Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hard workin' holiday!

So rather than our usual fun and frolic plans for the 4th of July holiday of heading out to a friend's place and partying it up, we chose to divert from that course of action this year. This time we went down to N. Austin to help our my brother-in-law and his family. They just bought a nice house on some acreage and needed some assistance with the work to be done.

We got there and were thrilled to learn that they had just gotten INDOOR plumbing, well toilets at least, a few days before. There were no indoor showers however. They had an outdoor shower set up by a tree in the backyard. So every evening we would all brave the freezing water coming from the hose and take quick showers. (In the day the water changed from this icy "goodness" to near scalding hot. I found this out one day when I went to try and spray my hair down to cool off from the heat. OUCH!) Apparently before our arrival, the only toilet was a lovely place they named "poop rock". Can't say I'm not glad I missed that!!

We took our pop-up camper down there and set it all up Thursday night. Yet, we never slept in it once. They had a large camper there already where they'd lived before they got furniture delivered to the house. But it worked out alright overall. It gave us a quiet place to retreat to at night and plenty of cool air conditioning. I also took the opportunity to clean our camper all up. My mother-in-law, knowing we had a camper, got us a set of camping dishes. Too bad she didn't bother to ask if we needed then as we already had a full set in the camper of the exact thing she'd purchased. Ah well, its the thought that counts. Right?

Over the course of the four days we were there we put up walls, installed a shower, put in an attic fan, dug holes with a jackhammer (only about 4 inches of top soil and then solid limestone below), filled in holes, painted trim and doors, installed a dryer and vent, put in insulation (in the walls AND attic), installed wiring/wall outlets, and helped lay a slab for the hot tub. The last job was truly the MOST daunting, in my opinion. We got started on it around 9:30-10:00 at NIGHT. Which was honestly better than had we done it in the 100 degree plus weather we were blessed with by day. We had a cement mixer, 56 80-lb bags of concrete, an a tractor to work with. We marked out the setting and leveled it as best we could for the pad. Then we had Kyle (my hubby) in the tractor (taking the cement from the mixer to the pad location), Me operating the mixer (tilting it whichever way was called for and holding it in position), Brian (my brother-in-law) on the dry concrete bags (pouring 4 bags at a time of concrete mix into the mixer), Shawna (Brian's sister-in-law) on water detail (adding the necessary water to the mixer, spraying it down between loads, and spraying down the tractor), and Jamie (Brian's wife) on spreading duty (using a garden hoe to spread the cement in the tractor when I dumped it, and also spreading it into the form when it was delivered to the pad). The whole process took us until 4:00 IN THE MORNING to complete. And even still we ran out of concrete and just had to try and settle for what we had. We ended up pulling from the middle to the outside edges and trying to make a path of about two feet all the way around. Later on Brian is going to go back and add either rocks, sand, or more concrete to the middle section before moving the hot tub into position.
We were EXHAUSTED by the time we left! But it also felt good to get in there and do some good hard work. We'll likely make more trips there this summer and fall, as it is going to be a while before its all done. Most of the time there Josh, Kyle, and I spent helping out with various projects that needed tending to at the given time. Hannah helped by provided the valuable babysitting services for all the non-working age children that were there (three boys ages 10, 9, and 7, as well as one girl age 5).
I also found when we got home, actually discovered it after the cement party that I was covered from waist down in chigger bites! Ugh! It kept waking me up both nights/mornings itching like crazy. Once we got home we all took nice warm baths/showers and applied nail polish to our bites. I still work up several times itching. So I grabbed the keys, hopped in the car, and headed to Walgreens in search of some hydrocortisone cream and/or some anti-itch spray. I found both and got both! So now I'm all slathered up and set. And I think I might even be getting sleepy enough to drift back off to dreamland for a couple hours before I have to get Josh up to mow the yard.


A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Now that's what I call a working holiday. Am so exhausted now, after reading it! Glad you knew about the clear nail-polish chigger remedy. If that doesn't work, try Calumine (sp?) or liquid benadryl. One of those should fix you up.

Now get some sleep!

~Thought's By Dena~ said...

oh man what a busy holiday week-end you had!!! Hope the bites stop itching soon!!!!

Susan said...

Hey I spent my first time in Texas two weeks ago - meeting for work in Dallas - it was beautiful - not that I got to see much.

But damn, how the hell do you people live and breathe in that heat? It was over 100 when we were there!!

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