A never-ending story

I really tried to wait to post about this project until it was a done deal. But it feels like it’s never going to be a done deal, soooooo….

It was with great anticipation in May when we spoke to our contractor (he of the Wall!) about extending the wall a bit and adding a small patio to really finish off our driveway area.

Originally, the area looked like this. Someone (maybe the owners before us) had put in a flagstone patio — it was OK, but not great (bad picture, sorry).

original patio

For most of the 4+ years we’ve lived here, the area has been an eyesore — a dumping ground for junk from whatever project we happened to be working on. Here, in the lower right corner, you can see it’s where we piled all the old tile from the kitchen floor when we remodeled the kitchen. (Actually the kitchen was probably done at this point…but the tile pile, that stayed for months and months.)


There was barely any time at all in the last 4 years that that spot, just under the breakfast room window and around the corner, wasn’t full of crap.


So, it was with much joy and celebration that I heard the contractor repeatedly say “no problem” when we explained how we wanted to extend the wall and add a (real) patio. Mike had even started it by temporarily laying in some block.

Mike's wall

That was in May.

It looked like this for the next 3 months.

In 13 hours it will be October. And it’s still not finished (although our daydreams of sipping margaritas on a warm summer evening at our new bistro table on our new patio certainly are — for this year anyway).

But it’s oh so close. So close I couldn’t wait anymore. Here’s how it looked over the months.









Those last few pictures of the patio pavers going in span 3 weeks alone (after waiting a month for the pavers to come in so they could start).

And we’re still not done — they still have to come back to add the sand between the pavers to lock them all together. They’ve had to do that for the last week.

You know, I’m used to things taking a long time when Mike and I are doing it ourselves. We have limited time, limited energy, and we don’t do this for a living, so things take a long time. I’m (sort of) resigned to that. It’s why we have a half-finished powder room waiting for us to start again once the weather turns too cold to continue working on our half-finished sunroom. It’s why we’re also simultaneously trying to rebuild our collapsed fire ring and replace the section of fence that runs along the side of the house near the new patio.

But when we’re paying a lot of money to “professionals,” I don’t expect to have to wait 4 months for a project that could be done in 2 weeks tops.

Obviously I need to adjust my expectations. (That happens a lot.)

But why dwell on it? There’s always next year for sipping margaritas on a warm summer evening at our new bistro table on our new patio. (Sing it with me: Next year, next year, I love ya, next year —  you’re always a year away….)

Patience: A minor form of despair disguised as a virtue.
~ Ambrose Bierce


  1. RL said,

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    How about Irish coffees or Hot Toddies with an inexpensive chimenea while the leaves fall out there. Could be nice…

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    That does sound nice. We have plans to add a fountain on the side, but a chimenea for the cooler weather sounds really inviting! Mmmmm…smores….

  3. mel said,

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 7:20 am

    what a pretty little spot! I could never have envisioned it so lovely, but it utterly exceeded my expectations. the wait, while painful, appears to have been mightily worthwhile. I LOVE it. and yes to the chimenea idea!

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, October 2, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Thanks, Mel! It really is a small area, but we’re excited by the idea of having a little nook on the side with a bench and a fountain — now perhaps with a chimenea for fall — and lots of potted plants. Bistro table will be under the breakfast room window in front (just need the barista and handsome waiter [sorry Mike] to serve those lattes).

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