Thursday, August 30, 2012

Landscaping Day 16: Front Yard Time

Yesterday the landscapers started on the front yard. Unfortunately so did the next door neighbours. ><

Starting on the outside fence...

View of the side where a gate will go.

View of the wrought iron. I love it!

Front yard work! The tree has been moved and raised. There will be daylillies around it. The corner will be filled with river rock and grasses. :]

Sad part... the neighbour next door started working on the stuff between our houses. I thought that it would be river rock on either side of a single strip of mulch. Instead.. well.. yeah...

I've had enough trouble with neighbours... I think Ian and I are going to give them this one. When the grasses go in you probably won't notice the striping...... /sigh Blegh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Landscaping Day 15: So Close!

There was lots of progress made yesterday! For the first time, we could get a clear picture of what the finished product will look like. We're very happy minus the threat of a lawsuit. It starting to feel worth all the crap. :] Here's what is left to do.

They've enclosed the patio except the section of lattice work that needs to be popped in. The waterfall's liner needs to be cut and finished off in stone. The patio edge next to the waterfall needs to have the filler stuff put in as well. The extra pieces of flagstone have really confused us... I don't think it's "done" in a sense of layout/flow. I love the direction it is going though.

Looking towards the back left corner. They've put the cedar posts in and one post of wrought iron. We noticed the safety cones and giant rock next to it. Putting two and two together... They must have been digging down for a post and run into it. There is a big hole where the safety cones are, covered with rebar and wood. I suspect today will focus on filling the hole in and continuing on.

Looking back towards the house... When the neighbour behind us put up his deck, our backyard felt very small. We were expecting this because we live in a new subdivision. It helps to have a corner lot but I thought the backyard would feel tiny and closed in. I am happy with the landscaping we chose because it feel so big now. The patio is huge and there will be space for a "lounge" area and a dining area. The wrought iron of the fence will hopefully make it feel open but with privacy.

The absolute best part... Ian and I were eating in the dinette. I was running the waterfall and I turned to look back at it. A bunch of birds flew out of it and up onto the fence. A couple of them flew back down and stood on the flagstone with the water running over their feet. Ladies and gentlemen... we have a giant bird bath. Awesome. :>

Landscaping Day 14: Rainy Day - Boo

The landscapers couldn't get much done on Monday. They made some spraypaint marks on the ground and started up on the fence again. But the rain came shortly after they arrived. Bummer.

*Note the ladder left on Bad Neighbour B's "land". Hehe. :]

View from the back corner of the side yard.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Max Quacks: HONK!

Max is checking out the local wildlife. :] I love his Mid-50s look... baseball jersey... matching crocs. Awesome. Better than the old man sandals that Ian would like launch a holy war on. :P

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Really Good Laugh

So awesome. I see Ian trying to coerce our future children.

Oh Screw That...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Landscaping Day 13: A Good Fence Makes Good Neighbours

The title of this post is what our next door neighbour said to us when we first discussed a fence. He has been anything but a good neighbour and has also recruited the person behind him in his bitter campaign. We are trying to not let this hurt the fantastic experience we have been having with creating a beautiful backyard. Today we moved one step closer when Heritage began to install the fence panels. Just having 1 1/2 panels up has made a world of difference. When that side is fully enclosed and the angry phone calls to our landscapers stop, Ian and I will really start to enjoy it.


We went for a walk tonight like normal... but this time we headed out a bit late. The sun was mostly down and it was pretty dark in some patches. We were walking on our normal path when Ian kicked something. He didn't mean to kick it.. he just hit it with his shoe while taking his normal stride. I noticed it because the thing he kicked seemed to have some weight to it. Here it is:

He accidentally kicked a toad!! Or a frog... whichever it is he accidentally kicked! :( We were both completely traumatized. We spent the next few minutes trying to coax it back to life. It eventually jumped, scaring the poop out of us. We decided he was fine and continued on our way.. Only to find that our path home was literally covered in toads/frogs of all sizes... It was like a toad/frog mine field!! We were super careful and made it home without harming more of the wildlife. 

In the future, we will be much more careful if we head out later than normal. The toads/frogs like to come out to play, especially around the pond. :)


Privacy. It's a simple thing. I didn't really value it THAT much until last week. I discovered last week that people can care so much about sticks of wood that they are willing to ruin any relationship. I discovered this week that people can care so much about a couple of inches of land, that it overshadows the birth of a baby. I guess I have a different perspective on life than these petty people. It's a fence. Not that big of a deal.

Anyway, I'm happy for the bit of privacy we now have. We can shut out the bad neighbours and enjoy our lovely piece of property.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Landscaping Day 12: Stalking Landscapers

I worked from home today. Which means for the first time, I was able to stalk our landscapers. :) It also means that I was home when I got the "I have bad news for you" phone call from the landscaping company. More neighbour crap. I don't understand people. I really don't. The bad neighbour next door went to the neighbour directly behind him and wrongly convinced him that one of our posts was on his property. We have done our due diligence. Before today I didn't want to go outside because it was such an awkward situation. After today, I'M PISSED OFF. Do these people have nothing better to do? How about checking your facts before causing issues? Hell.. how about coming to the damn door to talk about it with me directly instead of bothering my hard working landscapers? Grow a pair and ring the doorbell. I was sitting right there in my office looking straight at the idiot. There's no way he didn't see me. Then I could have told him he should take a second and look at his Surveyor's Property Report. I have mine right here along with the fact that I paid for a land survey. He has a dinky little property and the post is not on his land. I'm done being nice.


On with the good stuff! They made a lot of progress with the waterfall today.. and I think we almost have the final layout! The water flows out of the top down onto 2 flagstones. The rest is a little bubbly creek. I think it will be beautiful once the water clears up. I can't wait to be sitting out there.

EVERYTHING is covered in the dust from them cutting the stones. I think I'm most excited to see the stonework when it's back to its true color. When water is flowing over the flagstones, they are a nice dark gray. I love it!

Landscaping Day 11: Let The Water Flow!

We raced home on Wednesday... and found a coiled up plug coming from the waterfall..... :) It's about half way done.. and I love it!

View from the back corner of the property.

And finally.. a video!

Landscaping Day 10: Brittany Makes Trouble

I was in Toronto on this day and requested many, many updates from Ian, who was working from home. He told me that the waterfall wasn't going to be very high... and that's when I made trouble. I asked for it to be bumped up a little... They did but my landscaper made a good point. Any higher and it would look like the waterfall was coming out of the fence. I'll stop making trouble now... I can leave that up to crappy neighbours. :P

Close up of the pump area and "grid box" as I call it. :)

Landscaping Day 9: Bad Picture Day

I had to go to a work meeting in Toronto for a couple days. Ian was in charge of taking pictures. ... Yeah. He tried. :)

The landscapers started prepping the waterfall!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Otters Are Awesome

  cute animals - Stacking Cups  

 This is Nellie the Otter who lives at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, WA, and she is a cup stacking master! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Landscaping Day 8: PATIO!!

This day did not start out good. Our neighbours stated in the beginning "A good fence makes good neighbours". They are being anything but good neighbours. They want it a certain way... and they don't care what the city code is... or how much it could cost us. They nailed the coffin of my feelings about them by yelling at our extremely nice, patient landscapers. It's no secret that Ian and I do not know the first thing about landscaping, city codes, grades or anything dealing with construction. That is why we are paying a significant amount to a landscaper who has been in business since 1985. I am so grateful they have been able to field the questions for us. As well as bear the brunt of the anger coming from the "I know everything, and the landscapers who have been in business 20+ years know nothing" neighbour. The only thing I can say is that we have tried. We tried to compromise with them. But as soon as the words "We would have to rip up your patio..." came out of my landscapers mouth... I was done. Personally, we both just wanted the landscaper to do it from the beginning. I would also like just a little perspective for this whole situation. It's a goddamn fence. Not the end of the world. We gave them plenty of notice this was happening. If you don't like it, put up a fence next to ours. Just don't touch ours. :)

The stone patio was finished on Friday. It was so exciting! Even though Ian and I didn't feel like being home to enjoy it (yes, we like to avoid confrontation AT ALL COSTS).. it was still nice to see the pattern laid out. Right now it's covered in a sand that they used to fill it, so it's hard to see the true color. But it's a mix of light and dark grey with a banding of red stone near the edge. I love it!

Landscaping Day 7: Wall Capped

After they put the caps down on the retaining wall, it started to feel like a real patio. The stairs were also in. 

Landscaping Day 6: Coming Together

On this day we got to see the actual shape of the patio. This was overwhelming for me. If you tell me something is 18 feet long... I think.. "How many Ian's could lay down in that space?". I find it really hard to visualize measurements. So when I actually saw the size of the patio.... holy crap... it's huge! The waterfall is going to be much bigger than I expected. The best part though... This landscaping isn't cheap. Seeing the almost final size of everything made me feel like it's definitely worth the price we are paying.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Are You Hungary? (Mug #43)

The president of Ian's company recently went on a big tour of Europe. She was able to pick us up a mug from Hungary! This one is a bit special as it has the name of the city is in a different colour. It's brown and green.

Landscaping Day 5: Surprise Progress

We left the house this morning hoping that the dark clouds wouldn't rain TOO much on our parade. We came home expecting nothing to be done... but the landscapers had definitely been here! The wall on the right side is almost complete. As you can see, there is a huge mound of gravel in the back. It's super muddy from the rains but they seem to have gotten a lot done. 

Here is a view from the side. 

You might be able to see some boxes in the front of the bobcat. I hopped through the mud to find out what they were. Apparently, they are the parts for the pondless waterfall. Awesome!

It isn't supposed to rain tomorrow - much. Hopefully we can answer the same question that Ian has asked me 10 times since we've been home. "What are they going to do next???"

Landscaping Day 4: Forming The Patio

On Monday the patio started to take shape. They had started the retaining wall on one side and laid down more gravel. There was an error made with the post in the right corner. It was sitting in front of the neighbour's fence. We have permission to directly tie in to it. This wouldn't have had an effect on the patio but the planter in the corner would have been slightly more narrow. The landscapers moved it on this day and now everything lines up correctly.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Landscaping Day 3: Rain Rain Go Away

It's unthinkable that I would EVER say that... but I am! I am working from home today and was looking forward to seeing things get done in the backyard. The landscapers were here and had started to lay down a couple blocks for the retaining wall. But about an hour in it started to rain. They stuck around for another hour or so but it hasn't stopped yet. /sadface Probably won't have another update until next week... as this is the forecast for today and tomorrow. :(

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Landscaping Day 2: Posts!

Still doing the no-rain dance much to the disappointment of our neighbours. The post holes and posts have been done for the right side of the fence. There is more base material for the patio and a few pallets of retaining wall blocks. Along with the bobcat, there is a pallet supporting one of those stamping machine thingys. Realllll technical term. =P

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Landscaping Day 1: Grass Be Gone

Tiny bit bitter. I had been keeping a little bit of this grass alive. Apparently it was in vain. Now we have a bobcat taking up residence in our backyard. Fun!

Super exciting though... Check out the before and afters.

Updated Landscaping Plans!

Click Here for a larger view.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Big Easy Mug (Mug #42)

Ian's Uncle Joe and Aunt Deborah visited N'awlins awhile ago and picked us up this mug. We recently saw them at the Clancy Family Reunion and they brought it with them. Thanks!!

Thank You Steve Jobs

Today Ian and I went to see the Pixar movie Brave. It was fantastic. We stayed through the credits because I had heard there was a little something at the end like there always is (there was, it was awesome). As we were watching the credits roll by, this came up:

Queue Ian and I sobbing in the near empty movie theatre. It was enough to make both of us cry. He joins a list of people gone too soon. Without him though... we wouldn't have gotten to see this picture:

Without the "Stay Hungry... Stay Foolish" motto of Steve Jobs, I wouldn't be able to see the joy that Max has for being able to see GMa. It brings our too far apart family just a little bit closer. /sniffle

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I Love The Hitchhiking Ghosts!

Behind-the-scenes on an Annie Leibovitz shoot for Disney:

In this handout image provided by Disney Parks, Actor Russell Brand poses for acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz as Captain Hook from Disney's "Peter Pan" on Nov. 3, 2011 near Newhall, Calif. The new "Disney Dream Portrait," commissioned by Disney Parks for their ongoing celebrity advertising campaign which debuted in 2007, is one of two new images unveiled Aug. 1, 2012 by Disney Parks. The Leibovitz image, which will appear in several fall magazines, is entitled, "Where every moment leaves you hungry for more."

Actors Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel pose for acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz as the comically spooky "Hitchhiking Ghosts" from Disney's landmark theme park attraction, the Haunted Mansion on March 5, near Lebec, Calif.

Actors Jack Black, Will Ferrell and Jason Segel pose for acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz as the comically spooky "Hitchhiking Ghosts" from Disney's landmark theme park attraction, the Haunted Mansion on March 5, 2012 near Lebec, Calif.

Actor Jason Segel and photographer Annie Leibovitz on the set during her photo shoot of the "Hitchhiking Ghosts" from Disney's landmark theme park attraction, the Haunted Mansion on March 5, 2012 near Lebec, Calif.
By John Makely,

Rarely do we get a behind-the-scenes look at one of Annie Leibovitz's photo shoots. Even though these images were taken a few months ago, and have now been released for publicity purposes, I thought that other photographers might appreciate a peek at what it takes to pull off a big shoot with top celebrities.