Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Gravel Truck Got Stuck in Our Driveway AGAIN.

Sooooo guess how getting that second load of gravel turned out? Ha ha right. I know that many of you will not recall the FIRST time this happened, but lets just say it sucked ass and the driver had to call two separate people and get two separate pieces of equipment to pull him out and then he refused to take the driveway ever again.

And of course it was the same driver.

Because when you combine his shitty luck and my shitty luck terrible things happen.

Except this time we just pulled him out with the goddamned backhoe so he could totally pretend that he hadn't gotten stuck this time if he wanted to. Of course this was still happening back when the front bucket hoses were still shot so we had to move the gravel by hand for a bit like a peasant because, and I don't know if I have made this clear enough, we have to be able to get the septic guy down the road THIS YEAR or we are all fucked.

And I mean like, super duper fucked. Not just regular fucked.

Which was then that Scott revealed that he kinda thought this might happen because we hadn't packed the gravel down and I was all like you have to pack gravel down? And he was all like yes. And I was all like WHY DOES NO ONE TELL ME THESE THINGS!? And Scott was all like, large gravel was your idea and this is how you told me to fix this AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WE HAVE TO PACK IT DOWN!? And then I was all like, WE AREN'T COMBINING OUR POWERS WELL HERE!

And then I yelled WITH OUR POWERS COMBINED and thrust my hand into the sky just like motherfucking Capitan Planet and then Scott just looked at me like I was crazy and then I was all like, WITH THE POWER OF HEART and he just looked at me and I was like you never really had a childhood did you? And he was all like, lets just start shoveling gravel okay?

And then I vowed that one night after he went to bed I was going to sneak a Capitan Planet poster into his office.

Of course this would all be happening right after I did a monster job at work and my back was all like, really, you're kidding me with this? And I was all like, no. And then it shot shooting pains down one leg or the other until I was ready to kill it with fire because I am still pretending that I didn't injure any of the disks this spring even though it's getting really hard to lie to myself like that which is why I have been playing a lot of point and click adventure games in the evening.


After my back was all like, ha ha no I wasn't kidding and I had to sit down after every wheelbarrow load because exhaustion is a thing that can happen and it's a goddamned bitch we got the backhoe running and then we proceeded to kick some ass.

Moving gravel with the backhoe was like going at light speed after trying to get to the nearest star by paddling your arms. So we moved a crap ton of gravel around with the bucket, although it was kind of annoying because it kept shoving some of the gravel off the road so we had to rake it back on. Which was a motherfucking adventure. Remember how I told you that shoveling large gravel was a pain in the ass because trying to push your shovel into it was like hitting a wall made of large chunks of rock? Well the same thing happens when you rake it. So I would get the rake and try to pull the gravel towards me and it would roll maybe five pieces forward and then one of the hunks would wedge itself into the tines and I would have to beat the damn thing on the ground to knock it loose. While meanwhile Scott would have raked like ten feet of driveway and would be moving on to something else because he is the rake whisperer or someshit.

Large chunk gravel hates me, is what I am saying.

But in the end we got the gravel where it fucking needed to go and scraped the edges of the road, which are supposed to be LOWER then the road surface. And then we stood back to admire it and I resisted the urge to start singing the Captain Planet theme song.

 It's a driveway again! Kinda. Mostly.

So in the end nature couldn't keep us down. Though we still need to add another ditch and put in a cement grate to funnel water off the road so that we can stop the water from using our tire tracks as a stream. But at least we got back on track, even if I had to do it by repairing the track by hand with a wheelbarrow and swearing a whole lot.

Captain Planet would be so proud.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Backhoe Repair Guy Reappears. Fixes Backhoe. Nobody Dies.

So a few of you may remember the reason we were shoveling gravel around by hand like peasants was because a hydraulic line on King the backhoe was leaking and we realized we were going to have to fix it. Or more correctly call someone to fix it for us. So we (and by we I mean Scott) called Mr. I-don't-talk-much-and-have-all-the-right-knowledge-tools-and-equipment. Whom you might remember as the guy who put the inner tube in the tire for us after we failed like the goddamned kings of failure town.

So Mr. Quiet Bitter Backhoe Guy shows up this afternoon and he did his magic less talking more working trick and took the hose lines off. We had debated doing this ourselves, but we didn't really know how to depressurize the system and we were afraid of having hydraulic fluid spraying out of the machine and doing that double whammy where it cuts you open at the same time as forcing hydraulic fluid into your tissues like a poisoned dagger made of pressure and your own stupidity. So we paid him to do it.

Since he was least likely to die in the driveway from fucking this up.

Then he of course filled us in about a few other things that we may need to fix and then he told us how much it was going to cost to get more two foot long hydraulic hoses and then I blacked out into a world where everything was open and empty and clean and then I came to and Scott was all like, lets replace all four lines and I though “oh boy nothing like eating peanut butter sandwiches for lunch everyday for forever. Awesome.”

Also I have to point out that a backhoe has like, a shitton way more hoses then four, these were just the worst four. Because ha ha we don't need money to live ha ha no. So then he caps off the lines with these nifty screw on caps but then he didn't have enough and he just plugged the lines with clean rags that looked like the clothes his kids had out grown cut into squares. Then he got back into his truck and told us he would be back to install the hoses later today when he got them made and left us standing in the driveway looking at King the backhoe with is new bright fabric plugs in every color that made him look like the most festive non-working backhoe ever.

I should also point out that we were both splattered with black paint because we had been painting the solar kiln black and I was dressed in pants two sizes too big for me and a neon green tank top I got at the good will. Since you know, dressing up to paint things with enamel paint is stupid and of course Mr. Backhoe was dressed in a reasonably tight fitting T-shirt and some nice jeans because of course when attractive men in my age group come to my house I always look like a colorblind hobo.

Every. Damn. Time.

Anywho. Moving on, Mr. Backhoe Guy showed back up after a while and put the hoses back on and tried to walk Scott how to fix the leak in the boom arm while Scott got more progressively alarmed as the instructions got more and more technical and then I watched his eyes glaze when Mr. Backhoe got to the part about pulling the chrome rod out of the arm and replacing the seals in the cylinder and then Scott was all like, I'll have you do that. In the future. Yes. Not me. You. And Mr. Backhoe didn't say anything because he doesn't really talk except to transmit important information. You know, like you do. Well he got the hoses back on and they did black magic things and tested the air and got the air out of the lines somehow. Possibly with voodoo.

Backhoe voodoo. 

So then it came time to pay him and then, in a fit of inspiration Scott asks if he wants my dad's old welder that we don't have the power to run. And then they go look at it and then he says he could use it and then they load it up into his truck and then he knocks 75$ off the bill and then Scott pays him with his credit card using that app for smart phones because WE ARE TRULY LIVING IN THE FUTURE. Which is not something I would ever expect to see from someone in Buttfucksnowheresville WV but whatever.

Shine on you crazy backhoe fixing diamond is what I am trying to say.

So then he drove away and then we walked back to the house and Scott's phone binged and it was his electronic receipt and then I called my robot butler to bring me some tea and then I realized that we weren't that far in the future. Really though, even if we were I would never be able to afford one because I am kinda poor. Although this is probably lucky because then the robot butler couldn't kill us in our sleep all Skynet style.

Which made me feel better about my life. You know, the lack of robot murder.

Although that robo-butler would have been pretty damn sweet.

Probably wouldn't be able to move gravel worth a shit though.

Eh, I'll stick with the backhoe.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting Stuff Fixed by Other People For a Change.

So you know how I have been referring to this year as the Year Everything Broke? You know, because the washer died twice and the fuel oil furnace quit running, and then the car died, and now two hydraulic lines on the backhoe are leaking, the driveway got obliterated, the cats eyeballs went to shit, and the water heater has a slow leak that I have been ignoring except now it's starting to smell weird over there, and my keyboard stopped working and then that little scoller thing on my mouse died and now I have to scroll like a peasant?

So yeah.

Well, in an attempt to stop the flood of things dieing around me like I was in a True Crime Novel we had called a furnace repair guy. So he shows up in his truck about noon. I missed his grand entrance because the dog needed to be walked, but when I arrived back in the house and wrestled the dog into his crate and reassured him that the man in the hallway with all the tools was not about to come over and murder me in cold blood while also maybe turning into a vampire or a were-repair-guy or someshit, I got a good look at him.

I suppose I had expected your standard fixing-shit-guy. You know late 20s to early 40s, bitter about life, either quiet as shit or super talkative we may never get him out of the house but it would be cool to have a beer with this guy sometime and hear the end of the story about when his drunk cousin tried to water ski on the snow while being towed by a 4 ton pick up sort of person.

What I got was a calm older guy who looked like Colonel Sanders with a beard instead of a goatee. He had on a really nice dress shirt and was impeccably groomed. He did not look like the kind of person who drove around in a truck all day working on heaters. He looked like the kind of guy who might try to sell the extra maintenance plan on the car you were buying.

I mostly stayed out of his way, drinking tea and trying to avoid going out and shoveling a shit ton of gravel by hand. Occasionally he would call Scott over, and in his pleasant calm insurance man voice he would explain to Scott something about how the furnace worked. It wasn't until he had disassembled it, cleaned about oh 4 inches of rust and filth out of the exhaust that he walked into our kitchen and handed Scott a super broken super fucked up metal part and told us that was probably causing the problem. Then he put the thing back together with new filters and then he showed us where someone had adjusted the furnace to run with more fuel and less air to make a bigger flame, which he pointed out was useless and stupid.

And then Scott and me exchanged a look and Scott said something bland about it probably being the former owner, which was my dad, and then I had a vivid flashback to one of my dad's stories about moving into a mobile home during college/trade school and being too cold and taking the fuel oil furnace completely apart to “make it run better” and nearly burning the whole damn structure to the ground and having to flee the place with his roommate and standing out in the driveway with his landlord in the bitter winter night waiting to see if all there shit was about to be engulfed in flames.

So then I decided this guy was worth all the money we were paying him times a thousand.

So then he got it running and it was like a million times quieter and then he told us what part to buy if it was still shutting off prematurely and how to install it and then we paid him and he left and then I felt super good about not freezing to death this winter and everything.

You know, sometimes it really is the small things.

Like not freezing to death.

Or having your mobile home burn to the ground because your father thought that bigger flames meant more heat forever.

Like you do.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Building the Solar Kiln.

So today in a fit of can do spirit we started on the solar kiln. Scott drew up two plans, and then we argued over the merits of each one and then we picked the one that looked the most complicated to build because of course we did. Then Scott went to town to pick up the plywood we would need and some cat food because there would be no way to build this without Tom Tom Tiger trying to sleep on it and then I took the dog for a walk and then Scott got back and then we got the plans and got started.

First we built the floor and then the floor support thingamajigs and then there was a whole lot of cutting old boards from the barn into the right thickness. Of course the plan mostly existed in Scott's head, with a token out of perspective drawing propped up on the front of the blazer that doesn't run right now because this is the country and we have to have at least one vehicle that doesn't work.

So for me I spent a lot of time measuring old barn boards and bringing them up and then we put things together that I had no idea what they were other then rectangles because Scott was the undisputed leader and I can tell you right now that is possible to mark, measure and screw together boards without the slightest idea what you are putting together.

Eventually though to begin to make sense.

The final structure will be a trapezoid, with one long angled wall that will lift up to allow us to load it with logs. Also there will need to some sort of rack or something that keeps the logs from touching because air flow or log cooties or some shit. I dunno this is Scott's brain child because my plan of coating the logs in preserver was a big fat fucking failure.

Whatever, I am over that now. Here have a picture:

So these will make a trapezoid. Somehow. Possibly with magic. And I am sure this will all make sense in the next post. Or maybe it won't and the whole thing will catch on fire and we will agree never to speak of this again. 


So we built the main walls and then realized that we were missing key bits like hinges and adhesive and the energy left to give a damn so we quit for the day and just hoped that we didn't have to go anywhere in a hurry because without really intending to we had blocked in our car with carpentry.

It happens.

Anyway now all that's left is to build the end pieces and the fiddly shit and then we, uh, do whatever else that needs to happen that I don't know about because this is all in Scott's brain and I can't read minds.

Well I can't really read minds. We have been married long enough I can kinda do it, but mostly I end up reading shit like “This person is weirding me out right now please save me or call my phone or text me or something” and “I hope that movie I bought is good and I am fantasizing about what I want it to be right now instead of what I am supposed to be doing” and “I think what you are doing is stupid but I don't want to hurt your feelings so I am going to try not to involve myself or say anything” and “I am thinking through this problem and the solution is evading me because it's a dick like that” and “I just woke up what are you talking about/what's going on/it's too early for information” and “wow I am like super bored right now” and “I'm hungry but I don't know what I want to eat -are you eating anything good right now? But I can't look too interested because then you will think I am judging you and you will think you are fat even though you are not fat because we just like shoveled a shit ton of gravel around.”

Unfortunately I can't read building plans out of his head. Or anybodies head. Or even if I could that would suck because it would be, like the worst kind of super power ever and I don't think that it would stop any crimes. I don't even think that I could use it to be a super villain because I am pretty sure that architecture spying isn't even a real thing. Even though I kinda wish it was because then The Fountainhead would have been like a million times better and probably contained less rape.

And also more super villains. Architecture super villains.

Also I forgot what we were talking about. Oh right the solar kiln. We are building one. And it's not even evil.

That I know of.

For all I know it could be plotting against us right now.

Probably not though.

I haven't detected that “I'm making this structure into a living embodiment of pure evil” vibe from Scott yet. Stick around though because we are not done and we might end up dousing this thing in holy water while yelling about the spirit of Christ.


It could happen.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Drying the Logs and a Solar Kiln.

So the latest news in our saga of getting logs for the house involves some mold. Namely that we live in a goddamned swamp and almost and all of the logs I had debarked were molding. So then we sprayed them with bleach, which promptly made them look like ass. So then we sanded and scraped the dead mold super bleached layers off and treated the logs with a sealer.

And they kept on molding.

 Pictured: failure.

 So then I freaked out a little bit because these fuckers are going to have to last for like, years until we can put them in the damn house where they belong. Of course at this point I felt like I was out of options because I had never thought to buy a book about building with logs because I was making a stone house and it would have never occurred to me before now that the more logs we cut down and drag out of the forest the less money we will have to spend on lumber. Even though books about log cabins probably would not have helped me anyways because they assume you are buying already treated and dried lumber because all of those are written for people with money and shit. And it's also a moot point because we just poured like 400$ into the driveway because nature and culvert pipes can be real assholes.

So then Scott stepped up to the plate, using things like the WV agriculture extension office and pointed out that what we really needed was a kiln for drying lumber. And I pointed out that we were, like poor. And then he pointed out that we could build a solar kiln. And then I was all like YES! The sun is good and free!

The only problem was that most the plans called for fancy things like, not starting this project this late in the season and it might need fans and floor drains and junk. So we argued and made plans to skip building it this season and wrap the logs individually like they were cigars in the most ghetto attempt ever to stop the demon mold. Of course at this juncture Scott pointed out that we only had light blue heavy plastic to wrap them in and I pointed out that this was just like baking and I didn't think we could substitute that many ingredients and steps and still come out with a dried mold free log. Since at that point I think this whole plan would have been more like trying to make bread by taking powered sugar and mixing it with lard and then hitting it with a rolling pin and putting it in the sun and expecting a nice sour dough.

So after coming to our senses we then went to price heavy duty black plastic and I had I minor cardiac event and then we were like maybe we should not waste any of this and just go ahead and make the whole damn kiln. Of course this also means that we have to make it storeable because expecting it and its plastic covered surfaces to survive the winter would be like expecting one of those hairless cats to survive just fine outside on your vacation to the north pole for Christmas.

It ain't gonna make it, is what I am saying.

So stay tuned for our exciting adventure building a solar kiln and swearing and getting splinters and me getting more sawdust down my chest and having my living room invaded by battery chargers and sandpaper and screws and bolts and tape measures and gloves because my living room clearly = shed.

Not that I am bitter or anything.

And normally I would say something about how mobile homes suck and we are going to be building that house except that is exactly what we are trying to do right now and somehow that still seems kinda remote even though it shouldn't but whatever because life is complicated like that.

You know what else is complicated?

Solar kilns.

Solar kilns and life, man.

Solar kilns and life.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fixing the Driveway, the Graveling.

Today, oh sweet Jesus, today we re-graveled the driveway. By hand. With a wheelbarrow. Ha ha yeah. Everything is pain now. Anyway after realizing that putting dirt back into the holes was useless, because like yeah, there is no way that filling the ruts with a bunch of dirt after the soil that was there ended up in the fucking creek was a bad idea, Scott went ahead and ordered a bunch of large gravel.

Since you know, all of the small gravel has probably been washed into the next county.

So this morning the truck full of gravel showed up, and of course it was the same driver who had gotten stuck in the driveway the last time he delivered here and seemed to be immensely relieved that he could really only dump at the top. Of course after seeing the fucking canyons the water had etched into the earth I really don't think he will be very keen on driving down the driveway in the future.

Unfortunately with the gravel at the very top and the road looking like a creek bed we had to move the gravel by hand because there was no way to get the backhoe to the pile. Also this was my first time working with large gravel and I learned several key things. One, it hated my fucking shovel. I mean like, really a whole lot hated it. Like all the demons of hate were hating it up in here. With the little gravel it just sort of slides onto your shovel. With the big gravel I would get my shovel a forth of the way into the pile before it would stop dead. Then I would have to do the thing where you shimmy the shovel up and down to get to fill. Of course that may sound okay for the first few times, but around lunch time my body was all like WTF are you doing to me?

The second thing being that you cannot rake large gravel. I mean like, at all. The rake would just, slide over the fucking surface while the gravel laughed at me. Like, 'oh you wanted to level me out!? Well no way motherfucker ha ha ha ha!' The third thing was that the ruts were deeper then they looked and for a while it seemed like I was dumping shit heavy wheelbarrow loads into some sort of interdementional vortex.

Also I had woken up with my back doing that thing where it doesn't hurt exactly, but it sends shooting pains down my right leg. Possibly in an attempt to punish me for my sins.

My back sins.

Anyway after spending all of the morning on this project, and watching the ruts eat gravel like candy, we realized the grim truth. We were going to need another dump truck full of gravel. You know another 200$ dump truck full of gravel. Nothing like eating spaghetti and sandwiches every meal, am I right?

I mean, it's not like we were trying to build a house or anything. You know, it's not like we were trying to get the guys in here to put in a septic system and totally getting and storing logs for the house. I mean it's not like this has all come to a screeching halt during the best weather ever for those projects. I mean it's not like we were planning on digging a foundation or clearing the house site and marking it anytime soon. I mean it's not like I can hear the ticking of that terrible clock counting down the minutes until the icy depths of winter. It's not like I still have to get firewood and go to work or do anything else during this time.

I mean, it's not like I have to spend another day moving gravel around with a motherfucking wheelbarrow and a shovel while watching my other projects sitting around mocking me with there presence.

Ha ha ha no.

It's not like I am bitter that this was as far as 200$ worth of gravel made it and it looks like the rest of the driveway was attacked by a very hungry rockbiter.

 200$ I really can't stress that enough.

So anyway I think I have to stop typing because my hands feel all weird and I think I drank too much caffeine in order to type this even though I still want to lay face down on my floor and close my eyes.

Which is not really how I pictured spending my evening. You know, face down on the carpet like a drunken hobo, but eh I got to roll with the punches.

The floor punches.

So if you need me, you know where to look.

Friday, August 2, 2013

So Half my Driveway is Gone Now.

So today, or well yesterday by the time you read this, was the day that I discovered that most of the driveway was gone. Let me explain. No, no there is to much- let me sum up.

First off I had to get up at 2am in order to go to work. Which was too damn early really. It was when we were pulling out of our primary driveway that we noticed a sign near the secondary drive way (the driveway to the future house site) that said ominously “high water.” So then we went to work and did work things and we got home at about 3pm. Which is when we noticed the road crew out working in front of the second driveway.

Which is when Scott went over to see if our retaining wall had survived the waters. Which is when he discovered this.

 Ha ha ha FUCK.

Then of course he came back to tell me and of course I was busy doing farm things and had cat puke all down my front from Emoticon who is still in the house and very unhappy about that.

Vomitingly unhappy apparently.

So then I walked over chanting my war chant under my breath. Which at the time consisted of me going “it can't be that bad it can't be that bad” until I got there and it was that bad.

 Why god why!?

Then Scott was all like, it was their storm drain that backed up they should give us free gravel. And then I was all like, yeah that could work. Cause after buying fuel oil and paying my property taxes I was the most broke ass girl in Broke Town. So then Scott called up the county and they told him to talk to the foreman of the road crews and he might be able to fill it with some dirt. Except he was out somewhere fixing the roads. Because of course by the time we got back out there the road crew had gone. Timing- we has it.

So then the only thing we could do was hop in the car and start driving down back country lanes looking for those fuckers. Just picture a montage of decaying barns, mobile homes, ATVs and pretend bridges, beautiful mountain forests and rolling country meadows and you'll have it. Well, also there was a house with a full size dumpster outside that they were just filling with trash. So there was that too. Also it looked like the dumpster had been there since the Reagen administration. The trash too. You know, I mean, if you already have the dumpster...

I'm sure it just smelled lovely on hot days.

Combine that with the guy I saw walking alone the road at 3am holding a dead skunk and looking like the back half of the 70s had hit him and you have a pretty accurate picture of what happens when you start driving down back country roads all random like.

Unfortunately we never found the guys. We even drove down to the road service depot thing with the giant hill of gravel in the back and knocked but there was nobody there. My theory is that they were some sort of Kurt Vonnegut road crew and had temporarily slipped into another dimension while we were searching for them.

Because Killgore Trout is a dick like that.

Anyway then there was nothing left to do but return home and stare at our new miniature grand canyon. Of course we then realized that our plan to get more house trees, or hell do anything with the house had come to a screeching halt because the backhoe was down one driveway and the truck down the other.

Ha ha ha of fucking course.

So now we pretty much have a chasm with the backhoe on one side and the truck on the other. Totally like that one part in Land Before Time where the ground just heaved like a motherfucker and Little Foot lost his grandparents and I totally lost my shit and cried like a little girl. Except this time I am totally an adult and I didn't cry because I still might be able to get the county to fill that and my grandparents are not stuck across a chasm next to the promised land.

Despite it all though there was one shinning and glorious piece of good luck, and that was that the retaining wall survived. Despite the fact that a massive shit fuck ton of water was pouring over it.

Boo ya motherfuckers.

 So then we had dinner and I said that I bet that storm drain was all like, “oh you had wants and dreams Holly, well NOT ANY MORE HA HA HA! I had dreams too once and now look at me I am a fucking storm drain. This ain't what mama wanted fer me. Oh if only my mama could see me now it would break her pore ol' heart. That's what it would do.”

And then Scott told me that the stress was probably getting to me and suggested I watch a movie instead. And then I was all like, I should write a movie about a tormented storm drain that was haunted by it's own failure and took it out on everyone and everything around him.

Which probably means that I should go to bed soon.

I would totally name that movie something sweet though. Like, Under a Road Too Far or Tormented Underground or Turbulent Waters of A Damned and Corrugated Soul.

I mean like instant best sellers right? Right?

I mean like the stress totally isn't getting to me.

At all. Nope. Not me.

Oooooh oh! How about, Failure and Rust in the Eye of the Storm? Yeah!? YEAH!?

I'm telling you.

Oscar worthy.