On her way home from a day subbing today, Sharaun stopped at Blockbuster to return a movie, and locked her keys in her car. Her keys, and her purse – containing her cellphone. Meanwhile, I stayed late at work, finishing up. I tried to call her several times, but with no way into the house and no cellphone – it wasn’t much use. When I finally decided to come home, around 7pm, she had been locked outside in the heat for over two hours. She spent her time walking around, and sleeping on the bare concrete of the front porch. I felt so sorry for her… I swear I was about to cry. Poor girl… I’ll never let her get a manual-locking car again.
Sitting at home, having gone into work for a couple hours before this appointment with the landscaper. He’s 15 minutes late; I wait, glancing out the window every few minutes expecting to see a truck. Passed the time unpacking from the weekend’s camping trip, making the dirty laundry hamper smell like a campfire. Lately, it seems that Fall is in the air. In the morning, the air is dry and cool, and I can even feel it sometimes in the day… when a cool breeze blows by or there’s a hint of something in the air. It’s coming soon, and I couldn’t be happier. It seems like we had the shortest summer ever this year, it stayed cool late and now I feel like it’s Falling-up early as well. Oh, I’m all for it – let’s not get that confused. The faster that magical season gets here, the happier I’ll be. Fall-thoughts got me thinking about February… when Lil’ Chino will arrive. Not Fall, but still part of the Fall-Winter cold-months… the time of year I love. Landscaper just called, gonna be another 20 minutes late; I’ll wait… work’s already bored me today.
I hate to say that albums “grew on me.” I always feel like I may be fooling myself; like I should trust my initial reaction and not “force” myself to get into something I didn’t like at first blush. To me, having an album “grow” on you is kinda like saying, “I didn’t like this album, but then everyone else did – so I listened to it until it was good.” It reeks of every-half-hour radio playlist mass-hypnotism type “hits.” But… then I thought about it in the context of beer. When I first tried beer, I hated it. Had to drink my first quart of Red Bull (the malt liquor, not the caffeine cough syrup stuff) over a sink, gagging a little with each gulp. But, everyone likes beer. Men drink it; it’s so cool. If you don’t like beer, you’re not right. So, I kept fighting down the beer. And now, years later, I’m gag-free, and often catch myself thinking how good a beer would taste in certain situations. So, likening an album’s “growing” on me to my coming-of-age taste for beer – I’ve somewhat legitimized the fact that the new New Pornographers album I spoke somewhat ill of last week has now become something I’m really enjoying. At times melodic enough to make me smile, it just keeps getting better. Dang… am I brainwashed?
Time to get another R.O.C entry and exit stamp in the passport, I’ll be boarding the plane before I know it. Off to Taiwan for another week of work and play. Work during the day, play at night, sleep when I can. It’s always like that I Taiwan. I have a small base of local friends there now, and I enjoy spending time with then when I can – which is always late-night. Tracy’s doing me a favor and getting me a local Taipei phone number, so I can pickup pre-charged SIM cards and have a local number people can call. That way, I can limit my transcontinental calls to the company calling card on landline phones… and avoid the highway-robbery international roaming rates the cell company charges – but I can still makes calls to local numbers. I think it’ll be a welcomed luxury. I wonder about travel after Lil’ Chino comes… I’ll likely want to do it less, and I’m sure Sharaun would want the same. I guess a week here and there isn’t too bad, but I don’t think I can keep up 2005’s pace. It’s OK really, I think the transition to management probably inherently means less personal travel, as you pass those opportunities onto the team; so, that fits. But I’ll still want to get back to Taiwan every now and again.
Noonish now, landscaper was badly late (is that proper English?). I walked around the backyard with him, pointing out what I saw as the remaining work, asking him to draw up the plan as a series of line-items, so I could pick and choose certain aspects of work if needed. Then I went inside and made a tuna sandwich while he measured and calculated. What surprised me the most, though, was that his plans to finish the yard were exactly what I’d planned to do. Modify the sprinkler heads, pour a border around the stones, bring in soil and add drainage, planter areas, etc. His plans were my plans, down to the last aspect. He also commented that my do-it-yourself work up to this point really wasn’t all that bad. My retaining wall had the proper drainage, was mostly level and true, and was set in the ground to a proper depth. My paver porch, although not 100% level, was properly sloped away from the house and crowned to the center – and would only get better with fill sand and plate compaction. My forethought to make the planter areas drip-ready (adding PVC “through” pipes under the pavers) was correct, and my cutting the downspout and routing it under the pavers was correct. My sprinkler heads to zone ratio was correct, as were my pressure calculations and water coverages per zone.
I actually thought this might happen; the landscaper coming and telling me how much money it would take to complete the work would stoke the fire within me to get it done myself. I don’t know though, it just seems like so much work. He did give me one more option for the paver border, which I hadn’t thought of yet. He suggested a cheaper alternative to the concrete border may be running a 3″ thick “plastic” bender board around the entire porch, and using a sledge to butt the pavers in tight before staking it every foot-and-a-half with steel stakes driven into the earth. This was interesting to me… as I have lots of steel stakes that I figured would sit unused after I was done with the yard. The stakes would be driven in to just below the level of the bender, and then left in the ground permanently with topsoil and turf hiding them in the finished version. That got me thinking… I could likely do that pretty easily – and I’m sure my cost for the 3″ bender would be a heck of a lot cheaper than theirs. I’d still have to reposition the sprinklers, add some drainage, till in topsoil, grade, and bring in sod. It’s a lot of work, and the guy said I could pick and choose any of his line items if I wanted some help getting the thing to a state where I’d once again feel confident taking over. That’s good, because, if I chose to go with his entire package, I’d be looking at a >$10,000 bottom line. Ouch.