Oh people, people, people, it's DIY time again at the Allison house. I would like to begin by publically apologizing in advance for all the future posts on this project, the inevitable Susie whining that will eventually take over the project, and any other ways this project might offend you. I'm just trying to cover all my bases.
We are finally fixing up the backyard.
It was a rush decision.
It was a quick one.
It was rash.
It's taken us five years and one baby to get off our butts and finally do something about this suburban oasis.
I mean, it is a dream of a backyard. Can I make you a print of this photo? Want it for your desktop background? Soak it in. I've gotten to for FIVE YEARS.
This gem of a project will be spear headed by none other than Chuck with a workforce made up of Chuck. What? I can't help on this.
1. I have a baby. Who eats dirt.
2. I am a baby. I don't like dirt. (also, Chuck has forbidden me from power tools which may sound misogynistic to you, unless you know me. In which case it sounds fair and reasonable,)
The project began on Saturday. Chuck worked outside all day and made a stupidly ridiculous amount of progress. He cut apart the whole deck, ripped it out, and started redistributing dirt from the boarder to the area formerly known as
In one day it went from this:
|I get you already saw this picture but sue me. And never call me Sue.|
It also changed seasons in that one day, miraculously. And the fence was done in that one day too. Just kidding. The 1st picture is from last summer before we (Chuck) fixed the fence. It's like a before before before (times 9 months) picture/
After the deck was pulled up, we ended up with 20 left over concrete deck footings that held the 4x4 posts.
We hadn't thought about what to do with them - those suckers were 45 pounds of heavy each. (Like I would know about their "heavy". This is all second hand information from Chuck.)
I, for one, had zero desire to take 920 pounds of concrete blocks to the dump (or to pay for that) so I asked Chuck if we could Craigslist them and play our favorite game, "You pay us to haul away our crap." But we worried maybe this was too specific an item, maybe there isn't a huge market for 20 giant concrete blocks. We went for a free listing and rang that dinner bell. People are crazy for free stuff on Craigslist so I felt like we had a good chance of getting someone to take them for us.
Our bargain price listing of free was a steal because those bad boys are $6.43 a piece at Lowes. It was win for whoever wanted these - they are expensive. It was a win for us - that would have been a hefty dump fee (plus we have a whole deck and half a fence worth of junk wood that also needs to be "dumped" - the dump bill was going to be the highest line item for this venture.)
We had 3 emails in under ten minutes of listing it (six in an hour - in Craigslist terms, we were Walmart on Black Friday). I called the first guy who emailed us and hoped for the best.
What I got was Thunder. THUNDER. I cannot make this up. Turns out Thunder lives just 15 minutes from our house, but having just moved back here after a decade away, he wasn't totally sure where we lived. I gave him the address but he doesn't really like GPS (doesn't like the "idea" of it - I love him so much) so I had to give him good ol' fashioned directions based on limited information about where he lived ("If I turn right, I'm 2 miles to Albertsons. If I turn left, I'm 10 miles to the city"). He said he'd be arriving in his '66 Chevy and that he wasn't too much of a hillbilly.
This man stole my heart in moments. By the time I hung up, I wasn't sure if I'd listed the post in "free stuff" or "women seeking men". THUNDER!
Thunder was amazing - and now ask me how many times we've sang Thunderstuck since Thunder arrived with his truck on Saturday? Thunder was about 50 with long gray hair in a ponytail. He assured Chuck that he could load the blocks up alone, but Chuck's a nice guy so he still helped out anyways.
In the end, he gave Chuck a banana for helping him load the blocks. Oh Thunder, you prince of a man.
Spoiler alert: Thunder gets even better.
We had all the wood from the deck lying there in chunks, plus all the massive support beams, and the left over wood from the fence last summer that isn't salvageable. Thunder took it all away for us - he was making a dump run anyway and "you guys don't have a truck so what is your plan?". Thunder, I know as far as dinner tonight. You think I've thought through how to get this all out of here?
Thunder is my hero. I'm considering renaming Sam "Thunder Kerry Allison". The man took literally THOUSANDS of pounds of our crap away for us. What is the Craigslist equivalent of a jackpot? My only regret is that I have no photo of us to remember him by. Hopefully this memory won't fade...
We gave him $30 to cover the dump fee, which funny enough is exactly the amount we had "earned" from selling some pavers and bricks that were in the backyard too.
Could Thunder have taken all the scrap wood home with him and pocketed the $30? Maybe. But it was more than $30 worth of dump weight that was loaded in (sing it) Thunder's truck so we were fine with it. We made $30 from Craiglist and then paid $30 to have the entire deck and half a fence taken to the dump. This project has cost zero dollars so far and my miser self has never been happier.
So that was our Saturday. Sam and I watched the show from inside. Chuck got to hang out with Thunder for 40 minutes. And he got a banana out of it.
(know the song people. know.the.song.)