$8,500 in the hole

between the demo and disposal and materials like ¾ gravel, concrete blocks, liquid concrete, and lots and lots of rebar, pierre and i have spent $8,500 to achieve a very large hole in our yard.

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friday (dig day) was easily the worst day of the renovation. at least, i hope it was. the morning started with us dismantling the fence we worked so hard to put up a few summers ago and my brother driving a bobcat into the yard. with the dig, we reached the lowest point (literally) in the reno; every step afterwards is one in the direction of construction rather than destruction.

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you’ll notice i didn’t mention a bobcat in our budget? that’s because my brother owns one. that’s just the kind of family we are. he neglected to tell me (until after the dig was complete and the bobcat was back in its trailer) that he’d never really used it before, but he operated it very gracefully, didn’t crush any of my plants (except maybe my vinca, which really couldn’t be helped), and didn’t accidentally knock down my house, so i can’t be mad. he hauled out a whole lot of sand and over two tons of old concrete. the old structure had kept the tree’s roots from being a problem, so that was a big headache that we didn’t have to deal with (for once!)

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my yard now looks like the sahara, by the way — a huge mountain of sand where lawn once was, but we’ll get that fixed up in a few weeks. i’m thinking of redoing the lawn with clover so it’s more pollinator friendly and doesn’t need to be cut or watered.

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my brother, tyler, and my friend craig then built us a form…

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which we filled with gravel and created a rebar grid in to provide further stability for the concrete.

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unfortunately, our concrete truck capsized on another delivery, but we miraculously found a place that could get us concrete within an hour of the time we were originally expecting it.

IMG_3969ty and pierre barrow-ed three yards down the concrete slide we made while my dad raked. three yards in twenty-five minutes! these men are animals.

IMG_3970the result looks something like my nana’s sea foam cake. my dad tried to trowel it smooth, but needed to get out somehow, leaving behind the imprint of a ladder, which we tried to level out with a makeshift tool. (the boys rejected my idea to use a swiffer, but i stand behind that suggestion.)

the stone mason is the next man on the job and we’re expecting him… sometime. then, our twin carpenters are starting a week from today and they’ll get us about 90% done (we’ll still have the staircase and a backyard to sort out).

we’re probably only about 15% complete, but so far the planning/waiting aspects of the renovation were more stressful than the actual work. pierre’s hoping this whole project goes really easily and smoothly because he knows if it’s a disaster there’s very little chance he can convince me to live through digging out and underpinning our basement in a few years. so while things feel a little cramped on our main floor and we can’t do laundry, watch tv, or water the plants very well, the fact that we can kind of ignore the renovation so long as we’re not looking at it has made it pretty easy so far. i would think something like a total kitchen renovation — where the tools are staring you in the face every morning and you have to eat take-away for months — would be much more intrusive.

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