Patio Progress: Phase 2

We left you a couple of weeks ago as we were shoveling gravel into our patio area, with only the walkway complete. Only a few days -- and sore muscles -- later, it looked like this:

The next step in the process called for tamping down the gravel to make a solid and level surface for us to build our patio. But we decided it would be too hard for us to tamp our own gravel (which would require heavy machinery, a truck, and a healthy back - of which we are in short supply) so we hired it done. This is where I will spare you the boredom of looking at a photo of tamped gravel.

The following weekend we were again blessed with wonderful weather and the assistance manpower and guidance of the Piersons. We soon discovered that the most difficult and tedious process in the whole patio operation is in the prepping and framing. Thanks to Denny's ingenuity, we got 'er done.
We started laying our pavers by the gate in a herringbone pattern. Tessa and Leo headed up the brick-laying, while Evan stayed on top of those sport's scores (notice the background) ... ; )
The holes are where we needed to cut bricks to fit. That was Evan's job (since his bad back kept him off the ground).

We all had fun pitching in ...


Even Kate ...

And by the end of the evening, we had the walkway and the angled portion done!


Stay tuned for stages 3 and 4 ... I'm a little behind on recapped our patio progress. We are actually about 99 percent done right now!

Adventures with the Piano Man

The secret's out -- here's a peak at what we were up to Saturday night. Shhh! Don't tell Evan's physical therapist!

No worries, Evan wasn't actually lifting the piano (much...) because he is currently recovering from a back injury. But late Saturday night, and I mean LATE, we got to meet the official Piano Man. Or at least I'm going to think of him every time I hear that song.

But let me back up a bit and tell you how it came to be that we spent most of the day Saturday without any idea we'd be waking up on Sunday with this in our house:

That's right, we have a piano! I played for a few years back in high school and I believe Evan took lessons sometime during elementary school. But for both of us, piano was always our secondary instrument (Evan plays trumpet and sings, I play violin). Since we bought our house last summer we've been dreaming of those ivory keys and finding ourselves plunked down at the piano exercising our fingers and enjoying our favorite pieces of yore -- and maybe figuring out some new stuff too!

So we turned to trusty ol' Craigslist to find us a nice used piano at a reasonable price. We were drawn to the upright studio style because that's what both of our parents' have, we've heard they have great sound for their size, and we thought it would look good in our modest-sized living room (and yes, it fits perfectly!). Enter Piano Man, stage left. He reigns from Eden Prairie with his garage full of pianos -- all shapes and sizes. We contacted him Saturday morning and decided to meet up around 7pm. After testing out a few of his pianos and asking a bagillian questions, we decided that the Baldwin/Hamilton from the 1970s was the one for us. We asked when we could expect it delivered, assuming it would be a couple of days or weeks. Piano Man answered: well, how late are you guys up tonight? (!!!). He informed us he usually stays up until around 2am and could probably get this baby in our pad by midnight. Wow! We said we had no problem staying up all night if it meant getting a piano, so we rushed off to the ATM and scurried on home to clear a space for our newest piece of furniture.

At exactly 12:45AM Mr. Piano Man rolls in, and within half an hour has that baby in place! He has this piano-moving thing down to a science and only needed our help to give a slight nudge up the steps. Needless to say, we were very impressed.

If anyone in the Minneapolis area is on their own hunt for that perfect piano, let us know and we'll drop you his name. We only spent 400 buckaroos for this beautiful instrument and believe the sound quality far exceeds the price tag. What a steal!

Here you'll see the cozy corner our piano now calls home! The front door is a few feet to the right.

We already enjoyed brushing up on some old pieces this morning and can't wait to get our hands on some new music ... and duets!

But first, let me leave you with a funny video from last night. Our neighbor (two over) occasionally blasts his outdoor stereo system, even when they aren't outside. Well, last night as we were waiting for the Piano Man to show up, his music kicked on -- right around 11:30pm. What makes it funny is that he is an 80s junkie, so we enjoyed the Wind Beneath my Wings and various other tunes. I could actually make out the words of the song from inside the house. Between his music and our midnight piano delivery, our poor neighbor sandwiched between us must've been a little confused; you would've thought it was the middle of the afternoon! (Sorry for the poor image quality on this one).
video

Coming Soon: find out where we relocated the black chest that used to sit in the piano corner. And I'll have Phase Two of the Patio Progress up as soon as I edit all of the photos!

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