moving earth

Yeah, huh?  What?
I kinda glossed over the events of this weekend in yesterday’s entry, mostly because I had the 80s cover-band bit pre-written and just wanted to push “go” and be done with it. The weekend was extremely productive though. Once upon a time, I had promised myself I would have the backyard done in time for our annual Halloween party, but with other projects getting in the way and a trip to Taiwan that blew the head of steam I was working on before – I lost the drive and stopped working. This weekend, however, Erik came over and helped me work a bit – devising a practical system for large-scale leveling the base material for the paver stones. After we got a large swath leveled, it was as easy as bringing back pavers as fast as the we could fill the wheelbarrow and place them.

We got about 95% of the porch form paved, and now it’s all about “cutting in” the curved edges. I’m borrowing a buddy’s rock-saw this week and taking Friday off to get the job done. In addition, I ordered some more decomposed granite to make the base material for the sidewalk leading around the house to the gate. It gets delivered tomorrow, so I’m going to try and form up the sidewalk tonight in preparation. Once I get the sidewalk formed, filled with DG, and leveled, I can bring the remainder of the bricks back and compete as much as possible before having to cut bricks to fit edges. I figure, with a little sweat, I can have the porch done and cut in by the end of this weekend. Then one day to prep the dirt for topsoil (killing weeds, picking up too-big rocks, etc.), a day to bring in said topsoil, and then a full day to lay sod and cut sprinklers to height. That means, if all goes well, after this weekend I only have about three more days work before I can have a backyard complete with grass. That also means that, if the bank account permits, my original pre-Halloween target completion date is totally achievable.

I know the subject of “working on my backyard” isn’t the most exciting thing I could write about, but when the words keep coming that tells me I’ve picked the right subject. Every time I’m out there busting my ass working, I’m thinking how I can’t wait for the epic project to finally be done. I mean, it’s going to be a huge source of pride for me. It’s all my hand, all my work, sweat and muscle. The whole thing: landscaping, retaining wall, earth-moving, irrigation, grass, pavestone porch and sidewalk, and the plan as a whole – it was all me. I mean, I did get some help along the way from some friends – but for the most part I worked alone.. after work, on weekends, whenever. And to tell the truth, the more I see it coming together, the more I think it’s really going to look good. Impressive even. When it’s finally done-done (plants, some benches, etc.), I’m going to hold a freakin’ party. A “good lord the yard’s done” party, so everyone can relish in my accomplishments.

When we bought our house, it came pre-wired for an alarm system. However, early on we decided that we didn’t want to pay $30 a month for a monitored system. I mean, we have insurance, right? We already pay them in case our stuff gets stolen, and whatever they do steal, we could just buy again, right? Anyway, while I was installing our new blinds this past weekend, I noticed the pre-installed magnetic contacts on all the windows, and that got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be cool to just have an unmonitored system that would notify me when one of my windows/doors was opened? All I’d want is something that would call on my cellphone if someone was in my house when they weren’t supposed to be. Lo and behold, they sell a gadget that does just that. And, since all my doors and windows are pre-wired, all I’d have to do is buy it and hook it up.

So I’ve been toying with the idea of a do-it-yourself security system It would ring my cellphone if a window/door was opened when we’re gone, or if any of the smoke detectors are tripped (it can also sound real alarm, if you want). Plenty of companies sell “packages” that include the dialer, control panel, wireless keypads to arm/disarm the alarm, and even additional motion detectors for indoor/outdoor. So for $200, I can have a system call me, or Sharaun, or anyone (four numbers in succession if it doesn’t get someone) if our house is getting burgled. Haven’t decided yet, I’m still unsure if I really want this because I want some kinda security system, or because it sounds like a fun electronics project. Man, I really am addicted to projects.

In fact, right now I have a backlog of projects. The foremost being the backyard and the Halloween display. But also on the list is: painting some rooms in the house, replacing the exhuast manifolds in the truck, replacing the seats in the truck, the center console, cleaning the truck… yeah… the truck has turned into a “work vehicle” over the duration of the backyard project. I have to fix up the front yard, mulch, weedblock, plants, etc.

Sometimes I get torn when I write entries like this one, which are, admitedly, boring – being only accounts of “what I did,” and “how I felt.” Torn between writing like this and writing something topic-based or funny. I guess it’s all really luck of the draw though, because often when I sit down – on or the other seems to come out. My current stance is, it it’s writing itself – it must be what I want to write about. The ones that are forced are the ones that suck. So if I can write three or four or five paragraphs about working on the backyard, and how it makes me feel… whatever.

Changing the subject, I just found out that my work has “identified” me as a person who’d benefit from on-site university courses in the Chinese language. I’ve been enrolled in a one-month class that will teach us “the basic constructs of conversational and business relationship Chinese.” It’s four hours every Friday, and an hour on Tuesdays, for one month. I’m actually extremely excited about this. Not only does it count for college credit (why I care about this, I don’t know), but it’s free and should be really interesting. My only hope is that it’s a quality class where I can really learn something, as I’d love to be able to interact better with the customers in Taiwan.

Well, I’m off to fool around online some more… I’ve been working on the t-shirt store a buddy of mine and I have been trying to start for a while. I think I have a much better solution than the previous way I was approaching things…

Dave out.

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