The Driveway

Big doings this week at our house.  After 30 years the driveway is getting re-done!  It’s looked awful for years, the cement seams filled with weeds and the asphalt part crumbling but I let it go as long as I possibly could.  But starting last year we’ve had to be way too careful driving up and down because the ruts in the blacktop were deep enough that if you just drove straight up/down, you could scrape the bottom of the car.

It turned out to be a two-day job because I decided to replace the little paving blocks in the back with a real sidewalk as well.  The first day, they demolished the driveway, moved the paving stones and dug a nice trench for the sidewalk.  Then in a very smart move (amazing how they know their own business!!) they covered everything in plastic; it poured buckets overnight.  Watching them take up the soaking wet plastic and get as much of the water into my yard and my neighbor’s yard instead of onto the driveway was almost painful.

The cement business seems like periods of very hard physical labor punctuated with standing around.  Waiting for the next phase of the job begins or waiting for some piece of the job that someone else has to do gets done.  Just as well – if they worked that hard for 7 hours straight, no one could last in the job!

The cement truck couldn’t get all the way up the driveway so they filled an intermediate container on wheels – looked like a big bug.  Then from the bug to the wheelbarrows, then the hard work of spreading it and shaping it.

All this excitement was hard on the dog and the cat.  Of course, with all the work in the backyard, Guinevere had to do all her business at the end of a leash and overnight she had to be “escorted” into the yard to make sure she stayed off the plastic.  The noise made her a bit anxious but keeping her upstairs helped a bit.  Nimue also disliked the noise and disruption; I’m never quite sure how much she picks up from the anxious dog and how much is her own crabbiness at having her routines varied.  Not that her routine actually varied that much.

There were a lot of logistics for us as well.  First there’s the car issue.  You’re not supposed to drive on the new cement for 7 days.  And after spending the last year reading about people breaking into cars or stealing catalytic converters, we were both a little hesitant to park on the street overnight.  We decided to be a one-car family for a week; hers stayed in the garage and I parked on the street during the day and then in my neighbor’s driveway at night.  Second issue was the dog – she spent three days on “house arrest” – only getting out when she was supervised or on a leash.  Third issue was actually the biggest… this was SO distracting.  YA and I both were fascinated and I think we would have easily just sat and watching the proceedings for the entire 2 days. 

It looks fabulous now and I can’t wait until the first time I can drive up it and not worry about getting all the way to the right or left to keep from scrapping!

What’s a project that you put off too long (currently or in the past)?

32 thoughts on “The Driveway”

    1. After making the big first deposit and working on getting the second half paid, I couldn’t bring myself to deface it. But we did think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara, that is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I’d sometimes lay concrete on farms, and it was guaranteed the dog would manage to get on it. But this is beyond my wildest dreams, that baby should become a legend.


  1. Wow, looks great, vs.

    In the area right outside our back door, husband, some years ago, “fixed” a broken up would-be small patio by pouring new cement. He had never done cement work before, and this was well before you could find instructions for damn near everything on YouTube, so he went to Menards (or wherever) got the supplies he needed, and had at it. It is far, far from a professional job, and half-way through it, Pablo, our resident Wiener dog at the time, took a stroll through the wet cement. At the time we were upset about it, but now we relish the permanent reminder of that sweet little guy. We both placed our handprints in it as well.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I helped my pal Lester to lay a concrete slab out behind the house he and Belinda had bought in the campo. He’s a professional builder and will tackle anything. One time he worked on an aircraft runway, putting down new concrete to exacting specifications. I too have laid a lot of concrete, both ready mixed and home mixed. So we’re the boys, right, we’ve done it all. We’ve been there.
        I think people think that readymix is expensive. Lester does, well I’ve heard it said that he’s tight. We were going to mix it ourselves. We agreed he had plenty of planche(Spanish for a mixture of gravel and sand), yes easily enough for the job. I mixed, he wheeled it away and tipped it. Every few loads we’d stop and “screed” what we’d done. I’m not sure if the word “screed” is used outside of England, but it makes you sound knowledgeable.
        I think it was a Saturday. Some doubt arose as to what time Tino, the builder’s merchant would shut. Maybe Lester should run over there in the van, we decided after a bit. Just get a few small bags of planche, to be on the safe side. I carried on by myself while he was gone. He brought a few bags back, so now we had plenty. Nothing to worry about.
        A bit later, it was past Tino’s closing time. We had to rake up gravel off the area around the car port, and just managed to finish the job. So the last little corner hasn’t got any sand in the mix. It won’t last many years.
        If I ever do any concrete work for you, you’ll have to grill me as to how much material I’ll need. I’ll get really annoyed, but I’ll know it’s my own fault.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This summer while Darling Daughter is off at Concordia Language Village, I am finally putting new carpet down upstairs. When we bought the house in 2002 we said, “yeah, we’ll probably want to replace that in a couple of years.” Nineteen years is “a couple” right?… Right? (Yes, I probably could have pulled up the carpet and had the floors redone – carpet was an easier decision…) So as long as I am moving all the furniture around, I am also having my bedroom repainted (the only space upstairs that I haven’t repainted – though I have a pro doing this both because I-dont-wanna and because there are many cracks that need repair), and as long as I am doing that I am replacing the bed that was purchased when we moved in. The new bed likely just cost me as much as the painting and carpet will – but I am also guessing it will last me until it is time to move out of the house and into “senior living.” And its soooo plush…

    As for Husband’s Big Projects – I hope to get one of those finished up this weekend (last 1.5 yards of dirt delivered tomorrow to level off The Big Muddy Pit that used to be a foot deep). Plants have spread and are coming in nicely in the raised bed that y’all helped me fill in. I still need a few more, but am limiting myself to see how things spread. I got some lamium and a bleeding heart to add to what is there – but not doing more until at least fall then or next spring. And then next summer I will figure out how to better deal with the tower in the middle – probably make window box affairs for annuals to hang off the sides.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A few unfinished projects come to mind:
    – the quilt I’d told my mom I’d mend… she forgot about it so it never got to be “front and center.”
    – how I was going to revive my piano playing skills… it got lost in the shuffle, even with Covid, when I re-arranged the space for jigsaw puzzles. Maybe now, since we’re past puzzle season.
    – and the perennial sorting of my mom’s stuff, some of which is happening by default as we prepare for her memorial next Tuesday.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I just did a little cement yesterday; the ongoing theater bathroom remodeling project had a 12×4′ area that need to be… well, not exactly “leveled”… but there was a lip of old concrete 3/4″ deep that had to be down to 0” at the doorway.
    Did the math, purchased 10, 60lb bags of concrete from Menards, and I’ve done cement at home… had a helper and mixed it up in the wheelbarrow. Only needed 6 1/2 bags. it’s not perfect either…it does taper! And hopefully the new vinyl flooring will lay flat enough.
    And it was hard work.
    Last summer we cut out and jack-hammered out cement to redo the plumbing. That was hard work. Then we hired a guy to put that cement back in. Several of us added our names to that. It all gets covered up anyway.

    At home I just talked to the cement guy about adding some cement to the machine shed for my future shop. That would just ‘on grade’ they call it; no footings or anything, just some leveling, some wire, and you’d think it’d be easy… This spring I was told roughly $6 / sq foot concrete installed. Not sure how much that’s increased.

    Oh, I have a list of things to finish this summer…

    Congrats on the new driveway!

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    The remodeling of our kitchen was a project that had been delayed for a very long time just because it is such a difficult process to go through, especially if living in the house. Glad that is over.

    Meanwhile, there are many more delayed projects that I should get to but, as Barb says, they are not front and center. Our electrician started but could not start rewiring our electrical box because Xcel has all these waiting lists he must “obey” to start. That is now scheduled and the stuff is just sitting there waiting for Xcel’s procedures.

    I am in a real snit right now, so I must get over myself. Today I just discovered that my birth certificate, the only one I have ever had, is “insufficient.” I just had to order another one because this one did not have my parents’ names on it. I got scolded for this the the Real ID office, like I issued it to myself. For Pete’s sake.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I have intended to replace the bedroom carpet for several years. When the carpeting went on sale early this month, I finally had someone come to measure. While he was at it, I had him measure the den (actually small second bedroom) since I want the same carpet in that room. It should be here soon and hopefully installed by mid June. But installation means moving a heck of a lot of stuff out of those rooms and closets. I had already started cleaning out the closets last month. Since it was rainy all day yesterday, I finally tackled both rooms – getting rid of stuff I don’t need/use and don’t want to have to move back into the rooms once the carpeting is in. This morning I loaded up my car trunk and back seat and donated the entire mess (and my trash bin is pretty full as well). It feels good but there is still more to be done. You all know how one project can easily snowball into something bigger than intended. To cut down on my cable bill, I want to scale back to the minimum package and utilize more streaming. To make that easier, I need a smart TV. Sooooo, that means replacing my current flat screen (which sits in the den and isn’t the best quality) with something just a bit bigger. But the TV I want won’t fit on the 26″ stand I now have so, of course, that means buying a bigger stand, which means disposing of the current stand, etc, etc, etc. Sheesh!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. One word: Freecycle. That should make it easy to dispose of your old TV and the stand as well, and you don’t have to haul it anywhere, they’ll come and pick them up.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. By the way, K-two, you inspired me to load up a bunch of clothes I no longer wear. I’ll be stopping by the Goodwill store shortly. Thanks. I’ve been putting this off for eons, just didn’t have the energy to tackle it.
      After my acupuncture treatment on Wednesday, I feel so much better.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. From Molly this morning.

    Not much, to be honest. He’s still hospitalized but holding his own. He’s had the full course of COVID “cocktail” (steroids, Remdesevir and something else I can’t remember) and is down from needing close to 6 liters per day of oxygen to 2. The doctor talked with me yesterday and anticipates releasing him tomorrow which is great news. But he still has the cough and that could linger for some time. It’s been a long road, which is often the case for older COVID patients. We are so lucky he was vaccinated. So so so very lucky. Hopefully you will see him back on the trail tomorrow or Sunday at the latest.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you for the update. I’ll keep wearing my mask and staying away from large groups of people in indoor settings until the numbers of infections drop further. Vaccination makes a huge difference, but it will still take time to knock this virus down.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. It was a little disappointing today at the Mall of America. I’m guessing less than half of the people there were wearing masks. It just seems so shortsighted to abandon precautionary measures so quickly.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. I got into this blog by the back door I think. I think I’m supposed to register or log in or both. I was pleased to give up truck driving, as you guys over there call it, when I retired 5 years ago. Pleased for many reasons, not the least being the increasing need to be able to use BDA’s etc, to run your day for you. But somehow, Steve is getting me inveigled in all this stuff I don’t really understand. I find that there’s a community here, and Minnesota Steve is not only known, but liked and cared about. And that’s nice, he’s a nice guy.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. To answer the original question, I have so many unfinished projects that inevitably some have them have been put off for too long. I won’t itemize them because that would be boring.

    At the moment I am restoring a copy of Robin Hood, illustrated by Howard Pyle, who was an incredible illustrator. I don’t know how we came to be in possession of this particular book, but it was in terrible condition with the spine covered with tape and the pages falling out. I’ve removed the tape and its residue and I’ve resewn the pages. It will never be a pristine copy but at least it will have its dignity back.

    A sticker in the back of the book indicates it was originally purchased at the Minneapolis bookstore of Mabel Ulrich. She had five bookstores here in the 1920s. She was also a physician. Here’s her bio:

    Liked by 6 people

  9. I have been happy, with all this rain that we’ve had lately, that I had a sump pump installed in the basement a few years ago. I would have been down there with a wet vac, I’m sure. I spent way too much time dealing with a wet basement, and should have had a pump put in decades ago.

    Liked by 3 people

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