Memorial Day weekend is for barbecues, running and laughing with friends, and hard labor. I added that last one so I can feel better, though the crick in my neck and twinge in my shoulder says otherwise. Friday was a long time ago. I don’t remember what I did Friday but I’m guessing it involved Costco, library, errands, Baby Harbat in the carseat getting irritable. Saturday involved all three components of the ideal Memorial Day weekend. Hard labor came first.
Baby Harbat was dropped with friends so she could play with their daughter while my wife and I played worker drones for the day. First we went to our neighbors’ place to pick up a pick up. Truck. Darn, that wasn’t as funny as I thought. I have to say, the only thing better than owning a cheap beater truck to use for hauling and yard work is having a neighbor who owns one. This was a beauty: early 80s Ford F150. The engine sounded like a motorboat and the brakes were suggestive of stopping, rather than affirmative. We loaded it up with brush, finally ridding our side yard of the catch-all tinderbox that makes our neighbors nervous. What, is it a problem to have our Christmas tree still out there under dry leaves during fire season? We went to the landfill, dropped off our brush, and paid six bucks to have a front-end loaded fill up the truck with mulch. Six dollars for two cubic yards of mulch. I paid that amount for a 1.5 cubic foot bag last week, making me feel like the biggest chump on the West Coast after I learned they were giving it away for FREE at the dump. The six bucks was the loading fee, totally worth it when I saw guys shoveling and sweating and struggling to get a few handfuls of mulch into their truck. They’ll pay, they always do, thought the guy working the loader. Sure enough, once they saw our truck get filled to the brim in a matter of seconds, they were off running to pay.
Here’s the before picture of the truck with mulch.
And here’s a big brown pile on our lawn. Oh, and some mulch too.
Then I went on my own to buy a yard of gravel for the fencepost project. When the loader dumped that in the truck, the rear end sagged lower than Baby Harbat’s diaper after an enchilada lunch. It was a hairy ride back on the highway with a ton of gravel in the back. The brakes went from soft to disinterested, there was a disturbing shake at 60mph, and every once in the while the rear would do a slow hip waggle, like a fat woman settling down into a diner booth.
Here’s the before picture of the gravel. Gravel=heavy.
Note the functional wheelbarrow on the left. Halfway through the job, it collapsed under the weight, the plastic wheel shattering. I had to humanely put it down.
Enter new wheelbarrow!
I hadn’t wanted to use our new garden cart, but it kicked a$$ on gravel duty. I needed to build a bridge for it, but the tipping feature was perfect for gravel. Maybe it was mean of me to leave the old wheelbarrow there. Maybe it was a warning to the new cart: stay in shape and that won’t happen to you.
What isn’t pictured is the bottle of beer I drank at the end of this day. It is gone and boy was it delicious.
Sunday morning we set some fenceposts in dirt and gravel. I was in prime form, grumping and cussing and being a total prig. We only got two posts in before Baby Harbat woke up from her morning nap. I went in to make bread: two rosemary rustic, one plain rustic, and one cinnamon raisin. We gave away the two rosemary breads. I learned that my rustic recipe is STILL off, being too slack to score nicely, and much too wet to fold and slap. In a wild fury I sharpened up a kitchen knife after not finding anything sharp enough to score the slack dough. Now our paring knife is sharp enough to make your finger bleed just if you look at it.
Sunday night was BBQ at a friend’s house. BH ran with the other kids in the back yard then ate their French fries off their plates. Wife and I consumed beer and decompressed.
Monday I was in a better mood and we put in about ten posts. Neighbors love to drive by, slow down, and make a “funny” comment as we are sweating and breaking our backs. On Monday I was able to laugh and respond, better than Sunday where my response to, “Having fun yet?” was “If this is fun, I want to do some hard work,” with no smile or hint of jokey-jokey. That guy drove on after his suggestions of “just doing it in concrete” were met with mumbles and glares.
Today’s blog interlude is brought to you by the letters B and H. Here she is working hard while mommy does an exercise video.
Our Mem Day workstravaganza came to a close on Monday afternoon with the kick-off movie night at a friend’s house. I made some hamburger buns and they provided everything else. We sat out in the sun, stuffed ourselves with food, then watched Freaks and Geeks and Sixteen Candles. I came to the realization that every John Hughes movie is the same plot and same cast.
Total weekend bread count: four loaves and sixteen buns. Total beer count: three Bass Ales, one bitter IPA, two delicious Kirkland ales (Costco beer is relabeled Gordon Biersch!). Total injury count: several fingers look like they’ve been through a meat grinder, one unidentified slash on my shin, and innumerable aches in my back and neck. Total hamburger count: three, including an animal-style from In-N-Out Burger. Summer has begun!