One Week in the Life of a Patio

I am so sore. So, so sore. Lemme show you why.


Yes, I’m sore from drinking beers. No, sillies. This is what our backyard USED to look like:


So yeah. It was a small plot of grass with some rose bushes along the perimeter. But here’s the thing: We’re not rose people. Or even, grass people. We don’t have children who need to frolic barefoot in blades of green. We don’t have a dog, that might need to eat grass for digestive reasons. The roses, while nice, are a bit old lady-ish for us. And, we were not about to buy and store a lawn mower for that tiny plot. No way. We have grills to store in our fancy shed. In fact, last year, we used a weed whacker to “mow” our lawn.

But my landscape-decorator-for-life XFE had a vision. A vision that included a water feature. And parking for his car.

We went back and forth for months with our contractor Rob. Apparently, pavers or materials or whatever have to be special in order to drive on them.

nicolock rustico

Once our initial dreams were dashed, we finally, after several weeks, agreed on our third or even fourth option finally. Then work began. Ever so slowly.



Nope. I don’t need to get in the backyard at all.

no grass


There was a lot of work that first weekend. Three men of medium dark complexions worked their asses off while we held down the guacamole fort. Somebody had to do it.


But then, things came to a halt. Bad weather and material delays dragged the project on and on.

wheelbarrow and dirt


Wednesday turned into Thursday.

midpoint view from above


Thursday into Friday.

dirt standstill


Finally, Saturday came around and we woke up bright and early to go to a bunch of different garden centers (oh, and a rock place. Because you can and must buy rocks, apparently, they are not
Continue reading One Week in the Life of a Patio

The Gas Man Cometh (and Yet, We Still Have No Working Stove)

This weekend was a weekend of promise. The promise of a completion of our sweet abode. The weekend where everything remaining on the new homestead punch list was going to be checked off with a satisfying finality. Alas, when homeowners make plans, the Contractor Gods laugh.

Yep, this dude is laughing at us.

There wasn’t much left, really. We needed speakers installed, walls painted, and a gas line put in for our stove.

We finally had an electrician come and install speakers  throughout the lower level (which, of course, took longer than promised and involved much more damage to our walls than described). But, by Thursday evening, we had the television and speakers up on the wall, a speaker installed in the kitchen ceiling and an outdoor speaker. It was, despite the holes in our walls, a very beautiful thing. Because it meant we could paint the lower level and be done.

The world’s cutest non-professional contractor XFE spent the next couple of days patching the holes in the walls and prepping for paint. In the meantime, I went and ran a race. The Clarendon 10k, which is a very nice race, mostly downhill. Really, it’s downhill and they give you a metro pass to get back up the hill to the start line. Brilliant.

We looked pretty fast before the race started.

The amazingly awesome pacer that I am, I started off way too fast and almost died. So I ended up walking way more than I wanted to. Particularly the last two miles. It was truly pathetic. Especially since I had run 6.25 miles earlier that week without stopping at all and felt great.

This is Taylor. She decided to bring the sexy back to running. It was her first 10K and she totally kicked my ass. Probably because of that aerodynamic shirt. Less wind resistance.

Here are my splits, which really tell the story:

  • Mile 1: 9:24
  • Mile 2: 9:08
  • Mile 3: 10:03
  • Mile 4: 10:54
  • Mile 5: 11:36
  • Mile 6: 11:56

I really pulled it out for the last quarter mile at 11:48. My total pace of 10:34. Not horrible, but not what I had been hoping for. Luckily, there was beer. Lots and lots of beer.

Look at the triumphant yet sweaty faces. Good times

(You can’t tell, but I have blue tape over the Nike swoosh as I continue my one woman protest against the company that hired back Michael Vick. I couldn’t bear to throw out my UT shirt, which is literally, the last Nike item I now own.)

I moseyed home at around 3 pm and saw this going on outside my house.

That’s right! After 2 months of living here, we were finally getting our gas line for our stove. We applied for the line right after we moved in, but the gas department around here is slower than Sunday’s Emmy’s broadcast, so they were just getting around to putting it in.

But, of course, after tearing up the road and trampling my flowers, they realized they didn’t have a welder on duty and could not complete the task (XFE saved most of the flowers and replanted them, for which I’m very grateful. But my geraniums look pretty trod upon).

On Sunday, we needed to get out of the house so our real-non-XFE contractor could come in and paint our walls. XFE really, really wanted to paint the place himself, but I convinced that we didn’t want to leave such an important task to our inexperienced paint rollers and it was worth the money to get it done right. So we bought two cans of paint, moved the furniture to the center of the room, and headed out to our favorite winery for lunch and some wine shopping.

We returned home about 8 hours later and our contractor told us that things had gone just so doggone well that he hadn’t even needed to get into the second can of paint. This caused our collective eyebrows to rise in disbelief. Sure enough, a few hours later, after everything had dried, we started noticing spots that weren’t quite completely covered. The morning sunlight revealed even more uneven coverage areas.

So let’s go through the items we expected to be done with by this point:

  • Speakers – Check. Done and check.
  • Painted walls – Nope. Need to be redone.
  • Gas for stove – Nope. Still waiting.

We did, however, find a use for all that heavy-duty construction gear parked outside our house.  This is what happens when you leave your large moving equipment unattended.

(BTW, there are no pictures of the walls nor the speakers because XFE wants to save some surprises for the big unveil at Porktober. Yes, you read right: Porktober is happening again.)