Sunday, September 21, 2014

Get Up, Maggot!!!

What do you do when the Hubby is still sacked out in bed, the pups are sacked out on the couch, and the air coming in through the open windows is cold (59) and sweet?

Well, if you're Me, you turn on the oven and start cooking and baking.
You see...We're having the perfect Summer weekend. 
And I have plans for the day that require a certain Someone's participation.
And what do I want? 
What else?
Finish the freaken deck already!

So I have made homefries, creamy eggs with onions, peppers and mushrooms and my Grams Coffecake as a suitable enticement. 

Hopefully he's hungry and will bend to my will. 

I expect that the delicious smell's will waft down the hallway and cause SM to awaken with a smile on his face and motivation in his heart.

So I wander outside to document the beauty of the morning. 

Yesterday the high's were in the 80's with low humidity.  Unheard of.

So painting gutters and staining railing materials was going on.

And hopefully today I can motivate my sweet Patoutie into laying the last of the deck boards. 

We had to delay for a few weeks to let this last batch of pressure treated wood dry before we could stain the backs and sides.  Flip them over, screw them down and once everything is finally down, I want SM to take the sander and lightly sand off the product "stamps" that are all over the place. 

After that, the only thing that needs done is staining the top of the deck.

And staining the ceiling.
And finishing the railing.
And putting up the gutter.

I feel like we're heading into the homestretch, Kids.

I wander back into the house expecting SM to be chowing down on all my Good Morning vittles.

What the heck?!?  He's STILL asleep?!?

Friday, September 19, 2014

White Night

Years ago, I read a fictional novel about Queen Elizabeth and in it she described her episodes of frequent insomnia as "having a White Night."

Not sure why that phrase stuck with me, since I've never really suffered from insomnia before The Menopause, but now I've embraced it and have come to describe my own sleepless nights as White Nights.

It kinda puts a more positive spin on what could turn a normal person into a cranky puss really quick.

If you figured out that I'm writing this post because I'm having a White Night as we speak, then Congratulations!...

Did I get any sleep last night?

Well, yeah...A little.

I zonked out in the recliner between 8 and 10. 

When I got up to finally go to bed, I wandered over to kiss SM goodnight. 

He smiled at me and said "You're so funny."

"What?"  I asked.

You were snoring in the chair."

"I was?"

"Yeah.  Your mouth was wide open.  Anything could have snuck in there."

Hm...Maybe that was why I couldn't sleep the rest of the night?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Mother Of A Smother

The garden has gotten it's share of attention lately.  It should have a sign that says


After weeding what I could, I unrolled all the landscape fabric I had on hand and "blocked" the walkways and beds in the back garden.

I've been saving cardboard boxes that come my way and laid those in the newly deweedified raised beds.

I'll be gathering cardboard all Winter and replacing the fabric with cardboard over time. Cardboard really seems my best option.  It's a bit of a pain as it degrades but it smothers the best.

Standing back and viewing all this makes me realize that I've given up on planting a Fall garden this year. 

Sort of. 

I've left the tomatoes and peppers alone for now.  They look horrible and don't have much fruit on them but they usually start blooming again with the cooler weather.

The sweet potatoes are still spreading out.  We've got another month before our first frost is due so we'll see what we can get.

And I did toss some lettuce seeds in one of the raised beds.  I'd love to eat some fresh salad greens before Winter.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Big Haul

Things were slow at work this week so I took a few days off to attack the jungle that my backyard has become.

With the extension of the deck, we had to take out a few large wax myrtles.  We chopped them down and left them in a pile which has, over the Summer months, gradually become a monster pile of yard waste.

I pulled the truck around and started tossing in wood and branches. 

Then whipped out the trimmers and gave the holly bushes their winter haircut. 

Then spent several hours weeding the natural areas until the pickup was full.


SM was in his office working but I stuck my head in and asked if he wanted to come help me unload my huge haul at the recycling waste center.

"What's got into you today?"  SM wanted to know as he climbed into the truck.

"I'm just tired of looking at all that crap in our yard and if I'm tired of it the neighbors must be sick of looking at it too.  Is there any chance when we get back that we could sort through the lumber pile and toss the wood you don't want to keep?"  I asked. 

SM is a HUGE packrat and rarely tosses anything away.  We plan on using the old deck boards to create an arbor for the grapes.  (Another project for another day.)

"Might as well. "  SM agreed.  "I think anything else we have to cut to finish the deck will be little pieces and can be tossed in the regular trash."

So when we got back to the house we sorted through the construction pile tossing the trash into the pickup. 

"Anything else?"  I asked.

Construction waste goes to a different landfill than yard waste.  

SM decided to go ahead and toss the old front storm door that no one wanted to buy from his Craigslist posting.

*Side note: Craigslist is amazing.  SM had posted our old dumpy spare "beer" fridge there for months.  I'd cleaned it up, took pictures of it and SM had posted it back in the spring. No bites.  He dropped the price to $50.  Still no calls.  He posted it for free just to get rid of it.  Nothing.  No interest.  So that fridge has sat in the garage all summer.  A few weeks ago SM reposted it and sold it.  For $95.  Amazing.

Anyhow...We wandered through the garage and shed and picked up random crapola to toss and then hauled it all to the big landfill site.  I'd never been there before but found it fascinating.  A constant crawl of huge trash trucks and land movers building a trash mountain.

When we lived in Virginia Beach 30 odd years ago they had turned "Mount Trashmore" into a park/recreational area.  Since our landfill is located by the Charlotte Motor Speedway, I'm expecting they'll do something similar.

By the time we got back SM had to run to a job so I was left my own devices. 

Which can sometimes be a dangerous thing. 

There is a pine tree in our backyard that SM planted 10 years ago.  He calls it his "Charlie Brown" tree. 

It's stunted and has never done anything.  I suspected that it was root bound and over the years have asked SM if he'd be "OK" if we took it out but it always managed to survive another year.

I eyeballed that sucker. 

Reflected that now was my chance since SM wasn't around.

Whipped out the tow rope, hooked it around the tree and attached it to the hitch.

A couple of satisfying yoinks on the gas pedal and TaDa!


Turns out SM wasn't bothered by my evil intervention at all.  Other than to ask me why I'd left it in the middle of the yard.

I shrugged as I headed for work the next day.  "Just seemed like the best place for it.  Do you think you could chop it up and take it away today?" I asked, kissing him goodbye.

It just wouldn't do to leave SM alone at the house without a project to work on @;)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Another Great Mystery Of Life

So I'm making breakfast for SM this morning and I'm humming.

"You know...I notice that you always hum when you cook."  SM observed.  "Connie does that too."  He adds referring to my Sister-In-Law.

I paused, spatula in the air and considered this.  "I remember my Grandma S always hummed too.  I can't remember if my Mom does."  I go back to flipping his eggs.  "I don't think so."

I tossed his eggs onto some toast slathered with Miracle Whip Lite, added some bacon and lettuce and another piece of toast.  Cut it in half...Instant Breakfast Sandwich.

"I don't think I hum doing anything else though.  You know, like cleaning or laundry.  Just cooking."  I set the plate before him.  "I wonder why that is?"

"Maybe because you're happy?"  SM says taking a bite.  "I know I'm happy when you cook."

What say you out in Bloggerville?  Do you whistle (or hum or sing) while you work?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Girls Club

This week I was working up a young lady who brought her Mom and Hubby along to hear the details of her consultation. 

I was in the middle of answering some concerns that the Mom had when I saw her eyes shift slightly to my neck as I felt a hotflash start to come up over me. 

I smiled, knowing what Mom was seeing and said "Yeah, it's a hotflash.  You know what I'm talking about." 

Mom laughed as I turned tomato red, picked up her daughters chart and started fanning myself off with it.  

I cut my eyes over to the daughter and said "See what you get to look forward to?"  Daughter laughed too.

"I tell you what..."  I said looking back at Mom.  "If I'd have known that this was what it would be like, I'd have had a LOT more fun when I was younger."  More laughter ensued.

Poor Hubby sat there looking slightly embarrassed as though he had stumbled into a secret Girls Club and overheard us discussing mysterious things.

I suppose that most men would rather not know the details of all the funny stuff that we girls have to go through but Hey...When you get married to someone you kinda have to pay attention to what's happening to them. 

I can't tell you how many times I've looked at SM and said "I'm glad I'm not a guy."

Elaine on Seinfeld said it all.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The More You Know...

This public service announcement is brought to you by Ding-Bat Tami who somehow managed to grab ahold of a pair of long handled loppers (who know, for trimming branches and stuff) from the back of the pick up as SM drove away and managed to stick the sharp end of stick into her leg.


I was pretty impressed as it didn't hurt and hardly bled and other than noting the nice clean edge (a scalpel couldn't have done a better job) it wasn't worth going in for stitches, cleaned it up and went about my business.

The word tetanus strolled through my mind but SM pointed out that those shots are good for 10 years or so.

So fast forward to Tuesday as we're all telling war stories of the long Labor Day weekend and I mentioned my war wound when one of my co-workers who is heading to Ecuador in a few weeks (and so has suffered upteen travel vaccinations) said she thought I'd better roll it by my Dr as it was a "deeper wound." 

Glad she mentioned it.  I spoke to the nurse who put me on hold and came back on with a "Yep...we need to see you."

So this afternoon I left work early for my "booster" tetanus shot.  Turns out that the rule is "Puncture wounds or lacerations need to be within 5 Years."  We estimated that my last shot was likely in the neighborhood of 7-8 yrs.

"So am I gonna die since it's been 3 days since I got stabbed?"  I asked my Doc before she left.   

(I am not without my own kind of drama.)

"Nah.  Not today.  Now if you end up in a car wreck tomorrow..."  She ventured.

"A distinct possibility what with driving into Charlotte day after day."  I finished for her.

So there.

Now you know.

Go get your tetanus shot.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Screwing Around

We have 30' of deck to lay. 

For some reason I thought it would be easy to do and I guess it is in the repetitive nature of the process. 

Lay the board.
Mark the end
Cut the board.
Pick the board back up and lay it again.
Drill the pilot holes.
Screw it down.

There's a lot of screwing going on around here this weekend@;)

The thing that makes us both slightly crabby is that it took us about 4 hours to lay 10' of deck. 

Really?  That's all we got done?

When I mentioned this to SM he said "We're doing it the hard way.  If we'd hired this out they'd have nailed it down with a gun and chopped off the ends all at once with a circular saw.  Easier, but not as nice as what we're doing."

I guess the heat isn't doing us any favors either.  We worked from 9-2 but I figure we wasted an hour what with lunch and sweat breaks. 

SM (as usual) is doing the bulk of the work with the chop saw and hopping in and out between the joists as he muscles crooked boards straight while I screw them down to hold it. 

It's funny...We bought premium boards for this.  You'd think a few of them would actually be straight.  When we do get a board that's straight we feel like we've hit the lottery.

So back at it today. 
93 yesterday with 96 forecast for today.
With a little luck we'll get another 10 feet completed.

Pictures when we're done, I promise.

No fun looking at a construction site with two old farts red faced and sweaty.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Somethings Got To Give

In yesterday's post I noted that the garden needed weeding. 

Whose doesn't?

But mine is SO bad that I thought "Maybe I should just mow it." 

And so I did.

I was out mowing the backyard anyway and looked over at the mess my garden has become and decided to got for it.  I choked the mower out about 3 times but in the end, I prevailed.

This year (and last year too) have been a struggle in the garden.  All it took was one windy day two years ago when the Bermuda grass was seeding. 

I remember actually seeing the grass seed in the dirt as I planted my summer vegetables and just knew that I was in trouble.

As you know, nothing much happens in the garden around here in August.  In an attempt to gain control I've got part of the garden areas smothered with black plastic. 

But look what happens one month after I've uncovered it.

Geez!  It was nothing but dirt.  I'd pulled up all the weeds I could find and look at this tall weedy mess.  That's fast! 

Now it's true that I haven't been as attentive as I'd like to be this year.  I think building and working on finishing the deck took up what little of my spare time I had each weekend.

But as I look at the grassy pathway's in my garden....(Trust me, there is weedblock and mulch underneath all that grass)...mown nice and short, I reflect that maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew.

Can I seriously keep up this fight year after year?

The short answer for now is "No" I can't. 

Maybe after I retire when I can nibble away on it daily, but not now.  I have too many other things pulling on me and when I do manage to "gird my loins" and wade into the morass, I come out disappointed and discouraged.

I've been around the block enough to know what works and what doesn't in this climate.  And I also know that something's got to give.

So while I know I'm still going to garden, I also know that I'm going to rethink what I want out of the garden and how to get it.

I'm thinking of planting a dedicated blueberry patch, planting more fruit tree's and creating more space for flowering bushes like hydrangea and peony's in the actual garden block itself. 

Once planted, these areas will be weed blocked and mulched like other areas in my yard.  My hope is that an established area will be easier to maintain than one that is constantly being turned over. 

I also want to consider what to do about the walkways. 

I could try to block the weeds and grass using heavy tarp plastic instead of weed block and then place mulch on top of it. 

Or perhaps I should just allow the grass to grow in the walkways and create more raised beds with higher sides.  Then I could just mow as usual around them.

Lots of things to consider.
Lucky for me I've got till next April to work on it.

Nature knows no pause in progress and development, and attaches her curse on all inaction.  

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Almost There

For me August is kinda like February. 

Something to get through.

It has it's charms I'm sure, but I was built for the tweener seasons of Spring and Fall.  Lower humidity, reasonable temperatures.  Bliss!

I can get a lot accomplished in tweenerville @;)

So we've been humping along, doing what we can weather (and life) permitting.

This morning finds us fogged in which delays things a bit.

Can't paint or stain.

I could pull weeds.  Blech!  I'd be better off mowing the garden at this point!

The zinnias are (thankfully) still coming on.  I'm cutting several jars of bouquets each week.

We have several birdhouses around the yard and we counted three hatches this year which surprised us.  We usually only see two.

The sparrow fledglings have abandoned the nests in favor of the huge privet bushes in our yard.

They chatter and flit about in a teenage party that SM and I enjoy watching.

Casey likes to crash the party from time to time jumping up against the bush causing a flurry of flight while she races along the on the ground.

If only pigs (ie Casey-Pig) had wings.  I'm sure she'd be up there flying along with them.