the TV into the trunk (so that it could be closed) was an exercise in futility. Pearl's trunk just wasn't large enough. (The T-bird might have been another story.) After several minutes of trying, I opted for the backseat instead.

By this time, it was about 98 degrees outside so I went in to cool off for a bit before shifting my attention to the backseat.

That proved to be an equally tight process because the open backdoor leaves no room for wrangling.

Thank God I had put blankets and the canvas down first. And finally, success! I used the seatbelt to secure the TV in place and off I went.

Finally! SO very glad to have that thing out of here.
It's a good feeling to accomplish something you don't even think you can do.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Planning … Again

Yesterday, I made a list with several separate subsets of “to-dos.”


On one side of the page, I separately listed all of the things I still need to do in the bathroom and kitchen. *Sigh* That is one hell of a list! Daunting, to say the least.

On the other side, I listed all of the things I need to do related to these projects, like measure for and order the special order tile to put along the top of the shower surround. That list is shorter and more manageable. I figure that as I am able to cross those things off the list at least the page will bear SOME evidence of progress!

And, on the adjacent page, I have listed all the things I need to have Lawrence do or that I need to discuss with him. Yes, Lawrence – THAT Lawrence! He called me out of the blue on Friday afternoon. (He must be psychic as his name has come up a lot lately.) I’m trying to work out some days next month for him to reappear on the scene. But first, I have work I need to complete so that he can do the things I’ve listed for him. That's kind of a tall order.

I hope that I will be able to take care of some of that later this week. I’m planning to take a few days of vacation (I DO still get vacation time) from the WEEKS I have stockpiled for the year. If the weather cooperates, as well as my stamina, I should be able to get ‘er done. Or, at least enough of it to get Lawrence back on the job.

Here’s hoping.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Birthday

Sunday was my birthday.

Birthdays were like a national holiday when I was younger but not so for quite some time. I even went through a phase where I dreaded them. (Turning 40 ended that.) So, I wasn't sure what kind of day it was going to be but it turned out to be one of the best I've had in a while.

The mother hasn't been well lately and she didn't feel like doing anything. That actually ended up not being a bad thing. Pearl and I went on an adventure.

Poor Pearl. She was FILTHY (and I get unnerved when she's dirty) so I wasn't going anywhere without getting her cleaned. As luck would have it, I had tucked away a free coupon for a deluxe car wash at a place along the way. Wahoo!

The mother wanted me to look for a gift item at Cracker Barrel so I stopped there next. Then, it was on to Archiver's and from there to Harbor Freight. I got some new sawhorses and a few other unanticipated bargains. Score!

I even stopped at ANOTHER scrapbook store and did a buzz through Tuesday Morning's scrapbook offerings before heading to get some food. I was hungry and it was getting a bit hot out so I turned Pearl homeward.

MMMMmmmm good. I passed on getting either a cake or a pie but as the afternoon wore on, I was overcome by a chocolate attack. Shortly before sunset, I decided a blizzard would fill that void quite nicely. Apparently, everyone else in town thought it would be a good idea, too, as both the store itself and the drive-thru were jammed. Sigh. Don't these people know it's my birthday?!

As it turned out, the wait in line was a blessing in disguise. Had I been able to zip in and out of DQ, I'd have been quickly back home and inside, consuming my blizzard ... and I would have completely missed the gorgeous sunset going on outside. What a bonus gift!

All in all, it was a really good day, something I haven't had in a while and for which I was exceptionally grateful. I know I haven't always been as grateful as perhaps I should be. Days like yesterday make it a whole lot easier to be grateful for.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Writer, baker, cabinet maker

I've been trying to get organized and get working on the kitchen and bathroom again.

Yesterday, I managed to make a little progress with kitchen stuff. See for yourself. Here's one of our current drawer fronts in the kitchen. It's the only one that still has the old handles on it. Currently, none of the other drawers or any of the cabinets have any handles on them.

When I took them off, I thought I would be replacing them a heck of a lot sooner. But, as time has worn on, we've adapted to it. Earlier this week, I managed to locate the pieces for what will become our new drawer fronts. I spent a good chunk of Saturday assembling and sanding them.
They still need some paint, but you get the idea. I even tacked on one of the new handles so I could see what it's going to look like. The photo doesn't show it very well, but the handles are a nice, shiny nickel finish.

The fun part is that I still haven't completely figured out HOW I'm going to get them installed. (Except for the two fake ones in front of the sink. I'll just pop those two out. No problem.)

I think they look pretty good. Seeing these might be just the inspiration I need to get things moving again.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Here Wego


It's been almost nine months since we lost Ozzie.

I still miss him terribly. (I have a horrible feeling that I always will.) And in the past several weeks, I think I have felt that emptiness just as much as I did during that first month or so where I was still expecting to see him in the morning and laying a certain way so as not to kick him! 

A couple of times recently, the mother has asked me if I wanted to get another dog and I've said no. And then the other night, at the conclusion of an episode of "Property Brothers," the twins brought their client family a dog … a little Yorkie. It was more than my heart could stand. And I lost it.

The poor mother. I know she felt bad herself and then more so for me. "Isn't there a Yorkie rescue?" she asked. "There are lots of babies out there that need a home."

So I did something I hadn't in a while: I did a local shelter search (less than 50 miles) and about five Yorkie/Yorkie mixes came up! I hate to discriminate, but I immediately discounted the senior dogs. I don't think I could stand to get attached only to go through last year all over again in the not so distant future.
There were two real contenders though! I read a description of one (whom I might even see tomorrow at a local adoption event). His picture caught my eye first.  It was the description though of the second Yorkie who melted my heart:

Wego is a little dog with big personality! He loves to be with his foster Mommy, even sleeps in bed with her. He gets along nicely with the dogs of all sizes in his foster home. Wego loves the kids and will play with them for hours.
This little guy will cuddle up on the couch to watch TV, his favorite shows are always on Animal Planet. But he is ready to go outside and run or do yardwork. Wego is very well mannered and knows how to sit and lay down. His favorite snack on a hot day is doggy ice cream!
Do you have room for Wego on your couch?

Why, yes. I think I do.

When I read the description to the mother she immediately said, "You're going to contact them, aren't you?" I fired off an email late last night. I want to meet Wego! (I even love the name, stolen from a Budweiser commercial!)

It may not work out; he may already be adopted or in the process of or maybe we wouldn't click. But I'll never know that if I don't try. So, we'll see what happens. It's an important first step.

I'll take it as a good sign that it was exactly three years ago that I rescued a tiny kitten, if you believe in the power of karma.

Now maybe a little dog can rescue me.     

The Year of Living Dangerously


It was exactly one year ago tonight that my life began its most recent downward spiral. 

That's the night we took Ozzie to the vet and got the news that to this day is among the worst I've ever heard: lymphoma. (Three months later, he was gone.) A week later, I was haggling with the car repair people to get Pearl in for her post-hail repair and a week after that, I was haggling to get her back.
 And then, a few days after I got Pearl back, I found out I was losing my job … or half of it anyway, along with a significant chunk of my salary.

My car. My dog. My job. Except for family and friends, everything near and dear to me was under attack and so was I, if by proxy. For months, I was almost afraid to wake up, sure that yet another siege was just around the corner.

Instead, except for the occasional plunge to the depths, things seem to have reached some kind of plateau during the past several months. And while that's not a bad thing, it's not necessarily a good thing either. It's definitely better. It just seems like it should be better than that, if that makes sense.

It's not that I'm not grateful; I am. I know how much worse it all could have been. Still though I can't help but hope that it won't be much longer before I've crawled farther away from the abyss and am scaling the mountaintop.

There's always next year, right?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dreamin' … DIY Style


When I woke up yesterday morning, I had an idea stuck in my head. I don't know if I dreamed it, saw it somewhere and my subconscious shook it loose overnight, or if I had a genuine original thought in my first waking moments.

In any case, I had an idea for a project before my eyes were even completely open. That just doesn’t happen. Especially that I SAW what it should look like, at least roughly. That's something the mother does – not me.

When I got off work, I went to Home Depot and I found the stuff to make it happen: 3x6 braid rope tiles. Correction – I found one version of the stuff to make it happen. I came home with the "in stock" white trim tiles to see if they would work, knowing that if they do, I will have to buy the black "special order" ones. The black special order ones that are almost TWICE the cost of the white in stock ones ... it never fails.

I think they will be a really cool accent to the black ceiling, black and white newsprint wallpaper, white beadboard and black and white hex floor. I guess it's a good thing that it's a small bathroom so I guess it will be worth the price.

Now, I have to find a corbel or some kind of corner piece for the tiles to butt up against in the two corners inside the shower surround. (For some reason, those corners aren't flush with the wall.) The good news is that there are such things available in vinyl/plastic/PVC.

Always something, isn't it?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flattened

We’re riding yet another heat wave in St. Louis. (Well, it is July so I guess that comes with the territory.)


On Tuesday, I managed to get out of the office almost on time! It was blasted hot (set a record with 103 degrees) and all I wanted to do was get home. I hustled to the train – which also was on time – and scrambled aboard. Ah! Even IF I called home and discovered I needed to make a stop, I should be home by 1:15 at the latest. Yeah!

Except that when I got off the train and arrived at Pearl, I was greeted by a FLAT rear tire, a screw head protruding just above the surface. Sh*t! And when I opened the trunk and pulled out the donut, my spirits were quickly more deflated than the tire on the car: it was too low to get me home. (VERY NASTY expletives) So, even if I changed the tire, I was going nowhere.

OnStar to the rescue! Especially since it was 103 outside. (Pearl told me it was 105.) In any case, BOILING HOT! I was immediately relieved that the two six-packs of paper towels I’d bought over the weekend had not made it into the house. I cracked one open and began blotting myself as I waited for the operator.

Within minutes, OnStar handed me off to Cadillac Roadside Assistance. From there, I was told the name of the company that was responding and to expect a text or an automated call letting me know an ETA. My cell rang 20 minutes later. No automation, but another OnStar operator checking on my status. When I said I’d not heard from the responder, he put me on hold and called them. ETA is 18 minutes or less. By this time, I’m completely drenched, to the point of dripping. Five minutes later: “Hi. This is George from X. I’ll be with you in 20 minutes.” Five minutes after that: “This is George from X again. I can’t get across the bridge. My super has called another tech who is already on your side of the bridge. I don’t want you to have to wait any longer. His name is Jamal. He’ll be calling you.” By this time, I’d been waiting 45-50 minutes already. I was roasting.

I started Pearl and cranked the A/C. The cavalry is coming, so hang on! Twenty minutes later: “This is Jamal. I’ll be there in 20 minutes.” Seriously? I would have thought he’d BE there by now! A minute later, another OnStar operator called. She was dismayed that no one was there. “Believe me, if he’s not here within those 20 minutes, I’ll call YOU back,” I said.

At 1:55, almost 90 minutes after it began, the ordeal was over. Almost. Donut on, but Jamal has no air tank. WTF? This IS WHY I CALLED FOR HELP! “You can’t drive on that,” he says. Thank you, Captain Obvious! Um, yeah. I kinda knew that. “So, what? I wish myself home?”

The final solution: I limped her along several blocks to a gas station with an air machine. From there, the tire store! (We’ve done business with these people for as long as I can remember.)So, less than three hours after the ordeal began, Pearl was safe in the driveway with her tire repaired, the donut stowed. I had showered, put on cool, dry, clothes and gulped down two bottles of ice cold water.

In the end, I’m glad it wasn’t the following day. We hit a record 106 yesterday and today is more of the same.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday ToolTalk: Frogg Toggs' Chilly Pad Towel


We just came off a 10-day streak of 100+ high temperatures. And it's only July. So, while it's not a tool per se, it's something that has already come in handy while I use a variety of tools at This D*mn House.

It's the Chilly Pad Cooling Towel from Frogg Toggs. And I can honestly say it's one of the best inventions of the 21st century. No. Really. IT IS.

It was a serendipitous discovery while standing in line in the paint department at Home Depot during a recent Behr sale. It was a bit warm in the store so the display with this blue rag that, from a distance, didn't look that different from a Handi-Wipe, caught my eye. Touch it though and it was a piece of heaven! Cool. Damp. But not dripping. Even the mother was amazed and she's not easily impressed. "You need one of these," she said. I heartily agreed.

So far, I've kept mine around my neck on a few 95+ and on one 100+ day. (I didn't get to use it during my concrete work though. I was afraid the dusty mix would stick to it and ruin it.)

I'll defer to the manufacturer for a description of this 33" x 13" beauty:
Made from a hyper-evaporative material that retains water while remaining dry to the touch, The Chilly Pad® is an innovative way to cool down while enduring outdoor heat and/or high levels of physical activity. When wet, the towel begins to evaporate and cool, providing cool, soft comfort to the user. When it stops cooling, simply re-wet the towel in hot or cold water and wring it out. Within minutes, it’s cool again.

Pros: It's a great size, easy to use and really helps cool you down. It's machine washable and you can store it in the plastic tube it comes in. (If it dries a little too stiff, just soak it in water for a few minutes and you're back in business.) It's easy to toss in a gym bag, luggage or with camping gear.
Cons: When the heatwave was at its height and the A/C didn't quite cut it, I neglected to put it on my pillow. Should have done that! The biggest con right now? Good luck finding one. But, by planting this seed in your mind, if and when you see one, you'll probably want to buy it.
Conclusion: It's soft. It's cool. It's a great size to drape around your neck and dab your face. It was $12.99 at Home Depot. It was 13 of the best dollars I've ever spent.
Availability: In addition to Home Depot, you'll likely find them at Cabela's and other sporting goods stores which carry the Frogg Toggs line.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Empathy for the Vampire

When I was a kid, I’d get up late at night when I couldn’t sleep and turn on the TV. A lot of times, it was a test pattern, because programming had long since ended for the day.


Occasionally though, I’d luck out and find some old movie if I was patient enough to flip through all of the 10 or so channels we had back then. More often than not, I would find one of the 1960s “Dracula” movies with Christopher Lee. Seeing them many years later, I couldn’t help but laugh. But watching them as a 4-, 5- or 6- year-old, I was wide-eyed and thrilled.

The most enduring scenes for me are the ones where Dracula would inevitably try to outrun the impending sunrise. For the last two weekends, I’ve developed an empathy for the vampire. While the first beams of light weren’t likely to blow holes through me or cause me to burst into flame as it would the iconic character, there were times, especially on Saturday, where it felt like it would!

I dutifully rose at 5:30 and was outside 15 minutes later, just like I had the week before to work on the bricks out back. Out there, I had a few hours, maybe as many as three, before I was working in full-on sun. Out front, I had less than half that time. And, on this Saturday, the temperature was rising even faster than a week before.

The walkway I’d made four years ago, needed a little more TLC than I anticipated. While I expected to be finished by no later than noon, when noon arrived, I hadn’t even finished clearing and cleaning the walkway yet. With the temperature a balmy 99, I had to quit. I was red as a strawberry, completely drenched and a bit shaky. I thought if I could wait until the shade came out onto the walkway, conditions might improve enough that I could finish.

They did. But only marginally. By then, it was 107 degrees (the day’s high and the fifth or six record temp in a row during a 10-day stint of triple-digit heat). The walkway was still mostly in sun, but I persisted. Carrying 50- and 60-pound bags of concrete was pure hell. I took brief breaks, killed several bottles of water and retreated to the house for an out-and-out cool down once. By 7 p.m., I was cleaning up and getting ready to call it a day. All totaled, I'd spent between 8.5 and 9 hours out in the heat.

As a result, Sunday was a very lazy day. I felt like the vampire had gotten me -- and siphoned every bit of life from me.

This morning, it’s back to the grind. I’m tired and still a bit sore but the weather is a welcome change. It’s a bit muggy but not the balmy 80 it’s been the past few mornings at dawn. There's a light breeze and an undertone of coolness, courtesy of the front that's to give us highs in the 80s all week. And, it’s only supposed to hit 90 degrees today. Yes, that’ still warm, but it’s been hotter than that at 10 most nights for the last two weeks. So extreme heat, I bid you adieu.

Like Dracula, go away for another 80 years or so.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Breaking the Routine

For some reason, one morning last week I decided to break with my morning ritual and jump off the Metro train at the Arch/Laclede’s Landing stop instead of riding through to the heart of downtown.


I’m glad I did. Glad because the walk in is SO much better aesthetically, if not from a cardiovascular perspective. (UP THE HILL from the Landing to the Arch grounds and then a few more blocks into Downtown proper.) I enjoyed the change so much, in fact, that I opted to do it again this morning.

When I walk in from the Convention Center stop, all I see is modern architecture and parking garages with the exception of the Railway Exchange, one view of the Federal Reserve, the deteriorating and all-it-historical-beauty-covered-up-by an-ugly-1950s-faƧade Mercantile Library, and the Marquette Building. And, the ever-depressing sight of the homeless who sleep along the block of Locust Street that stands along the way.

From the Landing, you get immediate gratification before you even leave the platform. (The platform is within the Eads Bridge expansion.) Through the mid-section archways of the bridge, you get a nice view of the Mississippi AND of the Arch itself. That view is even more enhanced once you go down the stairs and hit street level.

From the cobblestone street, you ascend the hill that borders the Arch grounds. Up, up, and up. As you ascend, Washington Avenue comes into view and the historic Missouri Athletic Club on one side and the Kennard Carpet building on the other. (You can see both buildings in this post. Or, more of just the MAC here.) Then, you take your chances crossing Third Street/Memorial Drive to get to Washington.

Turn on Washington and you’ll note that the carpet building (most recently the Roberts Vista) has now been converted to lofts. A gorgeous wood door entry is now on the Fourth Street side. (More on this building later.) Then, it’s a great view of the Federal Reserve and its plaza area. Up next, the Security Building. And while I’ve walked past it dozens of times, looking at it in the early morning light, I noticed things I hadn’t before. (More to come on this building, too.) Then, I get to zip past the Merchant’s Laclede (one of the oldest buildings downtown) and get a different angle on the Marquette.

And this morning, in addition to all of the different and alternative views, I got to pet a dog and give directions to a tourist.

It really puts a positive start on the day. Amazing what even a small change can do sometimes.

The Work Around

Because I am out the door ahead of the sun most weekdays, I love to sleep in on the weekends.

But to get something done this weekend, Mother Nature put the kibosh on that with our continuing heatwave. On Sunday, I was up before 5:30 a.m. and outside working before 6. I decided to repair my brick edging around the shed. It's been ailing for a while now. While the lower level facing the alley and the double lower level facing the yard were still rock solid, the upper layers of both left something to be desired.

The first hour or so was pretty pleasant. I was still in complete shade and it was right at about 80 degrees. By 8:30, I was working in full-on sun (not so pleasant) and by 9 a.m., the temp was really starting to rise. By 10, I know it had to be in the 90s. The rising temp and the sun beating down on me made that last hour pretty oppressive.

I took two short breaks and managed to be wrapped up by 11 a.m. including the time it took to clean everything up and put it away AND unload the extra concrete I bought to repair the walkway and porch out front. (Can you believe it's been FOUR YEARS since I put that in place? And, outside a few minor touches about two years ago, I've done nothing to it. Some weeds came through though and just general wear and tear are starting to show in a few spots.)

Right now, my plan for Wednesday is to repair the porch and walkway, repair the fence (which has some nice holes in it, courtesy of all the hail from both last year and this spring) and replant some trees -- little fake pines we've got all around the house, the shed and the deck -- that were uprooted during a storm several weeks ago. (I have 3 of 10 left to do.) And, since it is supposed to be 102 degrees on Wednesday, just like it was on Sunday, I guess I'll be up bright an early again.

Fun times.