Drinking and devising don’t mix | AspenTimes.com
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Drinking and devising don’t mix

Janet Urquhart

Who needs a gym when you’ve got a house?All those schmucks on Red Mountain who’ve incorporated home fitness facilities into their humble abodes could use that space for more important stuff, like parking an extra Hummer, if they’d just fire the gardeners/housekeepers/maintenance staff and care for their home themselves. This would circumvent the need for regular trips to the tanning salon, as well.I’ve become a weekend warrior and I’m not even leaving the yard.Last summer, I distinctly recall rolling my eyes when a friend declined a weekend hiking invitation, even though he was sans wife and kids, because he had to stay home and erect a fence around his backyard.Let’s just say I couldn’t relate, having refused to tether myself to so much as a flower pot for some time. For me, yard work has meant occasionally dragging a lawn chair into a suitable spot in one.Now, suddenly, I’ve got my own ball and chain, only they resemble a garden hose and a lawnmower.I’ve spent the past decade reveling in drought conditions. No rain again today? Awesome, I’ll take a bike ride.Now, my evenings are spent positioning a hose and sprinkler head strategically about a modest plot of crispy grass and cursing the endlessly blue skies. The bicycle is gathering dust. So is the furniture.The square footage of my living quarters has more than doubled – you know, to like 900 square feet and change – and the time required to clean it has increased exponentially, as well.Now I understand why home ownership and parenthood so frequently go hand in hand – people procreate so they can make their kids vacuum and mow, just like my parents assigned these chores to me.Speaking of chores, going to a gym is out. I’ve given up on barbells altogether in favor of dead-lifting awkwardly shaped chunks of flagstone.The construction of a patio off our cramped back deck seemed like a good idea at the time. As I recall, we were sitting on the deck, drinking beer at the time. I must have had more than one, since I apparently signed on to a plan to dig up an expanse of the yard and transplant the sod to the other side of the property, where the existing landscaping was apparently transplanted from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl, circa 1935.We wound up digging up enough rocks to open our own quarry. Now I know why we call our environs the Rocky Mountains.Then came laying out the flagstone. First, we assembled the patio on the driveway, where we spent an entire day picking up and moving around pieces, trying to make them fit together and chiseling whatever didn’t. It’s sort of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, only none of the pieces are actually intended to match up, and they all weigh at least 50 pounds.Then, they all have to be picked up again and moved to the backyard for placement in the actual patio. By the time it’s finished, I will have had a hand in picking up and moving two tons of rock, literally, twice.I think we should refrain from drinking beer on the new patio, lest we devise additional improvements while under the influence.Tomorrow, Janet Urquhart launches into a third straight weekend devoted to the patio. E-mail your condolences to janet@aspentimes.com.


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