Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day of Rest

Seems like forever since I last typed on this keyboard. Here's an update.

The Wall has kicked my rear end in a big bad way. Oh sure, the tearing out was fun and quick. I remember seeing some of those huge stones I was taking out and thinking that they must weigh a bunch, but I wasn't worried, as I am still relatively young and somewhat strong.

Oh what a fool I was! The larger stones are at least 200lbs. Not a single stone is shaped close to square, so it's like a really heavy jigsaw puzzle. I have to try two or three different stones before finding a good fit. It has not been fun. In the past two days we've managed to get this far...

and I had been naively optimistic that I could get at least one side of the wall done by the end of today. That's about ten to twelve feet of wall in the picture, along with the recessed area for firewood. Reality has set in though, and there is no way for me to continue as I have been.

The workday has started at sun-up, usually around six or seven. Meals are brought out by the Wife, as I am too grubby to enter the house. When I do come in, usually after dark, I hit the showers and wash off layers of dirt. Then nearly fall asleep in my food. When I sit still for more than five minutes I am either asleep, or my muscles tighten up to the point where I really don't want to move. The Wife has been awesome at keeping me hydrated with home made lemonade and ice water, and still I am sweating so much that I've lost about 12 pounds in the last three days.

Right now, the only part of my body that does not ache, burn or otherwise protest when I move is my nose and my right earlobe. All other parts relating in any way to bone, muscle or connective tissue have been worked until mandatory strike was called because they just can't keep going. Even my fingers are protesting the pounding I'm doing on these keys. I've managed to smush every digit on my hands except my left thumb at least once, and one time I got all four on the left hand with one shot! I'd raise a celebratory fist at that accomplishment if it didn't hurt so much to make a fist.

So tomorrow we are calling in reinforcements in the form of one of the contractors that we liked, and we're going to see what it takes to have some professionals do the rest.

To say I am frustrated by this development is an understatement. As a former Marine, I have the unfortunate mind set that one either succeeds in completing the mission, or fails the mission. It's very Yoda-esqe. "Do, or do not. There is no try." So I am feeling a bit of a failure at calling in help. But I'll get over it. Probably when the whole backyard is done and I'm sitting out back around the fire pit and enjoying time with my family.

I'm hoping for the following things.

A) It won't cost too much to have a crew in to build the wall.

B) Said crew won't giggle at my amature attempts at stone masonry.

C) The boss of said crew won't come in and say that it all needs to be torn out and redone.

We've got a yard full of building supplies; 10 tons of stone blocks, many tons of 1 1/2" clean aggregate, and a few tons left of the class 5 road that I put in as a base under the wall. The machinery goes back tomorrow and Tuesday, and we're calling the contractor tomorrow.

On the up side, I am getting quite good with the excavator. I'm comfortable enough with the controls now that I can usually pick up the big rocks in a try or two, and last night I moved the 200lb plate tamper up onto the wall by grabbing the lift point with the tines of the scoop. The Wife was impressed, as was I! I even 'high-fived' the Boyo with it, much to the Wife's chagrin.

I also learned how to run a skid loader, which is not nearly as hard as the excavator, but still fun. And I have discovered something that I have no desire to ever make a career out of, that being building walls with 2-300lb irregularly shaped stones.

I'll try to keep these positives in mind in the next few frustrating weeks.

I'm going to stop now, as my hands and arms are nearly asleep and burning a little at the effort of typing. Ibuprofen here I come!

More Later

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