I’m a firm believer that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing until it makes you sick. Am I right? [crickets]
Friday afternoon I decided it was time to finish the Fence Project once and for all. I then shut down my brain and let Uncle F$#k-Up take over. Really all that was left was to spread a little more gravel on the narrow demilitarized zone between our fence and the street. How hard could it be? Right, first thing’s to rent a flatbed truck at Home Depot and convince them to let me “pick up a few things at a local landscape place”, a few things meaning a few thousand pieces of 3/8” gravel. As I maneuvered out of the parking lot in this massive truck with the high-perch visibility of an AT-AT, I thought, “The gravel will be delivered in moments, my Lord. You may start your landing.”
I’m sure you’ve seen a front-end loader dump a full scoop of gravel into the bed of a pickup—they do it in manly truck ads bracketed by ads for watery beer and muscle cars—usually from a height of a few hundred feet, making the truck bed bounce under the weight before the mustachioed lumberjack in the cutoffs floor the truck and disappear in a cloud of dust and testosterone. In real life, the gravel gets poured in by a Mexican laborer with the precision of a surgeon. I’ve never seen heavy machinery operated so delicately and accurately. After an overly-careful drive home with 2600 pounds of gravel in the back, I arrived and got to thinking about how to remove the gravel with minimum effort. The answer? Employ child labor!
You may also see a ramp of concrete backer board under the drop-side of the truck, so I could shovel the gravel out and have it sluice down and into place. Sounds easy, right? Shovel, Toddler Harbat, and you’ll get a cookie with dinner.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’ll begin with saying my wife is lovely, smart, and funny. So funny that when I arrived with the first yard of gravel on Friday night she said, “You got two yards, right?” I made some pathetic bleating noises, unloaded the gravel and went back to the garden center for two more yards. The first yard was a massive amount of gravel. Could the truck carry two? I didn’t ask how much it weighed, and when the loader dumped the second bucket in the truck, a shrieking alarm went off that wouldn’t stop until the truck was in drive. Overweight alarm? Hmm…best to ignore and drive home. Carefully. By the time the last chunk of gravel was unloaded it was dark and I’d sweat through my t-shirt and my upper body felt like beef after you’ve smashed it into carpaccio. Sunday I planted the last two lavender plants, adjusted the drip irrigation and…[trumpet fanfare]…the Fence Project is complete!
Let’s bring it back to the intro—it’s not worth doing unless it makes you sick. Sunday I realized my Herculean efforts bought me a one-way ticket to Fluville, with full-body ache and eyeball soreness. I paid the price, to be sure, but the project is done! Until something goes wrong…