Um, things have been okay. Dad took Friday off and has Monday off already, so it's 4 straight days of hardcore yardwork (with jackhammers!) (really!).
Yesterday was kinda shot because we batted all day with an undiagnosed sprinkler problem. Three units stopped for no discernible reason, so we worked all day trying to figure out what caused it...the computer, the switches, the plumbing, or the electrical connections. We had to pull the lattice off the front of the porch to get at the buried pipe boxes (under the porch) and relocate some flowers. Dad found a slug in a ball valve and had been contemplating the possibility of a heinous slug-ball blocking a pipe, but no such luck. He did however, manhandle the pipes in such a way that they broke in a very awkward place, necessitating a trip to the hardware store for more fittings and sticking us with constructing a new apparatus entirely. Refitting a new pipe apparatus under a porch in a dirty dirt hole with pipes that are seeping water is hard.
After fixing that and pulling up some sod, getting the sprinklers to turn on and having trouble turning them off, we found out the electrical sensors on the sprinkler controls had burned out, so they wouldn't respond to our computer commands. We replaced them and cleaned up our mess, and that was the day.
Today was much more creative and fun. We borrowed a trailer and made three trips to Alpine Rockeries to choose pieces of basalt to line the new paths we're laying in the backyard (to replace our ugly and awkward concrete aggregate steping stones. The new path will be laid with rectangular tumbled stones in a bed of crushed rock, but that has to be lined with a row of rocks on each side to prevent the crushed rock from oozing outward over time. Dad and I lugged the first load of rocks out and fitted them together and dug them in, then carried the second and third loads to their places, but we won't fit them until tomorrow. Then we got a yard of crushed rock at the nursery (everything is closed tomorrow and we wanted to be ready) and rented a jackhammer.
The jackhammer is to break up the concrete path that runs parallel to the workshop so we can replace it with the new path. I felt a bit of a pang at this, since that path is one of the only remaining features of the yard of my childhood, and has been there since before my parents moved in in 1976. Acutally, considering how much we've remodeled, it was one of the only things that Dad hadn't touched. We broke up some of it this evening. I'd never used a jackhammer before. It wasn't as hard as I thought, but it's not much fun either. It's loud and jarring (obviously) and the vibrations make my skin itch. You know you've hit an unyielding point when the hammer stops moving and you start moving up and down. Plus, the path is reinforced with rebar, which complicates things.
We'll be working on the path through Monday. Then I'll probably work hard all next week in an effort to convince my Dad to let me off a few days the week after that. I'm thinking about visiting some friends up north. My potential plan was to drive to Bellingham on the 12th and visit bluemoonshark, llellewyn, and finally meet shawnaduck, stay overnight if they like me, and then maybe leave my car there and ask my friend Jessica, from the Greatness Project, to come down from Blaine and drive to Vancouver together. She's already offered to drive me up (I don't want to drive in Vancouver) and Brian will let me stay at his home. It would be really nice to see all of them, and talk about life in general. I'd probably leave Vancouver on the 15th, pick up my car in Bellingham (or maybe I could leave it at Jessica's place in Blaine...hmm) and drive home in time to go see the LOTR concert with naruvonwilkins the following night.
Of course, I haven't talked over these plans with anyone at all, so I don't know how well this will work. We'll see.