Monday, September 26, 2011

How It's Going, Part 4: Wet and Wetter

Here it is, Monday again, and what did we get done on the Stone Thingie over the weekend, you may ask?   Not much.   The weather is not cooperating.  Mother Nature does not want us to build this thingie.  Maybe it's a sign.  Maybe it's an omen.  Maybe it's just because we waited too long once again and the usual weather pattern happens that almost always happens in September in Wisconsin, we are now into our Monsoon Season.  We do need the rain, I am not complaining about that, I just wish it would rain and get it over with.

Friday was another day of hit 'n miss showers, we'd get a downpour for a few minutes followed by brilliant sunshine and then another sprinkle or two, then a shower, then sunshine, so on and so forth.  Saturday was the same, temps in the upper 50's and everything and everybody damp.  Since we couldn't run any mortar in the rain, Carl decided to finally finish making the cedar window frames for the rectangular windows inside our garage, out of the weather.

I spent the two days scouting for suitable rock on the pallets in the Back Eight, way out beyond the windmill. I didn't want to bring a tractor home due to the intermittent rain showers, so if I saw a rock which looked as if it'd work, I'd just pick it up and carry it from the piles to the Thingie.  Amazing how heavy a rock gets after you carry it awhile.  One in particular was just a bear to tote, and when I finally dropped it in exhaustion, I thought, 'Wow, if I could only lose weight like that!'  (You feel so much lighter after dropping fifty pounds, lol, which is what Carl estimated the rock weighed.   And Note To Self:  Don't gain another fifty pounds.)

Here in this view from the windmill tower taken in 2002 is where the rock for the Stone Thingie is coming from, the lane out in the Back Eight
After a little rest, I picked the limestone block up one more time and plodded back up to the construction site with it, dropping it again and making sure my feet were safely out of the way.  You'd be surprised how much some of these rocks like to bite people's feet (especially mine).   After hitting the ground, spunky ones will do a somersault and whack me in the shin at every opportunity.  I suppose it is their only defense since I am about to do them great physical harm with my rock hammer and then encase them in mortar for another coupla decades.  They have to put up some kind of a fight. 

Carl scolded me for 'working too hard' and said I should be using the tractor.  I pointed to the showers building in the west again and he shook his head and went back to the garage to keep on sawing.  To pacify him and make my life a little easier,  I took my two-wheeled cart or mover's dolly or whatever they call it with me to haul up some more stone instead of carrying it.  That got old after awhile too, so on Friday night when the rainstorms seemed to let up a little bit more, I broke down and walked up to my mother's machine shed a quarter mile away and brought the tractor home.

I was dismayed to see the Bush Hog (a large lawnmower-y grass cutting tool) was hooked up to the tractor from the week before.  So, I had to take the Bush Hog off the 3-point hitch which was no problem but the power take-off shaft was being bucky, it needs grease badly. Try as I might I just could not get that puppy disconnected from my tractor.  I finally had to resort to texting Dave who had just come home for a bit (yes, this old unit does know how to text on a cellphone, amazingly) and he came out from the house to lend me a hand.  It took the two of us to yank and coax and swear the PTO off the tractor, so I didn't feel too stupid.  I like to be self-sufficient and though I could have called Carl to my rescue, he was finally wrapped up in cutting the boards for the windows and I hated to interrupt him.  Dave and I put the forklift teeth on the tractor and I was back in business with a mean rock-hauling machine.

Remember the picture of all those pallets out in the field from years and years ago?  You don't, well, here's  a rerun again:
Another 2002 photo.  Rocks In Waiting out in the Back Eight.

Do you know what happens to wooden pallets over the course of nine years when they're fully loaded with hundreds of pounds of rocks and they've been sitting in the weather on damp ground?  Yes, you're right.  They rot.  And when you pick them up with a tractor, sliding forklift teeth in between the slats and raise the hydraulics, the pallets will oftentimes self-destruct, raining rocks down all over the place.  That's what I did with the rest of my time on Saturday, moved all the rocks from rotten pallets to new ones, performing more complicated sorts as I went, from bigger rocks on one pallet to smaller on another.  I don't know how many tons of rock I shifted around, but I was Tired with a capital T on Saturday night.

After I had them loaded up on new pallets, I would bring the load up to the construction site and toss the old wood in our campfire ring.  Don't I lead a fascinating life?  While working on this job,  I was also wondering how many times I have handled each and every one of these rocks from the time they fell out of the back of the dump truck to the many, many times we've shuffled them around.  What a work-out these things have been.

I have really well-toned biceps, believe it or not.  Too bad the rest of me doesn't follow suit.  Our 35th class reunion is this coming Saturday.  Sigh, again.  We're going, but I hate to, in a way.  I wanted to be a coupla big rocks skinnier than I am now, and well, that's not gonna happen no matter how many rocks I toss around.  I had good intentions of trying to lose more weight than I did.  But we all know what good intentions are like.  The thyroid makes my life a roller coaster, it's all over the place, working and not working which makes my metabolism unhappy.   Like my former MD said, I have to watch what I stuff in my mouth.  Apparently, I haven't been, though I do keep track of calories and have cut down on portion size.

I think the really sad thing is that old feeling of being judged.  How's that old saying go, "You can never be too thin or too rich?"  Well, shoot, I'm not either one.  But isn't there another saying, "The best revenge is living well."  Wait, I don't want revenge, but I'm living pretty well.   For the most part, I'm content with who I am and that's worth a lot.  Skinny ain't all it's cracked up to be (Yes, that's what fat women say when they know there's no chance of ever getting to Skinnyland.)

I can move mountains of rock on my own, but can I budge the scale to go down when I step on it?  Not a chance. And no use crying over it, either.  I'll just sail into my class reunion and maybe I'll win the award for Biggest Broad or something or other.  Take it from me, the class reunion looming is like being 17 all over again at 53, same song, second verse, a little bit louder and a little bit WORSE.  Maybe they'll have a weight-lifting contest....I venture to guess I could win that.  Skinny chicks won't stand a chance against me.  Fear This.  (Ok, the Paranoid Wishing I Was Someone I'm Not Portion of this post is over now.)  I'm just me.  Sorry.  Moving on............

Finally, on late Saturday afternoon, Carl finished up the frames for the windows.  I helped him haul them out to the Stone thingie and we set them up against the wall.  Then the next round of debates started.

There's Carl, standing in the middle of the mess and in deep thought.  He has to figure out how this will all go together and being a perfectionist, his mind is on overload.  He spends a whole lot of time just staring at the project and frankly, it drives me nuts!  I know he has to get this in his head before he can begin building again, and I'm not of much help to him.  That's why I do the mundane-but-necessary chores of bringing more rock up or sweeping or something to ward off the boredom and rising panic and not screeching 'We're running out of time for the year again......Come on!  Make a decision!  Take a stand!'  I know Rome wasn't built in a day, but sheeesh.....can we just put some mortar on the rocks and move on?'

Carl wanted me to be nearby for the next brainstorming session, so I stayed put after sweeping the water out of the foundation for the umpteenth time this weekend.  (A roof will really come in handy for this building.)  As he stared at the spacing and tried to make a decision, I finally plunked down in a chair and did something else that drives him nuts, I started picking away at the loose paint flakes on the wrought iron table with a screw from the window framing project.

Scritch, scritch, scritch, the noise bugs Carl, so I stop, but soon go back to it, since I have to do SOMETHING.  I just can't sit for very long.  If this project goes on much longer, I'll have all the paint off the table and the chairs, see, something will have gotten done!

Saturday's dilemma was this: I wanted the rectangular windows to be evenly spaced going around the building, such as from the doorway:  two small windows, one large window, two small windows, the round window, two small windows, one large window, two small windows and finally, the door again.  The idea was there will be stone pillars between each window.  But then Carl said the spacing wouldn't work right for the roof we'll eventually be building (probably in another five years, if we keep going the way we are) so he said the two smaller windows would have to be touching each other.  I needed a visual aid, so I talked him into propping the window frames up on the not-yet level wall to show me what he meant:

Hmmmmmmm.......not bad, but not what I had in mind.  I really liked the idea of them being evenly spaced with stone in between better.

It was then Carl's turn to be frustrated with me (though he didn't say anything) and he obliged by moving the windows into my configuration:

"Space them out a little more, make them even, just humor me," I said. 

Luckily, at this point, Joel came home from his gallivanting and more or less agreed with me on the spacing.  (Good son, he is.) 

I like this much better, and even Carl agreed,  but he still has to figure out how to support the roof on this spacing.  (You have to remember, the walls are not level here, so the windows go up and down, we're not leaving it like this, and the round window will be up much higher in the wall, too.)

  Joel and Carl discuss the possibilities, which are endless.  It's getting on to sunset on Saturday, around 40 degrees and damp out, the floor of the house is wet from the earlier showers and my feet were very cold.

Did we come to a decision? 

Seeing him standing there with his hands in his pockets, I know he's in Mental Misery and I feel for him.  He's afraid of making a mistake.  So did we make a decision? 

Mother Nature made a big decsion; the sun went down.  And yes, we decided, too.  We decided to go out to eat with Joel and Richard and Emily and play Sheepshead until 1AM which put an end to the day's decisions.

And Sunday was just like today, Rain, Rain and MORE Rain which put an end to any further work on the poor ol' Stone Thingie.  Our forecast calls for rain right up until (if we're lucky) this coming Friday.  The wedding is coming for pictures on Saturday (hopefully) and then we have the class reunion that night, too, so even if the sun does shine, not much will happen on the job then, either.

 Here's a picture of water running off the garage roof this afternoon.

 And the creek starting to rise out by the Pachyberm.  We've had three inches of rain since Saturday.
 The flowers look ratty and the lawn looks worse...but the sun will shine again. I guess we won't get the stone house done this fall, either, but we gave it a shot.  Maybe October's weather will be better, it usually is Bright and Blue.  Right now, it's Cold and Goo.

Well, we tried!  I'm going to spend some much needed time housecleaning, especially in the stained glass studio (my doesn't that sound Grand? It's our basement, lol.)  It's hard to shift gears but we gotta do what we gotta do, right?

Now, where did I leave my Shop Vac?


myomyohi said...

You are some worker. Carrying rocks is hard work, and I love your wit. I know all about wishing you looked skinnier for your reunion, but most of those women don't have a yard like that, nor would they carry a rock if you paid them. You rock. :)

My husband made fun of me one time when he opened the back of my jeep cherokee to find a big pile of rocks I had been picking up out of the ditches on my way home from work each night.

The rock house is gonna be fabulous.

Zoey said...

I can't imagine carrying a 50 lb. rock for any distance. You are amazing, Karen.

I like the evenly spaced windows best, too. It's going to be so gorgeous when you finish.

Missy said...

I think even spacing too (not that we ALL get a vote)...
and thinking of the reunion - I wonder how many skinny chics have the sort of relationship you and Carl have.

Tufa Girl said...

I am glad there was some agreement to the window placement. I am certain Carl will develop a brilliant plan for the roof. Perhaps some sort of beams up inside the stone thingy to support the roof instead using the walls for support? I just love the photo from your windmill. Another great view of the Quarry acreage. Don't worry about the reunion, just have a good time - you and Carl are the beautiful people.

Sue said...

Karen, you are an amazing woman. But, carrying rocks like that? My gosh, watch your back!
And yes, it would be handy to drop weight like that. I've always wanted to be a size 4. Ain't gonna happen though, so I don't waste much time thinking about it. Hubby loves me. And Carl MUST adore you (or you wouldn't have one the battle with the windows!!). So , weight IS irrelevent!
Have a great week. And for goodness sake-USE THE TRACTOR!

Junebug said...

My,my do you ever sit still? My Mom always said I wasn't a good sitter. Boy, I wonder what she would have thought of you? LOL! I like the even spacing myself but I'm sure you will all figure that out in five years. Keep the pictures coming of this thingy! Hugs to you!

Toni - Signature Gardens said...

Do y'all not know a builder that you could pick his brain and see if he could help give some guidance on the stone house thingie? Just have him out for an hour or two and see if he can help Carl. I do the same thing as Carl in my garden, so I cracked up when I saw the "Picture of Indecision." My husband calls it "Paralysis by Analysis!" Ha!! I stand there and stare, analyze ad nauseum, afraid to make a mistake, and I think and think and gutwrench some more. And then finally something comes to me. Relief! BTW, feel free to send some of your rain our way :-)

Carol said...

You've really come along way all things considered and I have all the faith in you that it will get done and it will be fantastic!! :)

africanaussie said...

I am always a little exhausted after reading about your days hauling rocks all over the place and never sitting still. I hope when you get this building finished that you plan lots of time just sitting and reading a book there, with a cup of tea by your side. (and ignoring the peeling paint) I am looking forward to seeing some posts of your stained glass window. I am sure you will be much more fun to talk to at the re-union than some skinny little thing with no hobbies :) enjoy yourself!

Lona said...

LOL! I had to laugh at the decision making going on. My Dad was a carpenter and he had to have everything just perfect. Everything had to be finished just so so. He would ponder on a project just like Carl was doing. When this Primitive style of crafting became the style here he had a fit at how cobbled up some of the projects were made. He would say just look at that mess. I could never get him to make anything rough and old looking. LOL! Sometimes perfection can really make us gals feel impatient.LOL! said...

Carrying 50 pound rocks is why I have a bad hip. That and using the mallet and chisel on the stone. It catches up to you eventually. I did this for years on jobs and at my own property and now I've paid the price. I hope you get away unscathed in all your rock moving. Men are so much built better for this kind of work I think.

Randy Emmitt said...


If you ever want to move to a warmer climate, I could use a helper? Meg just gets mad if I ask her to do mundane but necessary chores when I building the bottle wall. You could bring Carl too, lots of people need creative artists.

Darla said...

You better stop carrying those rocks! I'm sure your "Stone Thingie" will come together. Dadgum ya'll are getting rain. Must post photos of the wedding party and the reunion...

Rosemary said...

At first I thought what is a little rain to stop progress until I saw the pictures..... Oh my that is rain! The stones aren't going anywhere unless of course you haul them from one place to another.... nor will they melt in the rain so I am guessing a few more months(years?) before the ruin is no longer a ruin, but I can see it will be spectacular and I do like the even spacing...... sorry Carl..Enjoy your reunion!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

I have never seen so many rocks in my life! But, you and Carl are certainly putting them to good use. I can't wait to see the little stone with those great windows. Just think, you can sit in there in the rain and look out at the garden.


Sueb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sueb said...

Hi Karen, You know those rocks should be a bit more caring of your little tootsies.
You take big old lumps of rock and manicure them into beautiful shaped creations to grace the big round beautiful thingy. All that love and care you bestow on them and they just jump on your feet. Tut! Tut!Tut !
I have to agree with you windows evenly spaces look better, Sorry Carl ;0)
Now if you’ve seen a picture of me you will know I look like Elle Macpherson on a day off . So my advice to you regarding the school reunion ask yourself this.
Do these people affect your life? Does their opinion really matter? Are these people as happy as you? I think the answer is 99.9% No I say to myself If I don’t mind why should they matter!
USE THE TRACTOR FOR HEAVENS SAKE WOMAN!!!! Mr Massey and Mr Ferguson didn’t spend hours designing the tractor so you could hall rocks.

Take care and have a good week.

Karen said...

myohmyohi, aren't rocks addictive? I swear I cannot stop at just one. Thanks for the confidence to face the class reunion, dang, I wanted to thinner though.

Zoey, thank you for the vote on even spacing. I think it looks better too! I know, I should watch what I do with this ol' wreck of a body. But losing 50 pounds in a split second is such a rush.

Karen said...

Roz, yes, everyone does get a vote and thank you for yours!

TufaGirl, Carl thanks you for the vote of confidence. He's trying to work out the bugs with the roof problem.

Sue, I always wanted to be a Size 4, too! It's a small world, isn't it?? :-) And yes, the tractor and I are back together again.

June, Yes, in another five years we should have this done, lol. Thank you for your vote on the even spacing, too. Now I don't feel so alone.

Toni, Paralysis by Analysis. I love it! That is exactly what Carl's problem is. A carpenter stopped in the other night and can't see a problem with the Plan, so we should be good to go.

Carol, thank you for your faith in us, we appreciate it.

africanaussie, I do sit still more than I should, that's how I got to be such a Big Girl, lol. I wish all my blogger friends would be at the reunion instead of some of the people we went to school with. It would be a whole lot more fun!

Lona, Oh, so you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about! You grew up with a perfectionist. I swear the moss is growing on the stones as I wait for him to figure it out. But it's necessary, I guess. LOL

Donna, I hear you. When we started this rock process ten years ago, we knew we'd have to be careful. And we've been lucky. I realize carrying the 50 pounder was stupid, but I guess I didn't realize it was that heavy. Especially with my farm kid background, all the heavy lifting may someday get to me, too, since I've been doing it all my life. I'm back on my trusty tractor this week!

Randy, Oh I didn't say I was pleasant to be around, just ask Poor Carl. I've been working on keeping my mouth shut, though. (That table has a LOT of flaky paint on it yet!)

Darla, I'm being careful and boy, I have a lotsa work to do to get the garden ready for the wedding, too! Pictures? HA, you know there will be pictures.

Rosemary, glad you like the spacing too. And mortar cannot get wet until it sets up, though you're right, the rocks won't melt, lol.

Eileen, What a wonderful vision, sitting in the finished Thingie...oh, that would be fun!

SueB, Elle M. on a day off, oh, you had me giggling! You are MUCH more beautiful than she is! Thank you for the questions about the people at the reunion, you're right, their opinions don't matter. And if I give them something to feel better about, well, then I've done a good deed, right? And rest assured, I've got Cyrus McCormick's tractors back to working for me!

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh my goodness Karen, I'm tired from reading this! You sure work hard. Your stone thingie is going to be amazing someday. I'm sorry you're having so much rainy weather. We've had a gorgeous September here but it's about to change me thinks. :( Take care and I hope you enjoy your reunion on Saturday! Blessings, Pamela