Posts filed under ‘The Great Outdoors’

Up North!

I visited one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes over the weekend, and stayed at my aunt and uncle’s fabulous cabin.

They have delicious donuts here.

The food was delish! The entertainment was fascinating! The accommodations were luxurious! And the price was certainly right!

I hope they’ll invite me back!

Friday, my cousins, Barley, and I headed up to the lake house after work. We met my parents and brothers who had been camping up on the North Shore (of Lake Superior) last week, and my aunt and uncle who were already up at the cabin. We didn’t get to the cabin until late, and ended up sitting around a campfire for a while, roasting marshmallows and whatnot. Then, the kids (myself included) and Barley retired to the bunk house for some much-needed sleep (at least, I needed it… I can’t speak for anyone else).

Saturday was a bit cold and rainy in the morning, but cleared up enough for us to go tubing in the afternoon! Tubing wars were a blast (tubing wars means there’s 2 tubes dragged behind the boat and you have to knock the other person off of their tube)!! Even if I lost to cousin Catherine, she proved to be a fierce opponent!!

Look how tough Catherine is (she’s on the green tube)!

Robby takes on Catherine (this time she’s on the blue tube).


Saturday night, we went mini-golfing. I’m not that good, but I can talk a big game. And! I got a hole in one on the “secret hole” and won a free round of mini golf (guess I’ll have to visit again to claim it…).

Jennifer and Trevor get hungry on the mini-golf course.

Sunday morning was more of the same – rain and cold. A thunderstorm came through early in the morning, and wimp dog was freaking out. So he crawled under the bed (I still cannot figure out how such a big dog squeezed into such a tiny spot!).

Barley hides under the bed in the bunkhouse.

But it cleared up in time for us to go waterskiing. Jim and Uncle Doug barefooted, Trevor showed off his waterskiing (he is REALLY good), Jennifer wakeboarded, and I tried slalom (one ski) skiing. It was tricky! I think I’ve only been waterskiing once before, so I fell quite a few times…

Jim waterskiing sans skis.

Trevor shows off his waterskiing skillz. He was even zooming back and forth, in and out of the wake!

Jennifer is super-awesome at wakeboarding… much better than my unsuccessful attempt in Kentucky!

Check it out – don’t I look like I know what I’m doing!?! (ignore the ugly face I’m making… not sure what that’s all about…)


30 seconds later… crash!

Then, Sunday night, we had to head back to the city. But not before we talked the land dog into trying his hand at water. He’d only go in until his belly touched the water…

He’s a water dog now!

The rest of my pics from the weekend can be found here:

Woman Lake
Advertisements

July 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm 2 comments

pavers! part 2

Did I mention that we RAN OUT OF SAND on Sunday? As in, didn’t even get halfway through the project before realizing that we were not going to make it? So we had to improvise. We woke up around 8am Monday, and headed to Home Depot, then Menards, to rent a truck. For those of you who have never actually been in Menards – it is fantastic, and I hope you get to visit sometime. Definitely make a point to notice the DOS-based computer system still in use. They’ve got computers that look like they’re straight out of the 1980s. So awesome. Menards is like Fleet Farm meets Home Depot meets Walmart. (only, not so much Wal-mart-y, because I hate Walmart, but love Menards). Jason thinks it is best described as “a flea market… of hardware”. He also tells me that there are no Fleet Farms or Menards on the East Coast?!? Oh, the East coasters are missing out. Fleet farm is also fantastic.

Anyways, we rented the Menards truck because the Home Depot truck was rented, and headed up to Bachman’s, which is a huge garden/landscape shop in these parts. Bachman’s might be my new favorite garden shop, but it’s more likely that I’m just amazed by the sheer size of the place. It is huge, despite it’s urban location. Bachman’s, I’ll be bach. or, back, actually. Anyways.

Jason in the Menards truck.

We picked up another yard and a half of sand, then emptied it into our driveway, returned the truck. Cousin Catherine showed up to help out, and thank goodness she did. (Dear Aunt Tami and Uncle Doug: thanks for not only being willing to put up with my shenanigans for several months on end, but also for having kids that are willing to drive 30 min each way to partake in my shenanigans! Dear Catherine: you’re my new favorite cousin.) Catherine is pretty darn good at bricklaying… she put down most of the patio, while I brought her bricks and Jason tacked down pave-edge with stakes that we had purchased at Bachman’s. It looks good. Really good.

Awesome cousin Catherine works her bricklaying magic!

Around 3, I left to go to work and Catherine left to head home to do her homework. I also ran errands in between doing work stuff – we ran out of pave edge and stakes – so I had to rush around town to find them. Tricky. But Menards and Bachman’s were still open, so I managed to score the necessary supplies, and a burrito for JT (from Chipotle, of course). While I was at work, Jason finished the rest of the patio and put more pave-edge in surrounding the bricks. Then, I came home, freaked out, and re-did the part of the path that Jason had finished. Why? Because it didn’t look right. (Because the section had only 4 rows of brick instead of the 5 rows the rest of the walk had).

Jason installs the pave-edge.

So then, I was annoyed with Jason for not having paid attention to what he was doing when he laid the path, he was annoyed with me for ripping up all of his hard work and redoing it, and we were both totally annoyed with the project and also with the dog, because he kept barking from inside the house. I suspect the dog may have been annoyed with us for ignoring him all weekend. Annoyance was rampant.

Yeah, I ripped it up and redid it. Can you say “control freak”? How about “perfectionist”?

Barley spies on us from inside the house.

Anyways, we kept working till about 8 Monday night, when we finally called it quits. I finished laying all of the brick. Jason tamped the front walkway and patio, then put sand over the front part of the walkway and tamped again. I had to return the brick saw this morning, but we kept the tamper to finish up some things this evening.

Last night, we swept sand across the bricks and tamp them down. Repeat x3. This morning, we returned the tamper. This evening we (Jason) finished the bricks outside the side door (we couldn’t use the tamper because we couldn’t get it close enough to the house and then the bricks would have been sunk into the sand at different angles). But now we’re all finished with the brick pavers! Yay! It was honestly not all that tough to do – the most frustrating part was not having all of the supplies that we needed to complete the project, especially since we had to rent a truck to get the sand. But! If you’ve read our past home adventures, you’ll discover that not having the proper supplies to do the job is a theme around these parts…

Look! The finished product:

The patio and back walkways.

Another view of the patio and back walkways.

The back patio.

The back walkways.

View from the front. Not bad when you consider what it looked like 2 months ago…

The new patio and pathway are a huge change from before!

More pictures are here:

Pavers 5-2008

May 28, 2008 at 9:59 pm 5 comments

pavers! and more pavers!

Holy cow. I’m pretty sure that every muscle in my body aches. Ouch! This patio better be worth it. I better be able to get a pool boy to bring me some margaritas while I lounge on the patio all day. Hint, hint, JT. Better work on your margarita-making skills…

Anyways, the weekend. Things started off smashingly when the paver delivery guys showed up around 7:45am with all the supplies necessary for paver-patio-making. Joy! Unfortunately, our driveway is about 3 feet by 5 feet (okay, I’m exaggerating a little…) and we could barely fit everything along side the piles of concrete and dirt that currently take up about half the driveway. Fortunately, the delivery guys were experts in navigating city alleyways, and all was delivered with no problems… except, we were supposed to get landscaping spikes and they ran out. We decided it wouldn’t be a big deal.

Jason supervises the dumping of the base material.

Jason compacts the soil before the base is laid.

One thing that I am particularly proud of is that we thought to bury some low-voltage lines under the pathway so that later, when we have the money/inclination, we can add some low-voltage lights around the patio for a real outdoor oasis in the city.

Our low-voltage line, buried under our walkway.

The first 2″ layer of “base” (aka, small stone mixed in with sand) went down in about 2.5 hours. The second layer of base took a bit longer because we had to make sure that it was leveled so that water would be directed away from our house (note that we started this whole mess in an attempt to get the water OUT of the basement). I think our second layer was actually about 3-4″, but it was leveled and compacted by about 4pm on Saturday (took about 4 hours). By then, we were sick of the project. Oh, and it looked like it was going to rain.

Barley naps while Jason pours the base layer.

Jason compacts the base layer.

Necessary nourishment.

Leveling out the second base layer so that water will head away from the basement instead of into it.

Jason condenses the second base layer, while Barley follows him.

We laid down sand in small segments and “screed”-ed it. Which means that we lined up two 1″ pipes on either side of the path and pulled a wood board across them until the sand between them was flat. Jason was mostly in charge of that operation, while I started laying pavers. We managed to get about halfway down the path along our house before it got too dark to see what we were doing.

Jason “screeding”.

Finally! Ready to lay bricks!

On Sunday, Jason screeded more sand, and I laid more pavers. From about 9am-4pm. And it was so humid and the forecast was calling for some serious thunderstorms… so we were just waiting for the rain to come. Surprisingly, it didn’t rain at all. (As I was watching the news later that night, the radar showed storms all around us and a little line of calm over our house all afternoon. So amazing.)

More screeding and brick laying.

The plastic wrap over the pathway… it threatened to rain all day Sunday, but we were lucky that it did not.

We quit at 4 to fix the dryer. The old gas dryer that was left in the house quit working about 3 weeks ago. NOTHING IN MY HOUSE IS CLEAN. It was starting to smell like dirty dog up in here, so I am SO SO SO glad that JT fixed the dryer situation. In order to use the electric dryer that we moved from Kentucky (I am SO SO SO glad we moved that beast), JT had to install a new circuit, new breaker, and new plug for it. I also lent a hand by standing next to him with a wood board, prepared to smack him if he got electrocuted. But he didn’t, and I was nice and didn’t smack him anyways and say, “oh, it looked like you were getting electrocuted” which I thought about doing once or twice. Or even 3 times.

Jason and the service panel.

JT then disconnected the old gas dryer, and it smelled a little like gas. The gas has since dissipated, but if you stick your nose up by the end of the pipe, you can still smell a little gas. Is this normal? (Dad, Uncle Brian, anyone else out there who is handy? HELP. I DON’T WANT TO EXPLODE IN MY SLEEP.) We’ve got the basement windows open anyways, and Jason notes, “We haven’t died yet.” So that’s where we’re at.

Our dryer. So nice and shiney!

***Insert Tangent Involving My Underwear (you’ve been forewarned)***

Remember how I went to that massage on Friday? And also how our dryer has been out of commission for the last 3 weeks? Yes, I am totally scraping the bottom of the barrel for underwear. And the only “suitable” ones I could find were given to me for Christmas by my Grandma. They are super-cute! And I love them! They have a little monkey on them and say, “Paul Frank is your friend” across the butt. Which is SO FUN! Except, I’m twenty-seven and not fourteen, and sometimes I like to fake like I’m sophisticated, for example, WHEN I GO INTO A SALON FOR A MASSAGE. So basically, I am not that cool. Hey massuse! Paul Frank is your friend!

Anyways, I am still trying to figure out what was worse: my I-am-twenty-seven-going-on-fourteen underwear, or the fact that I made her rub my stinky, dirty, blistered feet.

***End Tangent (blog is safe to read again)***

Okay, so where was I? Oh yes. Sunday. Evening. Jeff and Andrea invited us to go to dinner with two of their friends who happen to live about a block away from us. We were tired, but decided we could use a break, and also thought it would be fun to meet other friends in our neighborhood. We hit up Pizza Biga and Pumphouse Creamery (both within walking distance from our house, and both were delicious!), then we headed over to Buster’s for some drinks. It was a fun night, and we were home by 11pm. Just my style.

And you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of the saga!  Stay tuned!

May 27, 2008 at 9:26 pm 4 comments


September 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  

Recent Posts