August 16, 2007

A Little More Dirt Detail

Ever since I bought my house back in 2004, my girlfriend/fiancťe has been busy, busy, busy deciding which house projects I should be working on. Me being me, Iíd prefer to lie on a couch and watch television, but she seems to think I should spend my free time. . . whatís the term? Right. DOING THINGS. Can you imagine?

A little known secret about those of us with journalism degrees and who are also first time home owners: we donít have a lot of money. Oh, I know, youíve been reading this ThunderJournal over the years thinking I craft these words in front of a golden computer atop a 20 foot stack of cash, but I can assure you thatís an incorrect mental image.

If I did have a lot of money, Iíd be able to continue lounging on the couch watching TV and hiring people to complete house projects for me. But, this is not the case, so house projects require my own personal attention, which is really incredibly unfair, in my opinion.

The big house project thatís currently underway involves widening the driveway so it can accommodate two cars rather than the one it can currently allow. Now, we could have opted for a relatively small addition, but Melissa roped off a 23 ft. by 13 ft. rectangle, which doesnít sound like much, until you factor in my lack of money, which means Iíd be digging out that rectangle by hand, with a spade.

During projects like this, the weirdest things crop up that you just donít think about prior to heaving the first shovelful of dirt into a truck. For us, the first question to arise as the truck bed filled higher and higher with dirt was: how are we going to get rid of all this dirt?

You wouldnít think it would be a problem. After all, itís dirt. My whole yard consists of dirt, and itís never presented a problem in the past. The dirt has been perfectly content to just sit there and grow grass and trees. But, the moment you decide to move some of that dirt, it goes and decides to become a logistical problem.

I pondered taking the dirt out into the country and dumping it in a ditch somewhere, but I became paranoid about doing so because itís possible such an act violates some law, although a law about dumping dirt strikes me as overkill. Regardless, I couldnít quite bring myself to commit random acts of dirt dumping, which does sound like a crime when worded like that.

Eventually, we received word from someone who was doing landscaping work and was interested in at least some of our dirt. Youíd be surprised at how much relief you can feel when somebody says they want your dirt. Your dirt is actually good enough for somebody else! Thereís a certain amount of pride to take away from that, particularly when you have absolutely no life, like me.

With a destination now designated for the dirt, Melissa and I set about digging. And digging. AND DIGGING. Frankly, we were astounded by how much digging was required to prepare a 23 ft. by 13 ft. space. I had no idea what kind of project we had undertaken. After three hours of intense digging, we had cleared about one-third of the dirt slated for removal, and we were completely exhausted. To make matters more irritating, construction crews have been working on the gas lines in our neighborhood, so we had to watch big time excavation machines clear areas the size of ours in about ten minutes.

I seriously considered walking over to the operator of one of the back hoes and offering him $50 to quick dig out our project, but then I remembered Iím a journalist and first time homeowner, so I didnít have $50.

After five hours of digging, two heaping truckloads of dirt, and enough expletives shared between the two of us to clear out a biker bar, we were still only halfway done with the excavation alone.

Do you have any idea how much television I could have watched instead?

Posted by Ryan at August 16, 2007 07:47 AM | TrackBack

...Iíd be digging out that rectangle by hand, with a spade.

We used to dream of owning a spade. We used to dig out an entire acre of land with our bare hands, just so the rich neighbor had a place to park his Cadillac. And we were happy to do it.

Posted by: Doug Williams at August 16, 2007 12:43 PM

I can't imagine the blisters. . .

Posted by: Ryan at August 16, 2007 01:29 PM
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