Thursday, April 16, 2009

Digging it.

First, it's been exactly two weeks since I mailed my Noseless Cowboy manuscript off - media mail, no less. The agent said she had three manuscripts ahead of mine. Is it too early to start fretting? Because I already am.

Second, Easter went well. We got there by 3 in the afternoon, helped my father-in-law throw sticks onto a rack wagon, and then rode said rack wagon while he pulled it with a big, old tractor down to the burn pile. My kid spent most of the rest of his time there digging in the dirt and rock with the same diggers his daddy had dug with, because my in-laws never threw away ANYTHING. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. My husband went up into the attic in their shed and pulled out Clyde's Car Crusher and Superheros and Mutant Monsters (which is the guy version of Fashion Plates that I had - you know, where you mix up the different plates with different outfits and then do a crayon rubbing over the top?) from 1978 - still rubberbanded in the box, still with most all the parts. In my house, those things would have been recycled at a thrift store or just tossed a long, long time ago.

(And if your wondering - because I know I was before I saw it - Clyde's Car Crusher is where you make molds of small cars and vans out of aluminium foil, then drop them into a chute, wind it up until your vehicle has (theoretically) been crushed into a 1-inch cube, and then put your cube on the back of a truck. Boy heaven, that's what it is.)

Church also went well - considering the furnace wasn't exactly working. My kid didn't want to go up for the Children's Sermon until I pointed out that the pastor had a basket, and there might be something good in that basket. Then he was off, and was rewarded with jelly beans. Sure, he ate the Body of Christ before it had been officially blessed, but only half. Not too bad, really.

Third, let me tell you how sore I am. We've been digging. Here, look at this dirt.

All of that dirt came from this walkway:

And that walkway? We dug that out by hand, just the three of us. Well, two of us. The kid tried to help, he really did. He even has his own shovel, a little spade I bought for digging in the garden while I'm on my knees. Just right for him. But after about four or five shovels full of dirt, he's done, and playing in the dirt. Like this:

You can see the undug walkway behind him there. That was the beginning of the trench my husband started - apparently, just the right size for an almost-four-year-old kid to recline in and enjoy the afternoon sun.

This is what our backyard started out as:

The hose is the outline of a future patio. There used to be a deck there - but it was rotting and the paint was peeling, so we tore it out.

We did that (also by hand) coming up on three summers ago. The area formerly known as a deck has been a mud-and-weed pit for two full summers. But now, we've got our supplies delivered:

(No, you're not imagining things - that is a hearse back there. Our neighbor has a thing for the Adams Family, so we have a hearse next door. We had a mud pit for two years, so I guess a hearse isn't too bad, right? Besides, when I get my plants and shrubs back where all that rock is piled high, I won't be able to see it as much. I hope.)

We've got a bobcat being delivered tomorrow, because while I may be insane enough to dig out a straight(ish) and narrow walkway, I'm not nutty enough to do semi-circles that have old concrete on the edges.

But it will all be worth it, because we WILL have a patio. It WILL be lovely to sit out at our table and eat dinners al fresco. The new plantings WILL be stunning this time next year when everything blooms again. And with the money we're saving by doing this ourselves, I WILL have a lovely new office in which to write and write and write, complete with coordinating office furniture!

This WILL all work out!

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