Friday, January 13, 2017

Sweet, Sugar, Handyman

  Michael and I can often be very different people. That works out great for me in the way that he can make something extravagant out of nothing (book shelves, dining room table, and now a deck). Yeah I'm good at cutting colorful papers and pictures together with stickers, but I also struggle with small projects that come with a two-page manual. For people who are thinking about buying a house, there is so much more money to be spent than just the price of the house. So many times since May, Michael has come up with a new idea for how we can make our house look extra great "and improve the sale value" (although we plan on living here for 30+ years). My question is always, "How much is that going to cost?" Somehow we've been able to keep our savings account in a healthy high-ish range for two people in our late twenties, not including the baby fund that we haven't taken any money out of yet. That may be a different situation come July. =) Although I was very surprised that we barely had to take any money out of savings to paint the whole house in June. We were just putting less into savings then.

  I looked up the average cost for building a deck, which would be way more if a contractor or architect is used, and it is between $2,000 and $15,000! Luckily we were close to the low end of that. For a much more detailed/ How-To post of the deck, be sure to read the post that Michael wrote. But here are the pictures I took on the Canon over the past few weeks ~

  December 21st: The second day that Michael began shoveling up squares of sod, I "helped" by sitting outside with him and talking for two hours. He said it actually helped him a lot (I love when me basically doing nothing is "such a big help" to him) and he worked until the sun went down. I took pictures that day, but won't post those just because Michael didn't have a shirt on. That was before it started getting cold. In his post you'll see me all bundled up in one of the photos- obviously that day was cold. To me at least; I'm pretty sure he was just wearing a short sleeve shirt and jeans.

December 30th and 31st:
  I did more helping on the 30th by checking the level when he was putting these posts into the brackets that were stuck in the concrete. Then I would hold the end of the long piece of wood he was cutting so it wouldn't topple over once it was cut in half. I also held my phone up as a flashlight when he wanted to finish working even though it was dark outside. He was so determined to get all the posts screwed into place that night. And he did. The huge piles of sod were picked up on New Years Eve by an old man who contacted Michael on Craigslist. At that point Michael's friend/ co-teacher at VAMP came over and helped for the next few days. That day my job of "helping" included picking up lunch for them, then later getting the pizza and drinks. Also giving sugars (kisses) on demand was requested. Just to Michael though! I didn't mind that.  =)

  My least favorite part of the project was on New Years Day when Ryan and I were at the mall and Michael texted me a picture of his "first injury of the year". When he was getting more wood from the top of his car, one piece slipped and hit him near the eye, causing a small gash, and a cut that went down his cheek to his jaw area. It made me so sad to look at it and turned a purple then blue color from the blood vessels popping in the bag area under his eye. Luckily it has finally healed!
  Michael, Brian, and I christened the patio that night after I dropped Ryan back off at the train and Michael sacrificed his Boba Fett keychain that we got together in 2009 during my first trip to Birmingham when I met his parents.  Boba was slowly dying though. His whole armor outfit had rubbed off at least a year ago and Michael recently noticed that somehow one of his Lego legs went missing!
  Another small snafu was when Michael went to dig the hole for one of the plants by the pole that holds all the string lights. He forcefully slammed the "hole-digger thing" into the ground and heard a crack. He had forgotten that the pipe for the sprinkler was there and the area began flooding. This was on January 5th, about an hour before my doctor appointment! He shut off the water, ran to Lowes and was back to glue the new pieces together with some "cement in a can" stuff, and we were still on time for the doctor appointment.
  After this photo was taken Michael moved that pile of dirt to the other side of the house (in the area you can't see behind the A/C unit shown below). He will work on leveling that out tomorrow morning and also talked about building another small deck in that area to hang our Eno hammocks from since there are two trees on that side. "The Quiet Deck" is how he referred to it. But I'm not sure if that will happen anytime soon. We've talked about wanting to build our savings back up first. Also in this picture below you can see how the outlet looked on the corner of the house, but was replaced as explained in the next part:
   In the two pictures above you can see both of the "step off points". The one in the first picture is almost level with the ground, as the yard is naturally higher in that area. The next photo shows an actual step down that needs to be noted. After he put up the lights, he came up with another idea to wire the lights to the pole so we wouldn't have to use the outlet on the side of the house. Here are those switches, including a dimmer for the lights (he's so fancy)!  The only "real" part Michael has left to do is complete the paver bricks, which he has started by outlining the original stepping blocks. Those will be replaced by the stack of bricks.
   He bought some chair covers for all of the outdoor furniture and those arrived the other day, which you can see in one of the pictures from this morning. He had pulled up the dead flowers from both sides of the porch (I also pulled up all the pink and white pansies (?) that were in the front yard because they had really been wilting from the cold weather) and he let me pick out the new flowers I wanted in the back. He says we can get tulips -my favorite- for the front yard later.
  The last part of the deck (as of now) that Michael wants to add in order to fully complete it, is to hook up water proof speakers and place those around the screened-in patio so when we have parties, we can have music playing outside. I told him we can get those at the end of March since that will be one of the months where we both get three paychecks. Oh, we did buy four tiki torches last night because he said the mosquitoes were biting him the night before when he sat outside. Those aren't in the pictures though because he hasn't put them in the yard yet.

Side note: Week 15 of my pregnancy has brought on a sinus cold with a lot of sneezing, causing a stuffy/ runny nose and today I'm mostly in a stage of coughing. Other than that, everything is terrific!!

1 comment:

  1. Nice story to go along with the pictures. Michael (and you) did a wonderful job! -D