Back to the Grindstone

I went to Purvis High School with a boy who carried around a tape measure, pliers and a slide rule in his pocket.  He was the smartest kid in our class, so of course we all made fun of him. (Yes, I was educated in South Mississippi–the bastion of intellectual pursuit in the late 70s.)  This guy endured high school, (he was our valedictorian) and went on to get his Ph.D. in Astrophysics. He is now an esteemed professor at Auburn, a father of three beautiful children, and is a patent holder for a new kind of engine, among many other achievements that are way over my head.  Roy does things the right way, or he doesn’t do them at all.

My buddy.

My buddy.

I tell you about this classmate (I love you dearly Roy!) to compare him to another great guy I know and love–my husband.  Jim and Roy have many qualities in common.  They met at my 25th class reunion, and while my classmates and I were shakin’ our groove thangs on the dance floor, Jim and Roy were huddled in the corner discussing the Space Time Continuum or String Theory or whatever.  It seriously looked like a scene from NERDS GONE WILD!  So you’ll understand when I tell you that when Jim undertakes a project, he researches it to DEATH!  He won’t buy a lug-nut without investigating the merits of said “nut”.  Lord help us when he buys a car!  He plans even the most mundane project with meticulous preparations and refuses to do any job unless it’s done to his exacting standards.  This boy did not go to the school of “Half-Assed”.  I however, am the valedictorian of THAT school!  Case in point:

Here is how I unload a truck of sod and dirt.  Took me almost an hour and I had to use a wheelbarrow.

Here is how I unload a truck of sod and dirt. Took me almost an hour and I had to use a wheelbarrow.

Here is how Jim unloads 40 bags of dirt & sand.  Took him 20 minutes.

Here is how Jim unloads 40 bags of dirt & sand. Took him 20 minutes.

As we finish up the little jobs needed to complete our construction project, I’m doing as much grunt-work as I can because I simply have way more free time than Jim.  If I can do my part by hauling, raking, digging, spreading or hosing, I happily get sweaty and dirty for the cause.  Last Saturday we spent the morning fixing the area by the new driveway by removing gravel and laying dirt and sod in the curve.

I would have just dumped a whole bunch of soil in here ant laid the sod on top.

I would have just dumped a whole bunch of soil in here and laid the sod on top.

But Noooooooooooooooooooooo!  Jim spent two backbreaking hours with a shovel and wheelbarrow, removing every little morsel of gravel leaving an even deeper hole for us to fill.

It did look pretty awesome when we finished.

It did look pretty awesome when we finished.

Thus, I freely admit that I am the Queen of “GIT ER DONE!” and Jim is the king of DO IT RIGHT!  So when he comes home from work today and sees the results of 3 1/2 hours of my hard labor, I know he’ll have something snarky to say.

Before...

Before…

After!

After!

I spent the morning leveling the dirt, filling in holes, spreading new dirt and sod, and laying the pavers down in the pattern we have planned for the walkway.  Did I lay the pavers correctly? No.  Do I care? No.  I just wanted my tenant to have something clean to walk on, plus I wanted to see how pretty they would look when they are properly installed.  And PROPERLY installed they will be!  Jim will probably align the pavers with the Prime Meridian and further have their placement coordinated with the Global Satellite Positioning System while consulting the Periodic Table for the correct mix of mortar and sand.  OH THEY’LL BE INSTALLED PROPERLY MY FRIEND, YOU CAN BET YER SWEET BIPPY ON THAT!

But still, I’m proud of my efforts and I keep looking out the window to gaze upon what I hath wrought.

Coming along nicely don't you agree?

Coming along nicely don’t you agree?

And now I’ll close with a photo of two of my favorite guys.

Quirks & all! :)

Quirks & all! :)

Buster’s Lucky Seventh

I’ll give you a break from the construction news today to show you some great pictures from Buster’s 7th birthday party.  If you’re a new reader, you’re thinking, “Did she say, Buster’s birthday party?”  Yes, every neighborhood needs a crazy lady and I fit the bill quite nicely.  Each year I invite some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet to a Bunny Birthday Bash complete with snacks, beverages and of course, carrot cake.

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Thanks again to Shirley and the nice folks at Earth Fare for making his cake for the 3rd year in a row.

Thanks ladies!!!

Thanks ladies!!!

I set the table with an appropriate bunny-themed decoration…

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And at Buster’s suggestion, I put a basket for donations to his favorite cause.

Montgomery Humane Shelter

Montgomery Humane Shelter

By the end of the night, my sweet neighbors donated $160.00 to the shelter.  Thanks so much y’all!

Jim made a ton of chili for Frito pie.  He thought he invented a method for chopping a bunch of onions without causing tears, but later he Googled it, and someone else had thought of it first.

Blow the fan at the onions and the fumes don't get into your eyes.

Blow the fan at the onions and the fumes don’t get into your eyes.

The night was quite fun as always.  I forced my guests to sing Happy Birthday and enlisted a cute red-head to blow out the candles for him.

Sorry for the embarrassment sweetie!  You performed admirably. :)

Sorry for the embarrassment sweetie! You performed admirably. :)

Now I have to issue a disclaimer here.  The following pictures are of my friends and neighbors.  If this sounds dull to you, then I suggest you stop here and get on with the important duties of your day.  I will say, however, that I have above average-looking neighbors and consider these photos to be treats for the eyes.  Enjoy, and until next year…HAPPY BIRTHDAY sweet Buster Man!

Ever doesn't remember visiting Buster when he was just a baby.

Ever doesn’t remember visiting Buster when he was just a baby.

Ever brought an older woman as his date.

Ever brought an older woman, Kim as his date.

My friend, neighbor and DENTIST!  And his too-cute honey.

My friend, neighbor and DENTIST, Bill! And his too-cute honey, Marcie.

Duncan & Brenda

Duncan & Brenda

Next door neighbors Martha & Irl

Next door neighbors Martha & Irl

A relatively new neighbor Chris, greets a brand new neighbor, Melanie.

A relatively new neighbor Chris, greets a brand new neighbor, Melanie.

Relax Andrew, those are RAISINS!

Relax Andrew, those are RAISINS!

Save me Gary!  Never fear!  I'll protect you Linda my dear!

Save me Gary! Never fear! I’ll protect you Linda my dear!

GT (not the cat) and Leigh.  GT built my house and is a great pal and fellow chicken farmer.

GT (not the cat) and Leigh. GT built my house and is a great pal and fellow chicken farmer.

Mike, Philip, Jo, Jill & Chris discuss important issues.

Mike, Philip, Jo, Jill & Chris discuss important issues.

Robin, her hubs Carl and Beth discuss the literary merits of the KITTYBUNNYCHICKEN.

Robin, her hubs Carl and Beth discuss the literary merits of the KITTYBUNNYCHICKEN.

Fellow kitty konnoisseurs Mike & Martha

Fellow kitty konnoisseurs Mike & Martha

Brand new neighbors two doors down, Valerie & Kerry and their brand new sprout.

Brand new neighbors two doors down, Valerie & Kerry and their brand new grand-sprout.

Buster's excellent pet sitter looks out for his comfort during the chaos.

Buster’s excellent pet sitter looks out for his comfort during the chaos.

Mike (love the new creative facial hair by the way) and his adorable and patient wife, Sue.

Mike (love the new creative facial hair by the way) and his adorable and patient wife, Sue.

Allen minus Jill.  Is she in that cup?

Allen minus Jill. Is she in that cup?

Carl has a laugh while Brusle gets seconds.

Carl has a laugh while Brusle gets seconds.

Brusle's better half, Gwen and my pal Philip.  I heard a rumor that Philip's jacket caught on fire from one of my candles during the party. Any truth to this? :)

Brusle’s better half, Gwen and my pal Philip. I heard a rumor that Philip’s jacket caught on fire from one of my candles during the party. Any truth to this? :)

And finally Jeff & Cathy make their annual appearance.

And last, but not least, Jeff & Cathy make their annual appearance.

That’s all folks!  Thanks again for making it a great party and a wonderful chance to catch up with some of the best neighbors in the world!

Here's wishing you another seven years, sweet old man. :)

Here’s wishing you another seven years, sweet old man. :)

 

 

Raise Da Roof!

Now that the roof is going up, I can really see how the carport will look when it’s finished.

Metal roof and siding  on the storage room.

Metal roof and siding on the storage room.

I got sore muscles just watching these guys dig the holes for the extension of the privacy fence.  They sure save a lot of $$$ on gym memberships.

Concrete still not ready for a car to drive on.

Concrete still not ready for a car to drive on.

We’ve pulled up all the pavers and plan to have a privacy fence extend around the back of the yard.  For now Chris will leave a large section undone so we can have easy access to the yard for dumping sod and dirt.  When we’re completely finished with the landscaping, we’ll close it in and the house will have a 1/3 bigger yard and more privacy as well.

Golf cart parking pad should be done by the end of the week.  We'll use some of the pavers to make a cute little driveway.

Golf cart parking pad should be done by the end of the week. We’ll use some of the pavers to make a cute little driveway.

I have a master plan to put a fountain along the angled part of the fence and with the addition of some foliage and Adirondack chairs, this area should be a little suburban oasis.

That's a lot of dirt and sod Jim!  Are you sure I can't hire some manpower for this???

That’s a lot of dirt and sod for us to install, Jim! Are you sure I can’t hire some muscle for this???

And now for your daily dose of “kitty”.

GT enjoying his swanky fleece kitty bed on "his" side porch.

GT enjoying his swanky fleece bed on “his” side porch.

We love this grizzled old guy.  :)

I BEEN FRAMED!!!

The next step in construction is framing.  After the concrete hardens overnight, workers can step on it although it needs to dry a lot longer for a car to park.

Chris gets up all the pavers in the former parking pad.

Chris gets up all the pavers in the former parking pad.

Framing for the roof goes up first.

Framing for the roof goes up first.

The view from my back yard.

The view from my back yard.

Framing in the storage room adjacent to the carport.

Framing in the storage room adjacent to the carport.

We were careful to plan the smallest carport that we could get away with because we didn’t want it to overpower the tiny house.  By our calculations, this is the littlest two-car carport in our neighborhood.  If you look on the right you can see a small shed in front of the store room.  This is for golf cart parking.  We plan to line the shed floor with some of the pavers we removed from the yard and use more to make brick pathway from the golf bay to our back fence gate.  That will come much later.

Finished for the day.

Finished for the day.

I guess I should put an animal or two in this post since it is called the KITTYBUNNYCHICKEN right?

Mulder and a friend watch the job site from the safety of their viewing area.  He's VERY sensitive to the construction noises.

Mulder and a friend watch the job site from the safety of their viewing area. He’s VERY sensitive to the construction noises.

BIG BABY! :)

 

Concrete Jungle

I like watching most kinds of construction in our neighborhood.  There’s always some new house going up and I’ll stop and take a gander during my neighborhood walks.  All the construction guys know me but oddly I don’t get catcalls and whistles.  They must just be very well-mannered. :)  Yes, that must be it.  I especially like to see concrete being poured and shaped and I had a very good time watching the pad being poured for our little house yesterday.  There’s a lot of skill involved obviously, but there is an art to it as well.

Looks like grown up mud pies.

Looks like grown up mud pies.

These guys have done this a few times and they sure make it look easy.

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And “messing up” is not an option with concrete.  Especially after it starts to harden up.

Almost there guys!

Almost there guys!

The weather was just right for the pour and I had a good time watching the crew.  There was only one slight glitch in an otherwise perfect day.  A large chicken wandered on to the work site and before we could stop him, he left his mark in the hardening pad.

No worries.  I kinda like it. :)

No worries. I kinda like it!

 :)

Sweet!

Sweet!

Progress!

The back yard of our little rental house is really coming along nicely.  Our plan was to switch the parking area from the far side of the yard to directly behind the house.  This will expand the back yard and provide easier access for cars to park.

Before the chaos.

Before the chaos.

We are removing some picket fencing but we will recycle it after the pad is poured.

going...

going…

going...gone!

going…GONE!

The next step is for Chris and his crew to place the big posts that will hold up the carport roof.

Busy, busy, busy.

Busy, busy, busy.

We’re also going to dig up all those pavers but save them for some pathways and a small patio.  We’ll replace them with sod and the yard will be about 1/3 bigger than it is now.

All four posts set.

All four posts set.

Then it was time for Ricky to come in with his concrete crew to ready the pad for pouring.

Jim wants do drive one of these contraptions.  He thinks it would be like playing with adult Tonka trucks. :)

Jim wants to drive one of these contraptions. I just can’t see it.

At the end of the day, the pad is ready for pouring.

Ta Da!

Ta Da!

The noise was pretty loud at times and G. T. even came in once or twice to escape the din.

Theysure make it hard for a guy to get some sleep around here!

They sure make it hard for a guy to get some sleep around here!

Oh, yes…it bothered Mulder a lot too.

Worthless creature!

Worthless creature!