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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Because I love my son (and why you need algebra)

So because I love my eldest son C, I have allowed him to take over this blog for this one time.  If you guys like it I just might allow him to contribute again.  So, C here you go...please be careful.

Thanks Mom for allowing me to share my experience with the loyal readers of You,More Organized.  This is the story of a wife whose only desire for the backyard was a nice place to sit and enjoy the cool of the morning and evening with our newly born child (more on that later).  And yes here in the great white north of St. Louis, MO we have the cool of the morning and evening.  You should be jealous at least until it snows 6 inches in April. 

All the wife wanted was a nice place to sit but I was not excited about a purchase that would sit here.

Small, crowded, uneven... not a place worthy of a large investment in patio furniture.  So after the wife and I got back from the farmer's market I unceremoniously began to work on this diappointment of a patio.  

If you are a frequent reader of this blog you that my mother is frugal, to say the least, and I am a product of her monetary policies.  I am a cheapskate too.  In order to make this the most economical patio rehab, I decided to use the bricks of the old patio and the stepping stones, similar to those in the foreground, that lead to the other side of the house. 

Here is where those miserable years of 7th and 8th grade math matter in your adult life (not that my math teacher was miserable).  Here is a word problem that caused many a tear in the More Organized household.  How big of a patio can a man make with 125 bricks without making any cuts.  The patio also needs to be either a square or a rectangle.  Each brick is 15.5 inches by 7.5 inches.  To spare you from any tears here is my work...

Well for those of you who don't care for math, it works out to be a patio that is 11x9 with maybe 3 bricks leftover.  So, with my algebra done and many thanks to Mr.G for teaching me I proceeded...

First I pulled up all the bricks to expose the sand underneath and the grass that had taken root.  And then all I had was sand.
Yes that is a SNOW shovel which worked really well for smoothing out the surface.  It looks like I have dug out all the requesite dirt and grass and have started to place the new sand for the expanded patio. 

Now begins the arduous task of replacing the bricks...

An hour-ish into the placement..  I tried as best I could to keep the lines straight and keep everything relatively level.  It turns out that my excavation work was a little less than perfect but I will end up putting the BBQ pits on the worst areas see end pictures.

Now a little later...
And I think this next picture is when the number of bricks laid was the same as the entire old patio or it is half way and the previous picture was to show the expanded size.  Either way you get the idea...

If you look carefully in the picture below you can see the hatchet which made a surprisingly good tool to cut grass in order to fill in the holes from the old stepping stones and a motivator for the bricks to fit together properly.

This Saturday was only kind of warm but I was hot and tired so I stopped and ate dinner.  I think it was a frozen pizza but I fully reccomend whatever the More Organized author suggested. 

This is the end result on Sunday

The end result did not match my algebra because things always work out better on paper than in real life.  Paper is not nearly as hot as the July sun or as difficult and dirty as a shovel.  If memory serves I had enough bricks for one more row on the far left.

When it was all said and done I spent ~8 hours of my labor and less than $30 on sand.  Moral of the story do your own manual labor and you get to write a blog for your mom and get a sense of accomplishment.

The wife did go and buy patio furniture the next weekend and it is spectacular...but I don't have any pictures of it. 

Thanks More Organized Mom for letting me do this.

-You are welcome son.  Thanks for giving me time to compile the next set of menus. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And yes, the wife is pleased with the new patio and furniture.