Friends, Food, and Yard Work

As the title suggests, its been a good weekend filled with good friends, good food, and a bit of yard work sprinkled in. Friday night Jessica and the kids picked me up from work, the the five of us headed out to West Seattle to the home of our good friends Leon, Jodi, and their son Miles. It was only a few weeks ago that they came to our house for dinner, so this time it was our turn to go and visit them. I was immediately struck by the gorgeous view of the water and found myself gazing up endless ferries throughout the night crossing the Puget Sound toward Vashon Island.

The kids all had a blast playing together, and of course Jessica and I always love spending time with Leon and Jodi. They are some of our absolute favorite people in the world and I always look forward to hanging out with them. Like myself, Leon is the cook in his house, and he certainly didn’t disappoint with dinner. We enjoyed barbequed chicken, corn on the cob, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, and salad, then we finished things off with angel food cake topped with macerated berries, homemade whip cream, and vanilla ice cream. Definitely a nice way to start off our weekend!

Saturday morning I took Ava to soccer practice, and all I can say is that it was a tale of two halves. There was an obstacle course set up for the kids to dribble their soccer balls through, and for the first half of class Ava was the front-runner. She lead the whole team and was doing amazing. The at the halfway point she flipped a switch and told me that she was tired and that her stomach was “making hungry noises.” This was due to the fact that we got off to a late start in the morning and didn’t have time to eat breakfast before soccer. I was planning on making breakfast when we got home, but not eating didn’t fare well for her, and she basically disengaged at that point. It’s all right though; lesson learned. No more soccer without having breakfast first.

Later that morning I decided to get to work on the dog run. If you don’t know the backstory, last summer we fenced off the north side of our house so Bella could have a dog run, however it didn’t work out because Bella kept digging under the fence to get out. She has never had a digging problem before this, but apparently old dogs can learn new tricks. Since then we’ve had to keep Bella out of the dog run, ironically, and the whole area has turned into a disaster. That side of the house doesn’t get any sunshine, so its just turned into a bunch of moss and weeds.

I’ve been thinking for a while about how to fix this area and I’ve finally come up with a plan. I started off by using the weed whacker to tear up everything back there. Once I ran completely out of wire (leaving my weed whacker useless) I decided it was time to start digging. I wheeled our huge yard waste bin back there, grabbed my shovel, and got to it. My plan was to dig everything up until the yard waste bin was filled. I knew I wouldn’t be able to dig up the entire area, but my goal was to finish half of it. By the time the bin was about 90% full I was exhausted. My arms felt like noodles, there were blisters on my hands, and my back muscles were as tight as an undersized wetsuit. The worst part, however, was yet to come. Although I have filled that yard waste bin with grass plenty of times, I completely underestimated how heavy it would be when filled with dirt. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it weighed at least 500 pounds. To make matters worse, the ground in our backyard is very soft, meaning the bin had already sunk a couple inches.

I put all my strength into it and it barely budged. I pulled and pulled to the point where my elbow started hurting and I was concerned that if I kept pulling I might dislocate it. I changed my form, got down deep and used my legs as much as possible, and then finally I was able to wheel it from the north side of the house out of the dog run over to the barbeque. I knew there was no way I could get it all the way to the driveway by myself, so I came to Jessica to ask for help. With her help we were able to get it to the south side of the house, but then we ran into our next obstacle, which was getting it through the narrow passage along the fence.

There wasn’t enough room for two of us to pull it through, so I was on my own again. The ground over there is ridiculously soft, so the damn thing started sinking again. Jessica went around to the other side with a shovel and did her best to prop the wheel out of there, but I just couldn’t pull the thing over the paver stones. Luckily my next door neighbor saw what was going on and came over to lend a hand. With his help we were finally able to get the bin up onto the driveway, and I learned a valuable lesson. Next week, when I’m digging up more ground over there, I’m going to use a big bucket, and every time I fill that bucket I’ll take it over to the driveway and empty it into the yard waste bin. It may involve more walking, but should be much less exhausting in the long run.

Once I’m done digging up all the grass I’m going to rake it smooth and spray Round Up all over the place in order to kill everything. Next I’m going to put down a black tarp, then fill in the entire area with gravel. Having the tarp there will prevent weeds and plants from growing through. Finally, I’m going to line the entire base of the fence with paver stones. This will make it look nice, and will prevent Bella from digging her way out (I hope). If this doesn’t work I don’t know what I’m going to do.. Could be the end of Bella 😉

Not surprisingly I was exhausted for the rest of the day and ended up falling asleep on the couch while watching The Masters. I woke up an hour later with my head covered in stickers. Obviously the girls decided to take advantage of my exhaustion by sticker-bombing me, but I was out so cold I never noticed a thing.

Later that evening our friend Laurel and her boyfriend Mark came over to our house for dinner. We had a great time visiting with them, and dinner turned out nice as well. We had salad, then I made a Shrimp Scampi pasta with tomatoes, capers, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bell peppers, and goat cheese. We washed it all down with white wine and champagne. It was a great night for all.

Today we’re going to relax at home and watch the final round of The Masters for most of the day, but we’ll be leaving slightly before it finishes because we’ve been invited to a barbeque at the house of one of my new coworkers. He and I have become friends in my short time there so I’m excited to get our families together. I know the invitation was extended to several of my teammates so hopefully a bunch of them will show up. Should be a nice way to finish off the weekend.

It won’t be long before Grandpa Rick arrives for his visit, then immediately after that Uncle Joel and Aunt Melanie will be here. Definitely a lot to look forward to, but for now here are some recent photos of the kids, including some from the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt last Sunday.

Ava being told she can’t eat any more Easter candy
Ava being told she can’t eat any more Easter candy

The girls in their new Elsa dresses
The girls in their new Elsa dresses

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