January 24, 2011: Landscaping and Garage

I managed to wake up without an alarm before seven this morning.  That was pretty amazing considering that I went to bed late and have been getting up around eight or later for over a week.  My BlackBerry, which had been set as my alarm, died during the night.  It is a year and a half old and the battery is just about shot.  I am very lucky to get one real day of use out of it.  So almost every weekday I take it to work and plug it in at my desk to charge it and then run it down in between.  Not as useful as it used to be.  Now that Verizon has the iPhone I am seriously considering getting one of those when I reup as Dominica’s Droid X is not very impressive in comparison to my iPod.  The BlackBerry devices have not kept pace and all and I need something a lot more advanced and reliable.  The rollerball on my BlackBerry is completely useless – you can’t reliably select anything.

I got in to work at eight which is pretty early.  I was quite productive this morning.  I grabbed coffee and a danish at the cafeteria and ate at my desk.

At a quarter till eleven I ran back up to Carrollton so that I could be at the house to meet with our landscaper who was coming by to give us a quote on our disaster of a lawn.  I was a little late but there in plenty of time to be able to talk to him and find out what he was thinking.

We need to put in new drainage.  That much is clear.  The yard fills up with water and it just sits there.  That isn’t good.  Even in a very light rain we could take little sailboats out beside the house and sail them around over half of the space there.

The landscaper liked the idea of putting in a patio running alongside the house between our house and the one that we are hoping (but not hopeful) to buy shortly.  That entire side of the house does not get enough sun to support grass and so the plan, we think, is to put in flagstones and make it a complete outdoor seating and entertaining area.  It would be awesome to have places to go and hang out outside.  Oreo loves being able to just lay outside for long periods of time and if he had some actually comfortable outside furniture he could just stay out there baking in the sun without getting over exposed to the grass to which he is allergic.  We need a comfortable place for us to sit while Liesl plays in the yard too.  We hope to be able to be outside quite a bit with this new house.

The backyard needs sod.  A lot of it.  No question there.  We currently really have no grass.  It is awful.  We need to dig out and remove a good chunk of soil that appears to have become “salted” from the runoff from the water softener too.  A load of soil needs to be brought in as well to fill in the gaps and bring the yard up a little bit as it is too low at the moment.

We want the bushed that are blocking the windows of the den to be removed.  They aren’t the best bushes and they are just in the way making it darker than necessary in the house.  We might leave some of the other bushes.  We will see.  Dominica really does not like them.  The trees are absolutely staying, though.  We might add a tree to the front of the house.  It wouldn’t block our view or sunlight from the windows but it would, eventually, shade the living quarters of the house a little bit from the southern exposure and would, eventually, lower the cooling cost of the house and add some interest to the front of the house.

The existing flower bed he had some ideas about switching from the old, crappy wooden box into something curved and made of rocks that would be a lot more attractive.  An actual garden piece rather than the box of clay dirt that it is now.  We will need something done with the flower box on the front of the house too.  We actually have a fair amount of “garden” space around the house that all needs to be addressed.

The last big thing is that we need a new irrigation system as the old one is broken or possibly just missing altogether.  We’ve never really seen any trace of it so we aren’t completely convinced that it actually exists.

He is getting us a quote together and we should know more tomorrow evening.  We are very excited to get some of these big projects moving.  The garage, yard and atrium are the big three that are driving us crazy until they are done.  The atrium being clearly the third place project there.  Until we manage to get it done, we can just ignore it.  But the house is full of boxes that need the garage to be completed in order to be put away and it is really cutting into our space.

I spoke to our contractor at lunch and he is planning to come over this evening so that we can look into getting the garage project started right away.  I hope to be able to work on the indoor gardening this evening as well.  I’m very anxious to get our new plants into place.  We have two nice, large pots to place in the living room and by the front door.  Until we get all of the plants done they are just sitting in the entrance way.

The afternoon at the office was kind of busy.  On my commute today I am continuing to listen to “Pirate Hunter”, the biography of Captain Kidd which continues to be pretty interesting.  It is a very long book.

I got home at six and our contractor was over around seven.  We went around the garage and figured out mostly what needs to be done and the plan that he is going to go over to the house tomorrow afternoon to get started a little after lunch.  Hopefully we can get this all completed very soon.  We are quite excited to have this start tomorrow.

My project for tonight is to empty the garage.  No small task.  So after dinner and watching a few episodes of Big Bang Theory: Season 1 with the family I set to clearing out the garage.  Dominica came out and helped for a while too, especially with the lighter stuff and getting all of the foodstuffs out of the extra fridge so that we are prepared to unplug and relocate it to some place where it will not be so much in the way.  Although I have no idea where it might fit after this.

It took a few hours to get the garage cleaned out.  What a job that was.  I listened to my book for most of the time that I was working.

It was around midnight when I was all done.  Liesl was busying herself watching her new video Leap Frog Letters or something like that.  It is a video for learning the letters and the sounds that they make.  She loves it thus far.  She watched it four times just tonight and already knows the songs and sounds!  She already knew her letters but this is really great.

We put Liesl to bed and Dominica and I watched a little bit of Big Bang Theory again to give me a chance to relax after the exertion.  It was pretty late, after one, when we finally went to bed.

In theory we are supposed to hear back about the house next door tomorrow.  But we aren’t holding our breathe.

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