Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Taming the Wilderness

I have a new Summer project. I want a patio in my backyard. To be specific, I want an all-natural flagstone patio. When my children move out of the house and I no longer have nightmares about them drowning, I’ll put in a stone water feature and rock-wall that curves appealingly around the patio. But for this year, I want the patio.

Hal has gone on strike, and this is my problem. In theory, I could build the patio myself. In practice, I don’t think I can single-handedly lift 4 tons of flagstone, which is what the expert rock people said I would need to cover the area I want. In theory, I’ve seen plenty of HGTV shows with the couple digging out, leveling, laying gravel, weed block, sand and finally, the flagstone. It takes them a weekend. There are contests with prizes such as a new grill. There are friends who drop by to lend muscle, to eat pizza, to nod their heads sagely as they contemplate the many hours of peaceful dialogue they will have with the homeowners around the new patio.

Did I mention that Hal is completely, 100%, absolutely, refusing to move flagstone for me? I considered hiring the neighborhood teens to do it. I may still do that. But, suddenly, with no help from Hal (usually, his “help” turns into him doing it all, which may have something to do with his lack of enthusiasm now), I find myself thinking that I can’t do it at all. Who am I to think that I can shovel 400 square feet of dirt just to level the area for the patio? What, am I Cro-Magnon woman, come to defend the clan against the enemy? No. I am Flabby Middle-Aged Housewife who looks at decorator magazines a little too often. I am a woman with 4 children, a huge garden, and more projects than brains.

I tried convincing my dad to come spend a week “helping.” I think Hal warned him. As I recall, the conversation went something like this:

“Hey, Dad, since you’re finished with your backyard, maybe you’d like to...”

(Interrupted by convulsive laughter. Long, long interruption.)

“Like I was saying, maybe you could come work on my...”
(More laughter. You get the picture.)

If I ever get it finished, or even started, I’ll take pictures. In the meantime, if you know anyone who needs a good workout, I’ve got an open air gym with no start-up fee and low monthly dues. They just need to know how to move rock.