Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Text Talk and Cementing Our Plans

When I first met Tammy over nine years ago I was cellphoneless. I'd recently equipped myself with a pager but I didn't have much need for a cellphone, nor did I have the money. My first phone was a Qualcomm; the same kind Tammy owned. It was big by today's standards but it was state of the art when I bought it. I can't say that my current Envy is a whole lot smaller.

Until recently it used to be that I'd go days without so much as turning my phone on. Sometimes I'd find a message from a day or two before and I'd hurry to return the call so I wouldn't be perceived as being rude. I suppose I'm not much for talking on my phone and when I do it's mostly done while I'm in my truck, usually to or from work. My phone habits have been slowly evolving as I pretty much carry my Envy with me now wherever I go and it's always on. Surprisingly enough I use it mostly for text messaging with Tammy and Rachel. We talk some but not nearly as much as we text. That seems to work for us. Funny, because it wasn't long ago that I was asking Rachel why she would text so much instead of talking. Talking is easier...right? Maybe. Maybe not.

For me the new found value in texting is in not interrupting somebody. They can answer and respond to your text in their time. This works especially well between Tammy and I when she's working. She can retrieve and respond to my messages to her between her nurse-line calls. The quiet beep of her cellphone is the only intrusion she notices. We're much more inclined to stay in touch with each other throughout the day using text messages.

I took yesterday off from work to be around when the guys from mdconcrete came to pour our driveway. Having your driveway poured isn't something that happens too often and I wanted to be there to watch, oh, and to video of course. I got up early and stocked the cooler with ice and Gatorade. The guys showed up at 7:00 with the first of two cement trucks arriving an hour later. They quickly went over the surface one last time with a compactor then laid out the re-bar.

They're allowed 7 minutes of offload time per yard of cement in the truck. Anything over that becomes expensive and chews into their profits. Our job took roughly 20 yards of cement.

Watching them work was like watching choreography. Each person had their job to do and a place to be at the right moment. No doubt, the fact that there's a limited amount of time to work with the wet cement provides some real incentive.

The concrete goes down looking rough but with each step in the process it's transformed to a more finished look. The backs of some of their shirts said 'Concrete Artist at work' and yeah, I'd have to agree.

Tammy and I talked about scratching our initials and putting the pups paw prints in the concrete in some inconspicuous spot but after watching the guys take great care in all the finer details of the finishing work we couldn't bring ourselves to do it.

They were done by 11:00 and it was then that a bit of worry began to set in. We've got some good kids in our neighborhood but what if? What if one of them ran across the still wet driveway? Last week I was walking Toby and Allie when the local sullen goth kid threw a pack of firecrackers toward the bottom of his driveway as we walked by totally freaking out Allie. I politely told him how neither I nor the pups appreciated him doing that. Maybe this kid would walk by my drying driveway and decide to do something else I didn't appreciate? There was the possibility that a stray dog would run through the cement and leave its marks. Were these valid concerns? Probably not but I was having them.

I went inside to upload the video I'd taken and came back out an hour later to find that the yellow warning tape they'd placed at the end of the driveway was broken and laying out in the street. I thought for sure that my fears had been realized but no, the driveway was fine. The wind must have snapped the tape.

I spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage while keeping watch over my drying baby. It was a good excuse to spend a few hours in the garage giving it some much needed attention. I knew I was out of danger when Matt arrived around 6:00pm and walked up the driveway. He'd come to cut expansion joints in it to help keep it from cracking. Prior to him walking on it only the pups had run across it.

I told Matt I was uploading the videos I'd taken of them to YouTube. He wanted to know if he could link to the videos on his website. Absolutely. I told him I'd put together a DVD of the footage I got from beginning to end. He said that that was something he's wanted to do but it simply wasn't practical to expect someone to do it or try and use a tripod in the process. I told him that it's a bit of a hobby of mine and that I was glad to help.

Now my work begins. I went out last night and bought some landscape lights for the area around the front walk. When the cement has had a few days to cure I'd like to begin work on rebuilding the wall around the flower bed next to the walk. Matt would like me to take some video of the finished product to add to what I've already taken.

There aren't enough hours in the day lately. It's not as though I've been the one doing the labor for the projects we've had done around our home but still I'm feeling like I could use a day off. Fortunately for me I've got some vacation time in a couple weeks which I'll use to wrap this project up. After that I'll have no choice but to be lazy because I'm out of money.


Tim said...

I know it's nitpicky, and although I realize that "Text Talk and Concreting Our Plans" doesn't really work, they were actually pouring "concrete" for your driveway.

The cement is the binder in concrete which contains several elements.

Yeah, I know: it's very Cliff Claven-like...

Kevin said...

You know...as I was typing that out I was thinking about the words 'cement' and 'concrete' and wondering if there was any significant difference between their definitions. Now I know. Danku.