Today was one of those crazy days I wouldn't want to repeat.
I had done the grocery shopping fairly early. I was running a bit late but decided to head over to the mall, not least because I wanted to stock up on sun screen. I also got in a fairly short workout at the gym. However, I was fairly sure I would I be working out in the front yard, so I wasn't looking to totally exhaust myself.
I then set out for the parking lot near Danforth, taking my son with me. I was renting a van, since I hoped to pick up some paving stones and ideally a concrete bench. I brought my son along for a bit of extra muscle. Traffic was kind of heavy but I still made it to the Lowes in reasonable time. It was a bit frustrating in that the carts were on one end and the garden centre on another. The black mulch was more expensive than at Home Depot, but it didn't make sense to try to get to both places (and the black mulch had been running very low at the HD anyway). Most frustrating is that they didn't have any paving stones or the bench, despite my having looked on-line. They said it was at their Warden store, which was in Scarborough!
I was quite annoyed by this point but decided I just wanted to get everything done at once, rather than wait for another day. So I called ZipCar and extended the rental for another hour. Fortunately, no one had rented the van later that afternoon. Traffic was so crazy getting into Scarborough, but it wasn't so bad after that. But Scarborough is just so sprawling and suburban. I couldn't quite believe all the enormous strip malls out that way. The Warden Lowes was totally packed and it was hard to get what we wanted. What was somewhat unfortunate is that I didn't see the paving stones ahead of time and just picked some out of the catalogue. It turned out they were way too big and too heavy, so I then had to exchange them, but that meant extra delay. The other thing that is especially frustrating is that the way the concrete benches were shipped, there are grooves in the concrete from the plastic dividers. I'll see if I can essentially sand this out and then put on some concrete sealant, which I need to do anyway. Given that every step of the way took longer than it should have, I was running behind schedule.* It was already 3, and the van was due at 3:30!
Traffic was so bad, that I decided to ditch Danforth and go down Dundas. I got slightly turned around at the Kingston/Dundas split, but eventually made it back. Indeed, traffic was much lighter on Dundas. We pulled up and fortunately there was a spot across the street. We quickly unloaded the van, then dropped it off. It was 10 minutes late. Also, I didn't have time to fill it up with gas, as I had wanted to. I think in the end, I was in the grace period and they didn't charge me any extra. It was kind of stressful all the way around, but I didn't get in an accident and nothing was damaged in transit.
The day wasn't quite over though. Since my son's birthday is coming up, I decided he probably should have a new bike. So I got him a bike, and then a new helmet, lock, lights, etc. My poor credit card was kind of screaming by the end. I told him this was his birthday, graduation and most of Christmas...
Then we walked home with the bike. After I rehydrated, I started on the front yard. I'll just show a few photos of the progress.
The new bush is a burning bush. They are generally very pretty in the fall, when they turn bright red. I honestly don't know how much more I will plant. Mostly I wanted to get rid of the grass, which looked pretty bad last year and absolutely horrible this year, which is why I put down all the black mulch. I'll have to dig down and reset several of the paving stones, so they don't rock. I'll make sure this is where I want the bench (and I don't bump it with my bike or the garbage cans), then dig that in a bit and caulk it so the top doesn't come off. So it was a productive but exhausting day. I'm actually kind of tempted to take Monday off just to recover, but I don't think I can do that.
* To try to speed things up, I carried some of the stones myself, then apparently Hulked out, since my jeans split! Unbelievable. I was hoping to go to the store in a couple of weeks to see if I was one size down, but I guess I'll have to go tonight.