A little half-assery

Remember that awesome wheelchair elevator that I bragged about? Yeah... turns out, it wasn't all that.

I found a buyer, a wheelchair elevator dealer of sorts, who promised me $1000, sight unseen. He showed up with a helper and a trailer, really, a nice guy. But one look at the lift and his response, "oh, it's older than I thought, and it's been painted" and dang it if I couldn't get it to work. But he said things were slow and wanted to have something for his guys to do so they could make some money. This lift would be a good project. So he generously gave me $200 and proceeded to remove it. Which left me with this:

Nice cone right? That's not dangerous at all, or hideous. So I put it on the When-We-Work-on-the-Front-of-the-House list, which I predicted would be this summer, ha! Weeks turn to months and I had pretty much put this out of my mind. Until it became the neighborhood jungle gym.

My street has lots of kids, under 10, with no where to play. And this open porch wall is awful enticing. Oh, it's good for games of chase when you run up the stairs, leap off the wall and hope you don't get tagged. Or practicing skateboard tricks. Or throwing a ball through, which of course slams into the metal security door (equally atrocious) and I think we're having an earthquake.

This had to stop. Against my core being, I became that adult completely annoyed by the sound of children laughing. Not because I don't think kids are great, but because I know it preceeds the sound of children crying, inevitable because somebody always gets hurt. The cone is useless.

I gave a couple half-hearted efforts at letting everyone know I did not approve. I got their names, I know where you live, I said. And once, I think I even managed to scare them! Oh, this does not make me like myself.

We have a quote from Bob to fix the wall, and I hope to do this in the next month or so. But for now, I needed a temporary solution. Plants! I've been looking for an excuse to buy horsetail, it's so modern, grows quickly, makes a great screen. I spent a couple days thinking I'd build a box. Then I got lazy and went to Ikea. I came across these decent galvanized pots and said, that'll do! I ended up with this:

Let's not even pretend okay? That's pretty lame. Maybe they'll fill in quickly? Or better yet, it's added motivation to get Bob over here and fix this thing. It's not a bust, I love the pots and the horsetail and have other places for these once it's all said and done. The best part, it works. Oh, I had a little crowd around me during installation. "What kinds of plants are those?" "Why are you putting that there?" And the little Eddie Haskell of the group, the ring leader, "can I help you lift it, Miss Tonya?"

Oh, I see right through you mister.


Starting what I can't finish

Sigh... I hate admitting that this summer has been a bust, house-progress-wise anyway. We've been bogged down with work work, you know, the kind you get paid for (supposedly). But the other day, I had a window, an overcast Saturday morning that I simply could. not. spend. at my computer.

I wanted some physical labor. A project that would shock the system. I'm not lying when I say 12 hours a day is spent in a chair, on a couch. I don't go to the gym. This house is my physical fitness! So I picked a project that's been on the to-do list since the beginning.

In theory, it doesn't sound all that hard and it's timing isn't critical so I knew I could start and not finish immediately. I'm talking about that little strip of weeds between my house and my neighbor. The goal: a level surface that grades away from the house and instead of weeds, there is a weed barrier covered in crushed granite, maybe some square pavers just for kicks.


See what I'm talking about? That doesn't look so bad. But those weeds get tall, and the neighboring cats, well, you can imagine. Besides all that, this area isn't flat. It's higher than the base of my house and is mounded the entire length. To help with drainage, it needs to be lowered and ideally graded towards the fence which has a nice concrete lip that could act as a guide for running water.

I busted out the weed whacker and gave it a go. That thing terrifies me, can I just say? A lot more than weeds come out of there and I swear I'm gonna lose an eye. I thought I was doing good in my boots, but glasses really should be worn too. Next time.

And then the hard part. Start digging. This ground is compact. Like, a lot. And it's full of debris; rocks, broken old pipe, bits of glass. I got no where fast.

And I got tired. And whiny.

And really hot. I quit.

Let's just call this Stage One. I may have covered 15% of this project, at best. Oh well. Mike wants in on it anyway. Just you wait, honey, this project is a killer!