7.31.2011

"I Finally Hit a Wall After 4 Days"

Our neighbors are VERY nice because no one said anything to us about the huge mound of concrete that sat on our front lawn for a WEEK

We debated many ways to dispose of all of the concrete. We knew we'd have A LOT to get rid of. The first option was to rent a dumpster. But that clocked in at $550. Of course, the nice thing would be that it would be delivered and taken away without any work from us. We'd have it for a week and we'd be able to dump in wheelbarrow loads inside. The downside was that the largest size dumpster for our material was 10 cubic yards and we knew we'd have more concrete than that. Also, I've heard that sometimes when you have a dumpster on a jobsite that people driving or walking by will use it as their dumpster too and put their garbage inside. No bueno.

The other option was to rent a dump truck. The cost to rent was $210 for a day and we could take the concrete waste to the concrete recycling center for a good price. This would involve more labor though - moving the concrete to the front yard and then loading it into the truck. We thought this would be the cheaper option because of the cheap dumping charge at the concrete recycling center but boy oh boy did they raise their prices. When we did this last time (about a year ago) a pick-up truck load was $15. We learned on our first visit that they raised their price. A LOT. A pick-up truck load was now $100!!! (we were very irresponsible and didn't call for pricing beforehand, but who would have thought they'd raise their price that much in a year?)

Anyway, we went with the dump truck option (thinking we'd be saving money). Originally we had made our reservation to rent one from Cresco in Oakland, but they stupidly had rented out too many 5-6 yard dump trucks and called us the day before to tell us we'd need to pick ours up 30 minutes away in Fremont. Lame-o.

In the morning we went to get the truck and drove it home

The back of the truck had a door that swung open when you un-hitched it for dumping, but it wouldn't stay open when the truck wasn't tilted up for dumping. Instead, we lifted it open and stuck some 2x4's in to hold it open while we loaded it up

Sarah and Eli came over again to lend a hand in loading up the truck (Chris built them a new computer when their's went kaput in exchange for house labor)



Once our first load was full we drove it to the site to dump it. Chris had lots of fun driving the truck :) hehe

When we got to the concrete recycling center I hoped out to help direct the truck and get it dumped. It was a pretty cool site to see. It was like a tonka truck :)




The process was lather, rinse, repeat for 3 loads to the concrete recycling center. Each load from start to finish took us about 90 minutes (the recycling center is only 5-10 minutes from our house thankfully).

By the end of the day Sarah had developed an excellent strategy for shoveling up the small concrete pieces

Once all the concrete was clear and we still had time on our day long dump truck rental...

...we decided to take a load of dirt to one of our "free dirt" craiglist post replies. So we started shoveling the mound of dirt in the backyard

We had planned on taking the dirt to someone in Alameda. The person had very specific directions as to where they wanted the dirt to go, and when we got to their house we realized it was entirely impossible to drop off the dirt where they needed it with our big ol' dump truck. We tried to call the person to talk about our predicament, but of course in true craigslist fashion there was no answer.

So there Chris and I sat in Alameda with a dump truck 1/4 full of dirt and nowhere to go. We also realized at this time - 4:15 - that Cresco actually closed at 5 and NOT 5:30. Holy shit. We had a load of dirt with no place to take it and 45 minutes to get to the rental place in Fremont during rush our traffic (and it normally takes about 30 minutes to get there in NO traffic once you get on the freeway, and we were about 10 minutes away from the freeway). This is where Chris hit his wall. Mine came earlier during the weekend when I became worthless at digging, and Chris' came a day later when he remarked to me, "Yeah, I finally hit my wall after 4 days" as we sat, parked, with our dump truck full of dirt and nowhere to go. Which, now looking back on it days later is pretty hilarious. But I knew to be quiet then.

We felt a little like this

I called Cresco to see what was the latest we could drop off the truck. It turns out if we took it in the morning before our pick-up time the day before at 8:20am, we would still only get charged for one day. That was a good option, but neither Chris nor I wanted to get up really early before work to drive the truck down to Fremont.

So Chris and I went for it. I won't tell you what happened to the dirt.....but needless to say we were pulling onto the freeway at 4:32 trying to haul ass with an empty dump truck. Luckily the carpool lane going south on I-880 is only 2 people so we moved into the lane and chugged along at variable speeds between 35-65 with me clutching my knees hoping that we made it to Cresco in time. After 28 minutes of me totally freaking out we pulled off the freeway, sped through town and pulled into the Cresco parking lot at 5 on the dot. MADE IT!!!!

At the end of the day after gas fees (of course we had NO TIME to stop to fill up for gas and got stuck with their high fuel cost) and horrendous dump fees we spent about $600! :( Which is OVER the dumpster cost. Boo. After being completely annoyed with ourselves for spending more money and making more work for ourselves than if we had just rented a dumpster we reasoned with ourselves that we got rid of about 14 cubic yards of waste (concrete + dirt), and that obviously wouldn't fit in the $550 10 cubic yard dumpster (which I'm sure came with more fees tacked on) so we probably did save a bit of money. At least, that's what we keep telling ourselves.

7.28.2011

Patio Party: Day 4

Day 4 was all about taking advantage of my parents as much as possible :) And when your parents are divorced you get double the fun because there are double the parents :)

My dad and step mom Wendy came around 8:45. We toured them around the backyard and then got to work around 9

The plan was to have my dad and Wendy work on continuing the dig on the side of the house into the main backyard

Chris and I worked on the area that Eli had started the day before over in the corner by the garage. We always wanted to make sure we kept enough room for a wheelbarrow to get by, and it was also important not crowd an area with too many people, otherwise dirt went flying.

We all worked really well together, although it was pretty hilarious that over the weekend that we had 4 separate couples working in the backyard and it was nice to know that every single one of them bickered with each other. We all laughed and laughed about it. Home renovation + loving relationship = "you're doing that wrong."

But I digress.

With all the amazing digging we were doing (Chris' goal was to get allllll 700 sq. ft. done) we started filling up the beds pretty quickly


But our progress was looking mighty fine

Around 10:30 my mom and CBH came over. They came a bit later because CBH was getting ready for trial his firm is defending and he had some work to do. I know, I know, me and Chris are really cracking the whip :)

Soon we had all 4 parents working :)

And can I just say what a lucky divorced kid I am? My 4 parents actually all like each other and enjoy spending time together. Rockband anyone?

(my mom, dad and step bro)

So with all that good-natured help, came lots of progress




Around 12:30 my dad and Wendy had to leave because my dad had some meetings for work, but we guilted my mom and CBH into staying till 3 :)

And with our 4 set of hands it was starting to look like we might actually get all the digging done

Except for the fact that we were running out of fill space so we wouldn't be able to dig it all up because we'd have nowhere to deposit the rest of the dirt. So we decided to dig up to the corner of the raised bed and grass and put the leftover dirt that didn't make the fill area there.

And just to prove that I actually did dig during this whole 4 day patio extravaganza here's a picture of me working after I asked my mom, "Can you take a picture of me digging so we have evidence that I actually worked on this project?"

But around 2:15 I hit my breaking point. After nearly 15 hours spent digging and hauling concrete and dirt in the hot sun after not having drank enough water over the last 2 days I got the worst headache and became pretty worthless. I tried to stick it out until 3, but my 50 and 60 year old parents outdid me. Bastards.

After my hallucinations stopped I was able to stand and marvel at all we got done. Nearly everything got dug out (grading it will be a bitch), except that little triangle near the raised bed and flower garden



But we had a lot of dirt to figure out what to do with

But thank god the digging is done. Thanks parentals, siblings, and friends!!!

7.27.2011

Patio Party: Day 3

Once Chris and Luke had ripped up all the concrete in the backyard, it was time for Day 3 with Chris' sister and her boyfriend. The plan was to get all the bits and pieces of concrete out, and if we got that done, then it was time to start the big dig (everywhere where pavers are going needs to be dug out about 9 inches). We had HOPED that maybe towards the end of Day 4 we'd be able to start the big dig, so we were a bit ahead of the anticipated schedule, which was awesome.

And there was a lot that needed to be cleared out

Before Sarah and Eli came over I got started on the side of the house

I collected all the big pieces of concrete and piles of lots of concrete chips and put them in the front yard on our tarps with the rest of the concrete (we tried to keep the dirt and concrete as separate as possible so that we could haul away the concrete to the concrete recycling center and they don't accept any dirt)

Once it came to the point where it was dirt mixed in with small concrete flecks, I collected it together in a bucket, then tossed it in the pergola bed as fill

Things went pretty quickly

While I worked on the side, Chris worked on hauling out all the big concrete pieces that were still in the back

Soon Sarah and Eli arrived and jumped in


With the 4 of us working we got the yard cleared of concrete pretty quickly and before lunchtime we started the big dig.

Sarah and Eli worked on the transition from the patio area to the grass and Chris and I worked on digging out the strip of grass on the side of the house

But this time, with the digging getting started, the pergola bed started getting pretty full

By the end of the day (8 hours of shoveling concrete and digging) the four of us had gotten A LOT done (and were pretty fucking exhausted).

We cleared all the concrete

Eli started a nice corner over by the garage while Sarah was picking up lunch

Sarah and Eli got a nice border dug where the pavers will transition with the grass


Chris and I got a good portion of the side yard done (we'll eventually re-do the driveway at the front as well, but that's at a later time)

And Sarah and Eli joined in by starting to dig along the fence line (while still giving enough room to get the wheelbarrows by)


And we were left with a big ol' pile o' dirt in the pergola bed that we started raking to try and spread things out

With Sarah and Eli's help the yard was starting to look really great. And by great I mean, the concrete is gone and digging is started

We got further than I think any of us anticipated, which was good news. The goal with my mom, step dad, dad and step mom coming the next day was to get allllllll the digging done. It's important to take advantage of your parents as much as possible :)