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Hardest working weekend on record

Monday, August 23, 2010

The final PUSH to finish my never-ending landscape renovation didn't produce much result. Since my spouse left, we had three big storms, so half the week it was just too muddy to make a lot of progress.
Recent rains have saved me plenty on my water bill, but they also caused an enormous growth spurt in grass, weeds, and the front hedges, so Sunday I was forced to deal with all that instead of my backyard project.
I worked from 7am until almost 4, when I came in the house to tend to a couple loads of laundry and take a shower. I had just enough time to make it to the airport to pick him up.
After a quick dinner (who can resist Mexican food?) we came home to relax. We both welcomed an evening in bed staring at the television.


I'm all registered for school, and carrying 13 credits this semester. I was actually leaning toward less school and more travel, but school won. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel: after this semester, there won't be many classes left for me to take, and I can travel again if I want to.
My neighbors and I have been seeing a lot of eachother, since I am always outside. I've gotten closer to the folks across the back alley, and our dogs are buddies. We let our pets have impromtu play dates while I show them the landscape progress. Yesterday, my next door neighbor to the east said "I don't know what kind of magic energy potion you're on, but I want some of it. You're just a nonstop miracle worker! What you're doing back there is amazing." This morning, I joined my back-fence neighbor for some dog walking, and she complimented my work as well, saying "When you're done back here, you'll have the nicest house on the block." It sure felt good.
Since I've been working outside so much, I've heard more and more compliments from neighbors... people I never met before. Meeting new friends, and hearing such kind words has been truly wonderful. It keeps my spirits up when my body is aching. The front porch wine parties I'm getting invited to aren't bad either.

Well, my haircolor should be just about finished processing now, so I'm off to get ready for class.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 8/23/2010 8:56PM

    Soon you'll finish school and your landscape project. I would love to see more pix. Btw, I colored my hair tonight too.

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PHEBESS 8/23/2010 6:06PM

    Sounds like a win-win all around!

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MBSHAZZER 8/23/2010 5:06PM

    Sounds like you are almost there w/ both the project and school! Light at the end of the tunnel is a wonderful thing! And I love the added bonus of meeting your neighbors (with wine, no less!)


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Almost 12 straight hours of hard work... I'm exhausted.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I have literally been working all day. I started laundry, sweeping, and mopping before 7am, sawed some dead limbs from 20' up in my neighbors tree, and began digging the foundation for wall #2 in my own back yard.
It is just after 7pm, and I just got out of the shower and logged on. I'm too exhausted to cook. I suggested to my spouse to rustle us up some grub, but I even feel too exhausted to eat. And frankly, I doubt we have anything other than frozen pizza.
The best thing was accomplished today- the back gate is finished. My spouse mounted it to the fence and installed the beautiful iron hardware. Now I have a gate that actually has a latch and handles, instead of a hook and eye.
We will salvage some of the old fence to patch the gap where the elm used to be, because I'm not ready to re-fence the ENTIRE back yard.
So much work was done today. Thank God for cooler weather! As I impressed upon my spouse, I want to complete the entire project by the 21st, which leaves us only one week in which to do it.

Here's one more look at my Elephant Ears:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 8/15/2010 2:09PM

    Sounds ex**usting, *ut looks gre*t!!!!! Slept well?

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JLPNURSE 8/15/2010 10:38AM

    Sounds exhausting, but a lot of calories burned. Your yard is going to look fabulous.

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MBSHAZZER 8/15/2010 8:31AM

    Nothing like a hard day's work! It looks great and I'm sure you feel like you really got a lot accomplished!

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SECRETFUN 8/14/2010 9:21PM

  Hope you are sleeping well, and great!

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Another stone in the wall....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The landscape project grinds on. I'm tired of working on it so long, but I'm motivated to finish as quickly as possible, because I've got a lot more to worry about than the landscape in my backyard.

Here we can see wall #1 laid down, and the curve in place.
Although every stone has already been dug in, leveled, and set, I'm just not SATISFIED with how I dug, leveled, and set them, so I'm redoing all of it.
So much time on such a tiny space! Almost inconceivable.
I know I'll be finished ONE DAY.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLPNURSE 8/14/2010 9:01AM

    Elephant ears, that sounds right

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MBSHAZZER 8/13/2010 7:04PM

    It looks wonderful! You are doing a fantastic job. This makes me jealous - I want a yard!

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PHEBESS 8/13/2010 6:54PM

    Looks pretty perfect to me!

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NOTBLUSHING 8/13/2010 10:51AM

    *JLPN: you're probably looking at the Elephant Ears. I'll post more pics.

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JLPNURSE 8/13/2010 6:47AM

    I think it looks great! And the overall look is great too. What are those big palmy looking plants on the left edge of the picture?

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It's so hot and humid, I feel like I'm still standing in the shower.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

During these dog-days of sweltering 100+ degree weather, I haven't missed a single day of outside work. It's been slower and sweatier, but the digging, sawing and painting continue unabated.
My backyard renovation is coming along, but the operative word is 'slower'. I have virtually no help. My spouse's contribution has been limited to operating two small power tools... which is done pretty much while standing motionless, and amounts to less than an hour thus far, so it hardly counts.
The easiest task has been painting. I have restained the deck in dark brown. It is a lovely, rich, opaque color, and has a matte finish. The new fence is the same color, and almost disappears behind the wall of plant material that is being installed (by me), making the colors of the foliage and flowers really pop. It's looking great.
The most gruelling and frustrating task has been the stone retaining walls.
Dismantling the walls (that I built over ten years ago) was difficult enough, what with the weight of the stones. But building the new walls has defeated me. I am still at square one, and I can only do so much planting before the walls are constructed.
I had NO trouble whatsoever ten years ago. Sure, the stones were just as heavy then, and setting each one precisely level was quite a chore, but NOW, I have a plan to follow. I must lay them in a straight line for 14 feet, then curve them to meet another wall. I have laid the same 5-foot section FIVE TIMES. I just can't seem to lay a straight line. I even went to the trouble to run a marking line, but for the life of me, I can't follow it. I finally bought a 16 foot long plank, put it down, secured it with rebar, and dug a trench beside it. I hope to hell it works this time.
Off to the store for more paint and hardware.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 8/11/2010 8:36PM

    Good luck (and wow you are one amitious woman!)

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MBSHAZZER 8/4/2010 2:07PM

    Post pictures when you're finished! It sounds fabulous. Sorry to hear the spouse is not much help...

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MIBELLALUNA 8/4/2010 2:02PM

    WOW! Now that is determination!! BE CAREFUL but go to it! WOW. I can't understand how anyone can be out in this, i feel like I can't catch my breath outdoors when it's this humid. Or wait, maybe I'm a drama queen...that is probably more likely...haha! "I will absolutely melt into a pool of fat and hair if I go out there"...probably isn't true.

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THEWINNER33 8/4/2010 1:58PM

    Good for you, keeping on in the humidity. I can no longer tolerate the heat and humidity. Since my heart surgery it has been difficult to breathe in this weather so I modify my workouts to accomodate my health problems.

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CAROLX914 8/4/2010 1:45PM

    Im glad you are keeping busy and hoping this project ends quickly for you. I missed seeing you around and so happy that you are still sparking..

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An hour a day cardio goal

Monday, July 05, 2010

While gardening might count as cardio for Sparkpoints, my waistline tells me it doesn't count for much else. I'm making some changes.
Every month, I tell myself I'm gonna do better. I'm gonna eat like I used to, I'm gonna jog like I used to, and I'm track everything like I used to.
I'd read the article about the need for us over-40s to work out at least an hour a day if we are trying to drop weight, and I told myself that I would do just that.
Well, when yesterday rolled around, I realized I was letting yet another month get the best of me. It was four days in and once again, I was slacking off on my "commitment". I decided to correct the situation immediately... and proceeded to go for a four hour walk.
It wasn't a bad way to start the day, if you have the time (I knew I had the time). I left just before 6am, and straggled home just before the temperature soared into triple digits.
Admittedly, my pace slowed to a crawl after the third hour, but I'm vindicated. I'm totally caught up on my exercise.
Now comes the part where I have to make good on my eating....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHORTY20 7/8/2010 12:20PM

    Yeah, it's the eating that gets me in trouble. I do great w/ getting the exercise in, but unfortunately, I then apparently think that I "deserve" to eat more b/c I worked out. Doesn't quite work that way.

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MBSHAZZER 7/6/2010 8:26AM

    Way to buckle down and "just do it". FWIW, I find it's easier to stay on track with the eating when the exercise is consistent. Be careful in the heat these next few days!

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JLPNURSE 7/6/2010 7:02AM

    I work out between 40 - 75 mins a day. I really need it to keep my weight in check and my sanity. I don't know how people with kids manage it though. It's a big commitment of time but worth it to me.

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