Monday, August 23, 2010

Digging A Hole to China

Okay, this all started when our next door neighbors approached us about building a fence. Joel and I are not very happy about how things are turning out regarding the fence, but one thing is good: we finally fixed the irrigation problem in our back yard.

Our backyard consists of two large retaining walls. There is a six foot retaining wall about six feet from our sliding glass door off the kitchen, that gently sweeps away from the house as it comes closer to the next door neighbor. In that corner of the yard during the rainy season we have major water issues. We essentially have a water fall down the rock wall, a river across the grass, and another waterfall down the retaining wall between us and the neighbors. The fence mentioned earlier would run right through this water feature. Joel and I have always wanted to fix this problem but just hadn't gotten up the motivation or set aside the time. With this impending fence project we decided it was time.

So Friday night, after work, Joel drove up to Snohomish to borrow some tools from his parents. Then we got up early on Saturday and started to dig. It was awful. It was miserable. It was work in every sense of the word. If we were just digging up dirt, that would have been a whole different story. Instead the "soil" in our backyard is a equal mixture of clay and rocks. We would start by picking at the ground with an axe or with a heavy steal bar that would break up the soil and attempt to dislodge the rocks. Then we would try to shovel out the dirt into nice piles on plastic tarps in an attempt to keep the grass protect. This soon turned into throw the dirt anywhere you can, just get it out of the ground. After digging and digging for five hours we had one ten foot by eighteen inches-deep trench dug up. Surveying our progress I was feeling pretty good about what we accomplished. Joel and I were still in relatively good moods, neither one of us had taken off our wedding rings yet and we were finally accomplishing this monumental task.

But this feeling of pride quickly vanished when I saw the amount of digging left to do. We still had to dig a 20 foot by 20 inches-deep trench to connect the first trench to our existing drain pipe. I wanted to sit down in my freshly dug hole and cry. I wanted to lay on the ground, kick my legs, and pound my fists. I was just wanted to scream, "Uncle! Uncle! Uncle! I give!" Instead I went inside, made two sandwiches and sat down in the lawn chairs in the backyard. After playing with a little green frog Joel found in the grass I was feeling better. So we went back to work and started to dig the connecting trench. It wasn't long before I was again, "not feeling the digging". I told Joel I had to go to the bathroom and went inside to search for jackhammer rentals. I went back outside, armed my information and told Joel, "we could have a jack hammer for less than $100.00". Joel looked at me, looked at the amount of digging left and said, "Get in the car." So off we went to the rental shop to borrow a jackhammer with a spade to help us dig out the rest of the trench. Although it didn't necessarily make the work easier as attempting to control a 70 pound piece of machinery as it bores into the earth isn't a walk in the part, it did make the work go by faster. In two hours we had the trench finished and ready for the irrigation pipes.

Even after I got showered off and ate some dinner, I still had to bake a cake and prepare for Sunday dinner. My dad was driving down two hours from Lynden to help Joel and I lay the pipes for the backyard project. My sister Jackie's birthday was last week, so we decided with Dad in town that Jackie and her husband Chris better come over for dinner. So I scrambled to prep some of the food, bake a cake, mix up frosting, clean up the house, and get presents wrapped up. Finally I dragged myself into bed and let me tell you, bed has never felt so good. Ever feel so physically exhausted that the idea of sleeping is just too much, so tired you would be happy to just quietly lay in the dark, so tired that the idea of rolling over to turn off the light makes you cry? That is how I felt, and I am sure Joel felt the same way.

It wasn't long before that nightmarish calling of the alarm was pounding in my ear drums. It was time to get up again. Joel and I quickly ate our breakfast and got on our grubbies. Don't want to keep Dad waiting. When Dad showed up I think he was surprised to find that all the digging was completed. We put the pipes together, put them in the holes, connected them to the existing drain line and tah-dah, we were finished. All we had to do now, in the pouring down rain I might add, was collect rocks to cover the porous pipes so the water can filter down and collect in the irrigation pipes. Then after we found enough rocks, it was time to put all the dirt back. Oh excuse me, most of the dirt back. We still have a pile of it in our backyard, not to mention the lack of green grass in several patches.

But I am not complaining! We did it! We finally fixed this water problem. In three hours, we put the dirt back, cleaned up the tools, showered and changed our clothes. Dad, Joel and I sat down to drink a few beers and watch The Big Lebowski. Then Jackie and Chris came over to eat some steak, corn on the cob, garlic bread, and my famous spinach-pasta salad. I even had a white-on-white cake (Jackie loves white cake with white frosting). When Joel and I are out of town, Jack-Rabbit stays with Auntie Jackie, who just loves to have Jack over at her house. So I was trying to think of a way to draw a white rabbit on a white cake, when I decided to put chocolate chips in random spots on the cake instead. When Joel carried the cake into the dinning room, I said "oh-no Jack must have gotten to the cake - I can't believe he pooped on your birthday cake!" It was a big hit. Everyone loved poop cake and we almost ate the whole thing.

After we said good bye to everyone, Joel and I did the dishes and went to bed. There was no way I was doing anything but laying under the covers and soaking up the comfort of freshly laundered sheets and my pillow. Nothing ends a good weekend like fresh sheets, the arms of your husband wrapped tight around you, and the quiet feeling of accomplishment.  

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