Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Concrete City!

The 'destroyer' has come and gone and our lives are forever changed because of it. Frankly, I'm just happy our house is still standing at this point...but aside from that, things seem to be falling apart a bit. This feeling due solely to the condition of the mud pit, I mean yard, out back. But what we had preserved so lovingly through the project to date has now become a complete and utter mess.

The up side? The concrete is done! The new back steps are in and the new walkway is complete.

Honestly, if I knew anything about concrete, I would say it looks great...but my critical eye isn't all that critical being that I really can't tell the difference between good and bad concrete. I'd say the fact that I see nothing that bothers me about it is a good thing.

The crew was here at 7am, YES...7am and seems to travel with a sort of force around them. There was once again 5 concrete workers here hauling, pouring, digging, leveling, smoothing, cutting and anything else you can think of to manipulate such a medium. They were in and out and before we knew it we were given instructions to 'water' our concrete tonight and could walk on it tomorrow!

Our architect designed a 'buttress' as part of the regular old concrete stoop which I absolutely love.

It gives the basic stairs a little more interest and will look great with a pot of flowers properly placed on it. Neither Jeff nor I (nor our architect) are a fan of too many curves in concrete, so we kept things rather squared off and can soften the lines using landscaping.

We also kept one little pocket amidst all that concrete as a space to add some natural elements...rocks, shrubs, etc. I like that it keeps it from looking like a glorified driveway next to the house.

Our objective with the walkway to the garage was to keep the path as far to the side of the yard as possible leaving us more uninterrupted grassy area (maybe for a swing set or some future patio furniture?) But, we didn't want to keep it SO far to the side that we never used the walkway and instead would opt to just cut through the yard as a time saver. So the walkway extends straight out from the back steps and then subtly starts curving towards the garage/driveway.

All in all, I think they did a great job. They were in, out, efficient, incredibly hardworking, cordial and on their way before you had time to survey what they actually did. I know there were no tears shed when they finally left as they wreaked havoc on anything that came in their way. But...that's their job and they did it well! In case you are curious, I will not be adding them to my Twin Cities Notables tab. While I do believe the work they did was superb, they were easy to schedule with, bent over backwards to work with our timeline, always returned calls, were here when they said they would be, had a fast and furious crew, etc...they fell short in one critical area. First, one of the workers was smoking and left cigarette butts in my yard and second, they had to come in and out of the house a few times to close up the window wells and tracked mud all over, of which they did not clean up. I would have expected them to at least spray off the sidewalks they made a mess of and sweep up my floor. Instead that work was left for us to do (not a big deal, but it's definitely going to keep them off my list). It bothered me when I saw them washing their tools with the utmost care...but left the INSIDE of my HOME covered in mud. Boo.

It just wouldn't be right if I didn't give credit to the exterior crew who was here YET again siding the garage. There are now 2 completely finished sides, 1 that is about 85% done and the front that is yet to be touched. Their plan is to finish siding it tomorrow and get the roof stripped, prepped and ready for shingles on Thursday. WOO HOO!

The girls and I headed to Como Zoo today to enjoy the absolutely gorgeous day. We had so much fun going on rides and checking in with all the animals. Even Gloria went on a few rides and the only thing cuter than watching her on them was the fit she threw when I tried taking her off. As I stood from afar watching my girls side by side, driving their cars and waving to me as they went by, I couldn't help but whisper, "Thank you God for these incredible gifts." My two little angels.

(Double stroller is in the back of the Suburban...at the mechanic. No problem...just stuff them in the single stroller!)

And here's a very shaky video (due to insanely waving woman) of the girls on one of the rides:-)

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