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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Diary of a Retaining Wall OR How We Bothered the Neighbors Again

Recently we were told that our deck is tilting.  We live on a hill and the deck is not supposed to tilt.  Consequently we had to put in a retaining wall down at the bottom of the deck so the deck would not become part of the back yard and float down the hill in a spray of dirt and cause the news media to take pictures of it in a morality story of what happens when you buy a house that is built on a hill.  (Or what happens when you have a run-on sentence.)
My rendition of our deck.
There should be a frowny face on the bottom here,
but I didn't feel like drawing it.
Last week, after chasing contractors down the street while waving money at them, the work finally began.  The neighbors looked on in dismay.  And the mayhem commenced.
Any minute I expect to get a knock on the
door from the kid with the dirt bike
asking to use our track.
The photo above is the road they created through our yard to get all the gravel, brick, tools, crap, blahdeblahblah stuff.  It isn't obvious but they made a big old dirt track through the minuscule landscaping we used to have. Notice the crappy heat pumps on the left.  (That's my next project as soon as money starts shooting out of my butt like a funky green rainbow.)
They wouldn't let me drive the bobcat
thingy.  It was probably because
I called it a "bobcat thingy."
The above photo is only part of the bricks and gravel they brought down from the street.  (Coincidentally, the neighbor catercorner to us is having his deck rebuilt at the same time so we had a case of dueling delivery trucks, which pretty much stopped up the neighborhood road and put us on the hit list for everyone around.  People drive their cars slowly past glaring at us.)  I'd like to point out that each of those bricks weighs 85 pounds.  I know this because the poor bastard who had to lift them up and put them on the loader, drive them down the hill, and then lift them out again told me three times.  I would go out and give him Gatorade, which weighs about 16 ounces.  (But I did it three times.)  Also I should point out that the amount in the photo above is is only about half of the bricks because the other half is under the deck and below the dogwood tree that is also tilting.
My MIL came to visit. If you look
closely you can see her sitting up there.
"Hi, Mom!"
The above picture is the right side of the deck, if you're looking at it from the yard.  You can see Cressy's tree house in the back, which isn't tilting at all.  The bats who live in the attic space of the deck get in from the top right corner against the house where that one little spray of green leaves is.  (If you look closely you can see the bats waving and hear them yelling, "Not getting us out of here, bee-yotches!")  Yes, Virginia, those are more bricks beneath the deck.  I couldn't get a picture of the guy who moved all the bricks because I thought he might not like it.  And also he can lift two 85 pounds bricks at the same time so I should just bring him more Gatorade.
Before we moved in the previous owners
had workmen put up these X's to help
shore up the deck.  It didn't work.
The picture above is the back of the deck as seen from the backyard.  It looks fun and cool but it's a big muddy mess.  I have a special pair of tennis shoes I've been using just to go out and dig out crap that we're doing to save money.  I've been washing them out and leaving them outside in the warm, moist Alabama air and now they smell like something died in them.  Needless to say those shoes will be going into the garbage when we're done.
I tried lifting one of the blocks when the
guy wasn't looking.  I couldn't do it and
I needed ibuprofen afterwards.
More bricks and the trench between the supporting posts and the left side is the first retaining wall they'll build next week.  Then when they're done with that, they'll build another retaining wall on the right side of the supporting posts.  Then we'll eat Ramen noodles for a year.  When people ask me why I wear a t-shirt with holes in it, I just say I spent my money on a retaining wall instead.  The tree to the right of the photo above is our tilting dogwood, which may or may not fall down.  We've asked it but it isn't talking.
I wish this wasn't fuzzy.
This is a photobomb that I got from the Internet because I was bored with putting up pictures of our yard project.  I should really say "Our YARD PROJECT" or "Our Fricking, Expensive, M-Effing Yard Project" or "The Primary Reason I Will Never Again Buy a House on the Side of a Hill Project."  Anyway, if you're taking a self portrait on some lake and a squirrel/chipmunk? poses in your photo, I think it's good luck.  All the squirrels and/or chipmunks in our yard have hauled ass for other latitudes.
Unsurprisingly I used this photo in another
diatribe about home improvement.
Think it was something about wall spackle.
My sister suggested I compare Our M-Effing Yard Project to the above photo.  We didn't get to bury bones of dead workers under it, though.  However, we did find bottles, cans, house construction waste, and other crap I couldn't identify.  (No cans of gold coins.  Jeez, the least we could find was an old can of gold coins.  Really.)
The kid doesn't really use the tree house.
I'm moving my office in there just as soon
as we get an AC unit in there.
While the guys were toting 85 pound bricks around, HIM, the man to whom I'm married, decided to build a drainage ditch next to the tree house.  He rented a ditch witch and proceeded to break six irrigation pipes and lost two sprinklers in the process.  It took longer to fix the broken pipes than it did to dig the trench.  However, I have since learned that when one breaks a pipe, in order to fix it, one must dig it out by hand in order to have enough pipe visible to be able to cut it off in order to put on a new connection.  By hand means digging with a shovel and then by hand.  Then two of the connections he re-did leaked and had to be re-did again.  Then the system had to be tested, the drainage hose put in, and reburied.  I'm not sure where all the dirt went because we didn't seem to have enough dirt to fill in the trench, even with the big ass drainage hose in it.  Anyway, my back hurts and there's about an inch of mud stuck to my stinky shoes.
Surprisingly there aren't that many photos of dirty shoes
on the Internet.  Who knew?
These aren't really my dirty shoes but what the hell?


Sara S. said...

I have to say, I'm somewhat disappointed that you didn't sneak a picture of the guy who can lift two 85 pound blocks of cement at the same time. I know you have it in you, I mean after all - you've been known to sneak pics of people at WalMart. I'm all curious as to just exactly how big his muscles are, and I shall lie awake pondering said muscles.

Cressie has a lovely tree house. I would use it, if I had a lovely tree house like that. Maybe you and HIM should go into the tree house building business. Want to come to Wisconsin? I don't have any neighbors to complain about where I would have a tree house built though, so that could take some of the fun (and blogability) out of it.

Carwoo said...

I should have taken a pic but I think it would have fallen under the icky category. And hey, I only take pics at Walmart when their back is turned.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

Im going outside to take pix of my work shoes so youll have another to post on yor next rant, I mean post.

I suggest keeping HIM of ditch witches.