Archive for the ‘our house’ Category

I celebrated my birthday three days in a row.  Does this make you age faster?  In theory, I’m supposed to be 23 now, but there are several factors suggesting that I might be older.  For example: I have more than one cat.  I like to knit.  And there’s a fall wreath on my front door.  Also, I woke up yesterday convinced I was actually 45 because I ached all over.  I took two ibuprofen, spent 20 minutes stumbling around Target in between hot flashes and cold chills, considered going back to bed, popped some more ibuprofen, and then felt great!  Turns out, the aches and pains probably have more to do with the fact that I decided to celebrate my birthday by… doing yardwork!  Isn’t that what everyone does?

Actually, I started doing yardwork on Monday, when I went up to my dad’s house.  This is our arrangement: I clean his house and work in his yard and he pays my half of the mortgage payment.  It’s a good deal for both of us, since he hates cleaning and I hate living in a refrigerator box.  My project lately has been clearing his back yard.  He lives in one of those creepy, Big Brother-esque neighborhoods where all the houses are identical.  The neighborhood is policed by 80-year-old women, who roam the streets making sure you haven’t painted your shutters or replaced the hinges on your gate without the approval of the HOA.  When my dad bought the house, it had been a foreclosure, so it was in bad shape all around.  He did tons of work on the inside of the house and hired a contractor to build an addition (the old ladies especially loved the porta-potty that sat in our driveway for three weeks), but the yard was at the bottom of the list.  After receiving several written complaints, my dad finally had sod laid in his front yard (by Anna, Wes, and I) last fall.  But the entire back yard is hidden from view by a six foot tall, HOA-regulated fence.  So the back looks pretty much the way it did when he bought the house, with the addition of two years’ worth of weeds.   I think it’s his way of rebelling against the neighborhood watch.

My dad wants to have a walkway poured in the back yard, so I had to clear all of the weeds.  They started out knee-height, but they got taller and thicker the further I got into the yard.  By the time I got close to the back, they were at least five feet tall.  Then I found what looked a lot like a human vertebra in the dirt, and I seriously started getting concerned about the possibility of finding a dead body slumped against the back fence.  (“Let’s see, I’ll have to call my dad first and get him to come home so we can make sure he has an alibi.  Then we’ll call the police and they’ll do forensics work to determine how long the body’s been here.  It has to have been a while, because there’s no smell anymore…”)  I’ve watched a little too much NCIS.

Fortunately, there was no body, so my dad’s not in jail.  Which is good, because I really need him to pay my half of the mortgage.

Tuesday, I mowed my grass and edged my sidewalks, using scissors that started out in my second grade art supply box.  Definitely an effective landscaping tool.  Wednesday was my actual birthday, and I finished my firepit!

Okay.  Here’s a picture of my back yard before the firepit:

Note the sketchy storage shed, another prime body-stashing spot.  Wes was convinced that the house’s previous owner had buried her dead husband under the shed.  I was hoping for sacks of money, personally.

Here’s a picture of the half-completed firepit:

See the mound of weeds?  That’s where the firepit is supposed to be.  We pretty much dug a hole in the ground and forgot about it for four months.  But now…


Anna enjoying the firepit 🙂



The finished product!  I ran out of daylight and built the last wall in the dark, but it’s done.  Between the leftover pavers that were already here, and the cinderblocks holding up the sketchy storage shed, I only had to buy 5 more cinderblocks to finish it up.  (I went to Lowes and loaded them into the car by myself.  While wearing a skirt.  That’s right.)  We celebrated by making a fire out of all the sticks our shoddy yard waste pick-up guys left in the front yard.  Also drank a little ChocoVine, which is pretty much chocolate milk for grownups and has no business calling itself wine, but would be great in coffee.

Thursday, Wes came over and weed-eated my yard and re-edged my sidewalks (although I don’t know why, since I’d clearly done such an excellent job with my state-of-the-art lawn care shears), and I painted my front door!

Yes, it’s orange.  The paint chip was actually called “hot pepper”, which I think is how I convinced Anna to let us use this color.  But it’s definitely orange.  I win.

So now I have a new front door and a new firepit.  I also have a slightly damaged wrist, 835 mosquito bites, and legs that resemble a nine-year-old boy’s.  Between the weeds and the cinderblocks, I’m pretty scratched up.  But since I stubbornly maintain that things like gloves and long pants are for sissies, I think this is my fate.

P.S. – We all went out to dinner Thursday night to Buca di Beppo (yum), then came home so I could open my mountain of presents.  It was like Christmas all over again.  I’m used to the flat, green kinds of presents, which I normally end up using for groceries and gas, so it was a lot of fun.  Thanks, family!  Cujo had a little too much fun, though.


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