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May 31, 2003: Our little weekend project

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First of all, I think it is important to note that there were exactly 556 stones sitting on those three pallets in our driveway.

Secondly, it is also important to note that half of them weighed about 22 pounds each, and the other half weighed 12 pounds each. This is according to the little brochure we got from which we ordered the aforementioned stones. Earlier in the morning I did ponder bringing one each of the large and small inside to weigh them, but by this afternoon I didn't want to lug any stones any further than absolutely necessary. Perhaps tomorrow. Or perhaps I'll just take the brochure weights on faith because really, all that matters is that they were heavy! You can do the calculations if you'd like, but that's an awful lot of pounds of stones we lugged around today between the two of us.

We got up this morning and decided that the first thing to do was to move the stones from the driveway to the backyard. We took our handy little dolly which turns into a hand truck and loaded it up with stones, and then dragged those to the backyard and unloaded them, and did that a few more times before we decided that we could stop for breakfast. Then we went back outside to lug more stones from front to back. At this point our wonderful neighbor poked his head out of the garage, eyed the stones, returned to his garage, and after a series of loud whirring and thumping noises, emerged with an extremely heavy-duty hand truck which he brought over for us to use.

I think if I hadn't been so sweaty and dusty by that point I might have kissed him, because with both hand trucks, we were able to move those stones a lot faster than we'd anticipated. While Richard loaded his truck with the smaller stones, I stacked the big ones and toted them to the backyard where I deposited them in wobbly little piles.

Then it was off to the hardware store to procure twine and gypsum powder and gloves. The gloves were a definite must, since by this point my poor hands were starting to get more than a bit shredded and I'd already managed to drop one stone across two fingers, offering up the requisite blood sacrifice to our project (heh).

We used a combination of gypsum, twine, and tent stakes to mark out our circle, and then commenced to laying the stones. And amazingly it went one heck of a lot faster than either of us had expected! We did three layers and by then it started to actually look like the picture of the walls in that brochure I mentioned earlier so we took a break for lunch (leftover fajitas from last night and they were just as incredible today as they were yesterday!) and then went back outside and did the final three layers so quickly we were actually done by about 2 in the afternoon!

Then of course we came inside and took extremely long showers to scrub off the grime and dust that had accumulated in layers of several inches thick (okay, I exaggerate, but not by much) all over us (the dust got everywhere. It was in my *bra*, people. Euww!), and then we promptly fell onto the bed and crashed for about two hours so that we could at least pretend to be vaguely human when Richard's family arrived to bring me birthday presents and take us out for a birthday dinner.

I am stiff and my lower back is just sore enough that I am treating it with extreme respect and being very careful about bending because the last thing I want to do is throw it out. We haven't even begun to figure out how much dirt it will take to fill the bed. And except for a few random ideas (there will be something larger in the middle, and I want a few things that will 'spill' over the sides as they grow, and all the herbs which are not doing so well in my kitchen window are going to go out there and then there is the little matter of my desire to eventually plant an obscene amount of bulbs) we are still a bit unclear as to what we're actually going to *plant* in it once the dirt is in place. Plus there is still the little matter of laying the flagstone path around the bed itself, which will also involve us planting stuff between the stones and thus, unlike the wall, require actually digging. But right now I am just so disgustingly proud of what we managed to accomplish today that all the rest doesn't matter one bit.

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