Friday, October 5, 2007

Hot weather and Cement 6-30-2007

Hot Weather and Cement
Saturday, June 30, 2007

Debbie and I did our morning walk in Northport so we could splurge and get breakfast at City Café. It was a beautiful sunrise as we walked on the new levee along the Black Warrior River. I’m going to have to bring the camera the next time we do this walk. There are some excellent “picture possibilities” along here. City Café is not crowded at all. It takes a bit longer to get a breakfast order because everything is cooked to order. We are in no hurry. I get eggs over easy, grits, biscuits, and ham. This is the REAL ham with the bone in it. No processed stuff that is cut from a loaf. I savor each salty mouthful, even relishing the fat!

After breakfast I head to the new Lowe’s to get five 80 pound bags of Quickrete Concrete Mix. I’m hoping to have the forms all put up and hopefully the cement poured for the manhole cover project by tonight.

Before doing anything I have to remove the old forms from border bricks. All looks good. The cement is firm and set well. The new excavation for the “manhole pad” is staked out. The top of the pad must be seven inches below the top edge of where the face of the pavers will be. This entails a lot of digging. As the day wears on the heat builds. The temps stayed at 97 pretty much the entire afternoon. There were a lot of water breaks. Daggy had to come out to help too. Seeing the dusty hole, she had to try it out!

The completed brick edging. Note my iced coffee in the pub mug!

Daggy rolling in the dirt.

I realized I forgot to get cheap lumber for the forms. I take a much needed break to Lowe’s again for the wood. It is amazing the looks I get in my working outfit! Today I’m decked out in a pair of cut off sweat pants, a mesh wife beater, my logger boots, and cammo do-rag. My clothes are wringing wet and splotched with the red brown Alabama clay so prevalent here.

By the time I get home the sky is turning dark. This is wonderful. I will make up the forms in the morning. In all honesty I’m too tore up to do much more tonight.

I just get the tools get put away when the first raindrops start to fall. This is how the summer days are supposed to be. Hot with an afternoon thunderstorm to cool things off. My parched yard enjoys a soft steady rain for nearly an hour.

This morning (Saturday) I’m outside digging and fine tuning the concrete forms at 5:30 a.m.: the morning is so cool. As always, installing the forms is the buggiest part of the job. It is the unseen parts of the project like this that take up the most time.

I mix up seven 80 pound bags of concrete mix. I’m just 1 ½ bags short! Damn! Make a quick trip to Lowe’s. It is about 9:00 now and the store is packed. Naturally there are no cashiers open. One poor woman is trying to handle the entire building materials side. I feel so sorry for her.

The concrete gets mixed and the form topped off. I have to hunt up a coin with the date 2007 to put in the top. By doing that I will never ever be broke! I scratch my name in the top and have Stumpy walk across the top so his pawprints will be forever preserved!

The finished pad with the 2007 dime!

I have enough cement left over I can repair the corner of my driveway. That curbing has been missing forever. The dirt I’m excavating from the back is being transferred to the low area here. I won’t even attempt to grow grass here till the fall. Where this break is, the dirt will just wash into the street during heavy rains. Not now! I found a 2007 penny for this project!

From here on it is clean up time. The tools are cleaned of cement and put in the sun to dry. I’ve got all kinds of excavated plants to transplant. There are lilies that I brought down from my house in Lockport, daffodil bulbs, mum plants, and even a few peonies.

After all that I need a break. The soaking wet clothes are peeled off and clean dry things are put on. As I was typing this entry out Debbie called. At 5:30 we are going to meet for Mexican. I need a taco salad and a couple cold beers.

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