First, let me start out with that fateful trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Way up at the Alpine Vistors' Center, where there is a little trail that doesn't look very long at all that runs from the parking lot to a sign that is at 12,005 ft. so youse can take a picture at 12,000 ft.
Here is a picture I took of The Mrs. along with someone she calls The Brother and, of course, little MaxieC. The sun was very bright, so they're wearing funky high-altitude shades that protect your sensitive retinas from UV mind rays. Or something.
Your author, however, is Joe F'ing Cool in his ice-blue mirror shades, gun club camo hat, and snarky T-shirt. Oh yeah. You all wish you were me.
This is a look back from the signpost to the parking lot. You see how it doesn't look very far at all? I climbed about 2/3 of it with MaxieC on my back. That would have been a piece of cake, if'n there was any damned oxygen at all. I had to do the whole thing on one giant breath of minivan air, cuz, of course, the minivan has a pressurized cabin. It is a Honda, after all.
Slightly out of sequence, this is three shots I took at the first rest stop where Gordy was feeling woozy. The camera has a photo stitch-assist mode that lets you line up each shot with the edge of the previous one, and then you use this photo-stitch utility on your compooter (comes with the camera) to hook them together. You really have to click on it to see it bigger to get the full effect. You can see faint vertical bars in the sky where the different frames were stitched, but overall, it was pretty damned painless.
On to some more mundane tasks. This weekend, I completed the saga of the pine tree mulch bed that I began last week and so painfully detailed in this post. In fact, I completed it twice. First, on Saturday, when MaxieC and I got up early and went outside to lay down the landscape fabric and mulch.
It went pretty well, except I ran out of landscape fabric pins. This required a trip to two hardware stores, as the stuff is out of season. I then measured up the area (39' x 10') and calculated that I'd need 2.4 cu yards of shredded redwood mulch. I rounded it up to three, as they sell it cheaper by the full yard, and we've got plenty of flower beds that need some topping off.
We went off to our favorite dirt place just outside Windsor and came home with the first load (the bed of the pickup holds but one cu yd). As I began unloading, I saw what seemed to be largish chunks of mulch falling out of the bed. Except they seemed to be more jumping out. Moments later, MaxieC is yelling, "A toad! A toad!" and sure 'nuf, there's a small toad on the driveway in front of MaxieC.
Then I notice one just a couple feet behind him as well.
Uh oh. Our mulch came with toads. I started to poke around a bit and quickly found two more.
Well, I'll tell you, nothing slows down the unloading of a yard of mulch from the back of a pickup than a couple of little kids and a load full of toads. By the time I finished unloading it, we had found seven. It was too many for even HannahC, so we managed to let a few go. She and MaxieC corralled about four of them on the front porch to play (where the big, giant toad that lives in our front yard is often found hanging out under the porch light at night).
I went back for the second load. Only one toad in that one. Same with the third - just one toad. HannahC kept the very last one. She named it Alexis. It now lives in the 2.5 gallon fishtank on the bar next to the 10 gal. cricket tank.
I got the mulch all spread out and was enjoying the happiness that is completing a job when The Mrs. came out to admire my handiwork. I'm gonna paraphrase a little here, cuz I don't remember the exact, exact words.
The Mrs.: "Ooooo...that looks nice."Which is how it came to pass that on Sunday, we all found ourself driving out to get 60 feet of 4" snap cut flagstone and seven 50 lbs. bags of sand. And how I got to finish the same project two days in a row this weekend.
Me, CherkyB: "Thanks."
The Mrs.: "Uhhh...WTF is this?"
Me, CherkyB: "That's landscape fabric."
The Mrs.: "You put it under the mulch?"
Me, CherkyB: "Yep."
The Mrs.: "Why?"
Me, CherkyB: "So we don't have to spray for weeds all the time."
The Mrs.: "With no edging?"
Me, CherkyB: "We talked about this and agreed we didn't want edging."
The Mrs.: "Well, I didn't know you were going to put landscape fabric down. After you mow the lawn, this's gonna look like shite."
Me, CherkyB: "Grrr....."
Here is a picture of me most of the way through the project.
The Mrs. had been in a funk all day because some parent had sent her via email a complaint about our daughter, and she just wanted to sit around and whine about it all day. I, instead, suggested that there's nothing like a little hard physical labor to take your mind off petty conflicts, and The Mrs. agreed.
So she came outside and sat in the shade, first on her porch swing, then on the bench, and watched me work. Whenever I noted that perhaps she might like to help, she said, "I would, but I've been coughing." And then she did a little teeny fake cough.
Finally, I persuaded her to go fetch the camera and take a couple pictures, and she begrudgingly admitted that she could do that as a way to help me.
Here's the last run excavated and awaiting sand and their final resting place:
A look back at pretty much the whole afternoon, what with all the chasing around to buy the materials. I would note how in this picture you can see how patchy the lawn is next to the mulch bed as opposed to how thick it is in the above two pictures. This is what prompted me to move the sprinkler heads out from behind the trees. They were watering the lower branches of the trees and not reaching the grass in front of the trees.
I don't believe The Mrs. has ever taken the camera outside without having taken a picture of her precious dog. Here's FreddyC doing the new trick he learned from The Mrs. - "helping." He didn't really master the cough, so every couple minutes he let a big snort out of his nose, like he had some dust up there. Or maybe some shredded redwood bark.
I'm still working away in this picture. I don't have a picture of the completed project, as The Mrs. got tired of "helping" and decided to invite a bunch of the neighborhood kids over to play instead.