Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kids, Pets, and Sod

The morning started out with me helping my Mom by watching 3 of her kiddos. A pretty typical morning with them accept the youngest two seemed determine to break their diaper records (I'll spare you the details as I don't prefer reliving them). As the 2 youngest slept, Kandra and I bundled up to start the process of picking the grapes off the grapevine while Mom continued to prep the backyard for sod. We took a break for lunch and Steven decided to wear more than he ate, but that's typical of a toddler. Then they all went down for a nap. Steven's didn't last long and eventually we both ended bundled up to go outside and help with the sod (he helped by playing in his car and petting the dogs).

So today my list of DIY projects that I've had a hand in expanded. I learned how to lay sod. Then I proceeded to sod the backyard with my Mother. The first piece of sod went down and Spunky (one of our two dogs) immediately approved by stretching out across the piece of grass. It was really entertaining at first. You see, we laid the first two rows and then we realized that we had forgotten to sprinkle the ironite. So two rows quickly get rolled back up so that we can lay down the mineral before rolling them back out again. The process then begins to get a little easier - well at least the sod laying part. Since in addition to the two dogs we now have a toddler in his spinny seat shaped like a car and an infant in her bouncy seat vying for attention. So little by little the sod goes in - between bottles and entertaining faces and making sure my little brother could see everthing and petting the dogs.

I had just about finished with one side of the yard as Mom worked on leveling the other when it was time to go pick Jeffrey up from school. So you add a hyper 1st grader who wants to run on the grass or stomp on the freshly tilled & leveled dirt to the mix and you can probably guess the kind of chaos that ensues. He is content for a little while to help roll out the sod since that is what Joey (another brother) had shown him how to do. Then Kandra wakes up from her nap and joins in with the running on the grass, stomping on the dirt, and rolling out the sod process. They actually all did really well considering their ages.

So the second side began about the time that Jeffrey and Kandra decided they were cold and wanted to play inside. The second side was not as straight forward as the first. The ground had to be mapped out. In the uppercorner I need to account for 3 foot flower beds (that don't exist yet) from the fences and an 8 inch gravel water line from the house (that also does not yet exist). The first piece of tricky cutting was around the window well. Time to start cutting chunks out to fit just right. Not bad as that was just right angles. Next we add in the angled edge of the swingset area - just an angle, nothing to tricky. Both dogs have taken to laying just one row of sod away from me so that if they whimper cute enough they'll get pet between piece laying. Then enter the meow of my darling Twirp. A rather pathetic, I want all your attention meow and a pawing at the gate. Simultaneously, both dogs jump up to full alert and move to the gate. Rascal (the other adorable kitty) joins in the fun and both cats proceed to the top of the cat house where they can peak over the fence and be pet without allowing the dogs to get them... and so begins the process of walk to the back fence for a new roll of sod, drop sod off, walk a few more feet to fence to pet meowing cats, then whimpering dogs watching meowing cats, then lay sod and trim, then back to get another roll of sod... It was rather cute. It shows me that even though Twirp is getting up their in years he is still the same old Twirp. As a kitten he'd sit on the fence between our yard and the neighbors waving his tail at the yapping weiner dog next door. I think one of his hobbies is teasing dogs. Eventually I make it around the edge of the house to do my oddest shape cut around a single brick. Fun stuff!

Now, just in case their aren't enough distractions. Let's add in sprinkling rain, fading light, and the temperature starting to drop. The little ones have all gone inside as the trek to the sod pile becomes one more by route memory than site. Move the rock and the baby toy that are hazards for ankles and feel around for a sod roll that isn't buried under another. Make your way back to the portion of the yard that is now lit by a flashlight and continue to cut the pieces to the right shapes... like around the rounded flower box. Eventually dinner has been put off for too long and with a few more rows left to go two weary women enter the house.

Chilli is a great way to warm up from the cold as my pants were pretty much soaked through from kneeling in wet grass. After putting the kids to bed Mom finished the last few rows. There is grass in the backyard again!

My Half-Marathon Time

4:39:35 which averages to a little over a 21 minute mile. Considering my friends and I walked the whole thing and I had on the wrong pair of shoes for it. I'm not going to complain (except maybe about the blisters).

I'm really proud of my buddy Mason as this was his first race ever. Combine the distance with the freezing weather and he impressed me greatly.

Just checked weather history.
Race temp at start and for first 5 miles: 20-25 degrees F.
Race temp second set of 5 miles: 25-35 degrees F.
Race temp last 3 miles: 35-39 degrees F.
So below freezing for the bulk of the race...


*happy dance*

I completed a HALF MARATHON!!!

I am so sore! I'll post more about it tomorrow.