Monthly Archives: April 2015

~ A Million Little Cuts ~

I’ve always prided myself for being ‘Low Maintenance.’  Mostly because it gives other people low expectations of me, which makes me breathe a lot easier, I promise you!

But recently I’ve been told that maybe I am, in fact, NOT Low Maintenance.  I am, in fact, actually a demanding Pain in the Arse.

You see, when I bought this little cottage, it had a charming winding path of half-sunken paving stones.

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No one ever used it.

They were often mud-covered, or if it rained, submerged in run-off, or in the winter, snow covered and not able to be shoveled.  We had issues, is what I’m saying.

So having already accomplished building a patio together,

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I figured My Captain and I could pull off a charming little walkway made of brick pavers for The Little Cottage.  Easy Peasy, right?  All was going swimmingly until My Beloved asked me what I wanted it to look like.

Curved, of course!

And what design did I want?

Herringbone, of course!

Understand that what I was asking of My Captain meant a million little custom cuts would need to be worked out for the herringbone design to fit into my willy-nilly, no rhyme-or-reason, curvy, charming little cottage path.

But we’ve been together long enough that he just took one long sigh, pulled on his ripped-up-oh-my-god-they’re-sexy work jeans, and dug in.

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Actually, he had ME dig in.  With the shovel.  Something I was never made for, as can readily be seen by my ridiculously inaccurate swath of cut sod.

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Seriously, look at my horrendously non-specific lines.  Poor Beloved…God Bless Him.  This is a very mathematically thinking man, who, when faced with my willy-nilly-ness has to dig deep…DEEP…down into his soul to find tolerance.  So while I’m busy drawing asymmetric squiggles based on emotion, he’s right behind me calculating sine and co-sine to make it a reality.

I know, it’s all so clear now, isn’t it?  It’s so very clear why he works so much overtime.  I would too, if I were married to me.

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Yes, he knew right out of the starting gate that he would have to make a million little custom brick cuts.  Just look at the curve here at the top.  That would have to be made from at least two bricks, and in at least four weird angled cuts.

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Undaunted, he figured and calculated in his head, right along with what was most probably fantasies of having married a math professor instead of a goofball.2015-04-02 18.12.11

Right about here he was thinking that maybe her name might have been Diane, or Jennifer, or something wonderfully feminine, rather than my name, Pam, which, when barked in frustration, sounds ominously like a cuss-word.2015-04-02 18.10.47

And Diane/Jennifer would never do anything as inappropriate as taking a butt-crack-underwear-holey-sexy-work-jean shot and post it for all the world to see.2015-04-02 20.17.30

Make no mistake, his cuss-word-sounding-named wife worked side-by-side with him, even into the night.  Not just because she is as driven as he is, but also because we had learned that rain was imminent and unfinished pathways do not take kindly to water.    So it sounds good to say we were ‘driven’, but in reality, we were doing the ‘pee-pee’ dance so all of our sand grading wouldn’t be trashed by the rain.

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I didn’t want my picture taken, so every time he tried to, I would look right at his phone with my hat light.  Tickled the heck out of my funny bone.  His, not so much.2015-04-02 20.18.15

Night or not, rain or not, this baby was taking shape!

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And the next day, Varmint got called into service.  Turns out she was MUCH better at helping him piece together the million little funky-cut bricks.2015-04-04 11.06.50

Which included her using the lava stone to ‘sand’ them into exactly the right shape after he cut.  Varmint has the right disposition for that kind of work.   Me?   I am more apt to use the sledge hammer to get a brick to fit.  (Like this moment last year, while working on the patio.)

2013-09-15 16.00.13But back to this year’s project, while My Captain cut, and Varmint fit, I was relegated to brick schlepping.  I put on  my 3X unapologetically purple Schmidt work overalls from the Tractor Supply Company, was sure to wear my fire-engine red thermals under it, because THAT is the way I roll, and schlepped like the best cuss-word-sounding-named wife he ever had.

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And then he had me begin the arduous process of back-filling the sand into the cracks.

Apparently other than schlepping, My Beloved feels I have talents in crack filling.

We all have to shine in our own ways, I guess.

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But look at how it turned out! Ain’t it purty?!

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Obviously I had to buy some creeping phlox to plant along the edges before we filled in the soil and grass seed.

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Just take a second to appreciate all of the funky sized/shaped bricks he had to create for the weird curves.  Didn’t he nail it?!  What a rock star my man is!

He may be right, though.  It is possible, looking at this new path, that I am not Low Maintenance after all.

But I do rock a pair of purple work overalls, so I’ve got that going for me….

….which is nice.

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~ If You Give A Mama An Auger ~

If you have learned anything at all about me in the past three years, dear friends, it is that I have no ability to rein it in.  None.  I couldn’t find the definition of moderation if you shoved the dictionary under my nose.

Give me a bag of chocolate, you end up with an empty bag.

Ask me to clean a bench, you end up with a sandblasted, primed, and painted polka dot piece of furniture.


Ask me to save a feral kitten, you end up saving a boatload of them.


Give me an auger drill bit to plant a tulip bulb in the fall….

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and you end up with a thousand (yes, that’s accurate…a full 1,000) tulips blooming in the spring.

2015-04-20 16.55.25No, seriously.  A Thousand.  Several trips to Lowes, several re-budgeting for this years’ landscaping, several husband eye-rolls later, you’ve got yourself a thousand freaking tulips.

Why?!  Why, you ask?

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Is it because I relish the idea of publicly prancing around in my 3X unapologetically purple Schmidt Work Overalls from The Tractor Supply Company?

Do I have a fetish of waving my ample arse in the air to passing cars while drilling over 1,000 holes in the tough Maryland clay?

Am I hell bent on embarrassing my family with my weird antics?

Look, I’m not going to straight out deny any of those things, but to be honest, I actually DO have an honorable reason!

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You see, my father taught me that beauty matters.  What we are surrounded with matters. It all affects us.  I know how different I feel when the kitchen is full of dirty dishes, and when it’s clean and orderly.  The place we live gives us a sense of stress, or well-being, depending on how it is set up.

I don’t know about you guys, but I can control very little in this world.  And since all this required was an auger drill bit, some bags of tulip bulbs, and a decent chiropractor (Thank you, Dr. Spiro Theodore!) I figured I could have an impact here.  Few things in life can we impact with such obvious results!2015-04-20 17.03.34“You have too much time on your hands,” quipped one rather pessimistic friend of mine.

My response?  Well, I don’t watch television.  Not like, a little bit…I mean I don’t watch television.  I haven’t had cable television in nearly 20 years!  So since I’m not drooling passively on the couch in front of the boob tube, I have time to paint benches, and blog, and plant tulips!  It’s all about choices and priorities, I guess.  And from what I’ve heard about Honey Boo Boo, and vampire or zombie series, I’m okay with my choices!2015-04-20 16.59.39Besides, when you have no ability to moderate your chocolate intake, it’s a good thing to be outside digging and mulching!

Does My Captain mind that I spent the time and money on these flowers?

2015-04-20 16.58.33Heck, I think he was counting on it.  I mean, when a man spends money on an auger drill bit for you, it SCREAMS love.

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Almost as loudly as if he had bought you a bag of Lindt Chocolate Truffles.

Don’t judge!

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