Thursday, May 15, 2008

Home Improvements by Mike

“Hard Labor” has been Mike’s life this spring as he takes on a serious home improvement. He loves working in the yard, and being a perfectionist, everything he tackles is done with excellence. I love that about him. Last spring, after a major storm wiped out our back fence and most of the landscaping, he built a raised brick planter filling it with purple Chinese fringe bushes that are growing beautifully. He also planted our garage area with fragrant Star Jasmine that climb along the fence. Those two projects were hugely successful and after a year of growing the air is filled with the sweet aroma we enjoy every time we leave the house.

This year he decided that a new walkway was needed behind our garage. The area is so shaded and narrow that it has become a muddy mess. Cookie and Biskit run across it while chasing squirrels, getting their feet covered with mud that requires constant attention when they come back into the house. Or, as often happens, they run into the house and track the floor with their paw prints compounding the cleaning issue. After multiple trips to Home Depot and Lowes, and much discussion, he decided on constructing it with cement blocks that look like individual bricks. Since this is his project I have tried to stay out of his way physically and with my verbal “tips” and watch the making of the walkway. Landscape had to be removed, bags of base dirt hauled in (requiring MANY trips in his little Honda Civic) to make the area level, edging installed to hold all in place, stones cut and laid (sometimes three to four times just to get them perfect), sand spread over all the bricks and between the cracks, new landscape purchased and planted, gutter run off rerouted, gate bottom cut so it would close over the pathway....more steps than I had ever imagined. After three weeks it is finished and looking most excellent. The recent rains have given us a chance to check its drainage and I am glad to report the problem of muddy paws seems to be solved! Of course, one success spawns ideas for more improvements so I have been informed a shed is next on the list. I’ll keep you posted...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sisters in Sedona

I can’t believe it has been several weeks since I got back from the “Girls trip” to Sedona, Arizona with my sisters Debbie and Sherri. I had been looking forward to it for months, and now it is just a great memory! Mike went with us on the condition he would do all the driving and let the girls be in charge of the daily agenda. He agreed! Sedona is one of the places we discovered on a road trip to Arizona in 2001. We stumbled on this tucked away paradise after visiting the Grand Canyon and fell in love with its red rock beauty. My sisters have never been out west. The beautiful greenery and farmlands of Ohio are far from the barren beauty of Sedona and I was excited about sharing this special place with them. Our four day adventure together was crammed full of activities. The first day we spent enjoying Tlaquepaque a unique and artistic shopping area in the heart of Sedona. We didn’t buy much (it is very pricey) but we looked at everything! A trip to the Grand Canyon took up our second day. I never tire of visiting this awesome, overwhelming, HUGE, and beautiful wonder of the Southwest. I put a few of my pictures on my website .

We spent the rest of the time sightseeing, talking, eating, talking, shopping, talking, watching chick flicks, talking, drinking coffee till noon in our PJs and talking. Talking was the main event and since we don’t get to see each other often we made sure we logged an abundance of our time together doing just that.
Mike needs to get credit for his excellent company. He patiently listened to our non stop girl chatter, took us to all the sightseeing and shopping areas and even watched a couple of chick flicks.
The bummer part to this vacation as well as every other trip is that it comes to an end and the moments of excitement and closeness become memories to revisit and treasure. In my head I am already planning the next Girls Event…Gatlinburg? Las Vegas? Smoky Mountains?….more memories to be made.