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Kids and Construction Projects

I've long known that when moving to a new place, the quickest way to get to know your neighbors is to have kids. This works even better if your neighbors have kids, too.

In the absence of kids, construction projects can be useful.

Driveway Guy dropped off eight cubic yards of loam earlier today. Right about that same time, a couple of business things came up. They took most of the afternoon, but eventually I changed into grubby work clothes, tied my hair back, pulled on gloves, and started the job of spreading said loam along the edges of 275 feet of driveway. My tools? A shovel and a wheelbarrow. Oomph.

After seven loads from the pile at the bottom of the driveway, I took the empty wheelbarrow up to the much larger pile at the top. I'd asked Driveway Guy to leave about three-quarters of it up there under the theory that it's easier to push a full wheelbarrow down a hill than up it. Four more loads later, and my next door neighbor, Ed, came to investigate just what the dogs were still barking at. I was reassured to hear he'd had to do the same thing -- spread dirt and plant grass -- when he had his flat driveway paved.

A few minutes later, Ed offered to bring over his quad bike and trailer. Instead of shoveling a wheelbarrow-load at a time, rolling it down the hill, and dumping it all in one motion, we'd fill the trailer, take a lot more dirt partway down the hill with each trip, and shovel it out from there. It meant more shoveling, but faster work overall. And it saved 50 or more trips walking up and down the driveway with a full-then-empty wheelbarrow.

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It also meant I wasn't the only one working. Ed wracked up his back a year or more ago, but he soon had a shovel and was having at it right along with me. Until his wife, Juda, came out. She had more enforcement power about not hurting himself than I did, but she also pitched right in. I wasn't surprised to hear she's a former weightlifter. But the third trailer-load, I was tuckered. She kept encouraging me to take breaks while she kept going. "I'm just getting started," she said. "You've already been at it awhile."

When we were finished spreading that load, I headed to the house for some water. As luck would have it, I had IBC Tangerine Cream soda on hand, one of Ed's favorites. I was also pleased to be able to cut several small chunks of Swedish limpa bread, just three hours out of the breadmaker. I took the refreshments up, tried to call a bit more of a break, then went back to shoveling.

I forget whether we finished two or three more loads before I called it quits for today. Juda claimed she's going to come back over tomorrow and spread more loam while I'm visiting kip_w and malibrarian and enjoying the honor of attending Sarah's dance recital. Juda's right; I can't stop her. But I'm gobsmacked and more than a tad discomfited by the notion of my neighbors doing the work for me when I'm physically able to do it myself. Their help today was awesome. We accomplished more than three times as much as I would have managed in the same time on my own. And it was good just getting to know them better. I'll gladly take their help again when they see me outside working on it over the next few days. It looks like the weather is not going to be on my side. Brutally hot'n'humid Sunday, possibility of thundershowers Monday and Tuesday, and maybe more rain on Thursday. What are the chances I'll be able to buy grass seed, landscape cloth, and straw, and get it all down it time for it to all be washed away? Or should I let just the dirt be washed away, fill it back in, and start from there?

What I do know is that if I wait until after the rain, the remaining loam...and there's lots of it piled high....will be that much heavier and harder to shovel. So I think I'd best get up in the morning and hope I'm not too stiff to continue the shoveling and spreading work then.

For my next trick tonight, I'll shower the dirt and sweat off, then likely indulge in a Lush bath. Hmm...Avobath or The Happy Pill? Or maybe a Black Pearl because I really could use a pearl of wisdom along with smooth skin right now.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
You know what the payment is...right?

You get to help shovel their loam in a few weeks. ;)
Jun. 17th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
It's fantastic to have good neighbors. :)
Jun. 17th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
I haven't managed to try a LUSH bath yet, but I note they have stores at the Orlando airport and Florida Mall in Orlando, and our new house has a roman tub in the master, so I'm looking forward to it after hearing you and Deb talk about it.
Jun. 17th, 2006 04:38 am (UTC)
That's great! Sounds like a barbecue dinner is in order. It's so wonderful to have good neighbors.
Jun. 17th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
Yeah You! I'm tired just reading about your experience, but then again, I was piling boxes up vertically on solid shelving in my room, half way done! Tomorrow I will be at it again, and Dave will be shampooing the rugs so they'll be fresh for August.
I have been addicted to LUSH cosmetics for many years after discovering them either in London, or Victoria B.C. My favorite Bombs are Titsy Tosty, and Butterball (hmmmmm, chocolate!).
A few years back, while on our way to the preview of Wicked in SF, we walked past the unmistakable scent of LUSH, I turned around and there was a store!!
We had stumbled upon the first US store that had just opened at that time. I'm so glad they're growing here in the US, but then again, it was fun everytime we went to a "commonwealth" area, I looked up where the nearest store was! Enjoy your bath!
Jun. 17th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
The problem with Lush is that as soon as you find a product that you truly like in every way and consider nearly indispensible, they'll quit making it. I have all but given up on Lush. The heartbreak isn't worth it.

K. [former Lush user of at least 6 products that are no longer available, and no: I am not falling for that idiot "vote for your discontinued fave!!!" thing that they're running now, because I am certain that I will be disappointed]
Jun. 17th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. However, we can usually get something that they have discontinued online, rather than in the store. The salespeople are usually very helpful in finding something at least similar, or "improved" on the product they discontinued. I still use "Freeze" even though it isn't in the storefront anymore. I love walking into a LUSH store, just to breathe deep. It is one of the most decadent and wonderful simple pleasures I have.
Jun. 18th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
I'm glad someone I know adores walking into a LUSH store and taking a deep breath. My own reaction is to hold mine before I open the door of the Newbury Street store in Boston. I find the aroma so overpowering that I can barely stand to walk through the door. The Heathrow store was better because it was open on at least two sides, and there was plenty of air mixed in from the rest of the terminal.

Yes, I know I can order online and avoid scent problems all together. I don't know why that doesn't appeal to me -- I do enjoy reading the online reviews, and do a lot of product research before store visits, but I also like seeing the actual product I'm buying. Maybe it's the little individual differences, or the impulse discoveries. Or something. I'm sure it's something!

Jun. 18th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
Sorry. That was me, responding to dinogrl and minnehaha, too. I think I'm logged in for good again now!
Jun. 18th, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC)
It is the only store I can do this, that is why I love it so. I am highly sensitive to fragrance, and get an instant headache to most. LUSH is the only place I can walk into that doesn't affect me.
Jun. 19th, 2006 03:44 am (UTC)
Fascinating! And way neat, too.
Jun. 18th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, I had that happen with the energizing foot powder I bought from the Lush store at Heathrow airport and used at ConJose. They still make Angels on Bare Skin, though. I bought some during my big Lush run in early May. Every time I use it, I think of you and the wonderful instructions you wrote to go with the sample you gave me back in the way back. Thanks!

Thanks, too, for the reminder not to get too dependent on any of their products. Budget considerations alone should help me with that, but the bath bombs seem to be my downfall, and the bubble bars could well be my next one.
Jun. 17th, 2006 10:06 am (UTC)
You're 100% right about getting to know your neighbors through your kids. Most of our neighbors have school age (or younger) children. We don't (though Leslie still lives with us, she's working a contract that looks like it's on its way to being permanent, so she might be off on her own soon).

When we were putting in our mailbox about six weeks ago (after we'd closed, but before we moved in) I was stunned by the amount of help our new neighbors gave us. We'd brought the wrong tools with us, but people came by, chatted, and lent us the right tools.

Since we've moved in, though, we've hardly talked to our neighbors, except for a guy on one side.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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