Monday, April 21, 2008

Heave (the) Ho(e)!

So, this weekend I began the long, arduous process of building a new patio. The patio won't be huge, and while deciding just what kind of patio, exactly, I'll build, one major factor in every household decision for me is: how much will this cost me?

Now, I've learned from past experience (read: mistakes) not to be too cheap, otherwise you end up with a patio that, over the winter months, allows underground beasts to rearrange your bricks, forcing you to start over, only to repeat itself the following year.

So, yeah. I'm doing this right this time. But it also means I'm forgoing the absolutely beautiful bricks in favor of the old 4" X 8" rectangular standby.

Anyhow, so far, I've started digging. And, you know, I'm not as young as I used to be...but I figured that with all the working out I've been doing, I shouldn't have a whole lot of problem with getting 6" of topsoil out of the way.

I'd be wrong.

After a little more than an hour of shoveling, I was done for the day, my back sore, and bruises forming on my heals. I had managed to dig out trench only about 2 feet wide, and 15 feet long.

So, here's where being a father can be great (perhaps even moreso than the actual act it took to become a father!). Because I have two strapping young boys who were just hopping at the idea of doing some real "manly" work and digging. I handed over my shovels and let them at it.

Remember what I said about wanting to save money? Well, this was great. Free manual labor! They weren't complaining that they weren't getting paid, so why should I? Unfortunately, that little while angel over my left shoulder (known affectionately as "the conscience") pointed out that, after two days and 2 hours of work by two of my boys, we were still only halfway done. They were tiring out, so I let them know I'd pay them $1 per hour.

I thought I was being rather generous. Until I told my wife. She informed that I was being a cheapskate. I mentioned they actually didn't mind doing it for free. So, we compromised...and I ended up paying them $2 per hour instead. (Okay. So compromise sometimes means admitting that your wife was right.)

The shoveling isn't done, yet. But it is close to done...and I have two very happy boys who have, at the time of this writing, have earned $6 each.

Tonight, hopefully we'll finish the job. Heave ho, boys. And I'll heave the hoe. Then comes the next back-breaking part of this process: laying the foundation. I wonder if they'll do this part for $.50 per hour. (Because then when my wife tells me that I'm paying them too little, I can double it to $1 per hour.)


WordWrangler said...

You've got a smart wife. :) Good post! :)

Araby62 said...

Just be careful they don't unionize on you...};-)

jj said...

Isn't it awful when age tells you "hey, you're not 20 any more; who do you think you are anyway!?" Just had an experience like this myself. Was going to whip out painting my basement in two days.

Ahem. Took 3 days to get one coat on. The 2nd coat still awaits. Sigh.

RyanBruner said...


Well, let's see. I spent a week or so framing a lovely wall in my basement to partition off the storage/utility room from the rest of the area. I did a great job framing around where the door is to go.

I did this a few months ago, and it is still just a frame. I haven't gotten around to putting up the drywall nor the door. Uh. Maybe next year. *sigh*