Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Extreme Yard Makeover

For me, the best part of home ownership may be having a yard, because I get to go out and work in it. Yeah, call me crazy, but I really love getting out there and putting a shovel and pickaxe to good use.

It's been a little over a year now, and I thought I'd document the progress. Here's a picture of our front yard on May 12, 2008:
It was a neglected, overgrown mess. So, since then, I've:
* removed 2 large trees * overhauled the sprinkler system * built a retaining wall * removed all the ivy * pruned a LOT of tree and shrub branches * carved some definition into the edge of the grass * removed lots of weeds, then covered the non-grass areas with mulch * planted new shrubs & flowers * revitalized the grass

And here's how we're looking now, about a year later, on May 20, 2009:
I still have a few things left to do, but we're pretty happy with how it's turned out so far. I figure with the retaining wall, sprinkler parts, and plants, I've probably put about $500 into it. Money well spent, if you ask me :)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

San Fran & May 16th (with pictures!)

We did it!

When we were fixin' to get married, a lot of people gave us advice to the effect of "the first year is the hardest, but it gets better after that."

Well, after one year of 99% bliss and 1% "let's never again play against each other in Scrabble," we're convinced that those people must have mistaken marriage with prison, or maybe a mission. We've had a blast.

So after scoring round-trip tickets for $80 and an equally sweet deal on a hotel, we took off to San Francisco to celebrate our first anniversary.

We flew there Friday afternoon, found out about the helpful yelp.com from a friendly local on the train to downtown, rode the tourist-laden trolley to Fisherman's Wharf, and dragged our suitcases a couple of blocks to our hotel.



Fortunately for hungry us, the self-proclaimed "Best Pizza in San Francisco" was right around the corner, so we dropped off our stuff and dove in.



Saturday we took the sage advise of my sister and rented bikes to ride around town and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Great idea! We loved it. It's a cool way to see the city, the bridge, and the town of Sausalito on the other side.





































tee hee




That day being our anniversary, we returned and cleaned up for a super nice Italian dinner. Yum!




Sunday was bizarre, to say the least. We were on our way to go to church at the Golden Gate Ward, and out of nowhere, we get passed up by a bunch of Smurfs.



That afternoon, we continued on to see Alamo Park, home of the nostalgic scene from the opening credits of everybody's all-time favorite show, Full House. Looked more like a Meth House bust at the time, though, with 5 cops in the front yard and 2 patrol cars across the street.


And the park just happened to be full of crazy people. Turns out we were there on the wild day of the "Bay to Breakers" race, which is basically a cross between a 10k and Mardi Gras.


Our plan was to spend some time in Golden Gate Park, but it turns out that's where the race ended and, consequently, where the partying was centered. Thousands of people in (and out) of crazy costumes with plenty of alcohol . . . and for once in our lives, we were the weird ones people stared at because we were (1) sober and (2) modestly clothed. We were proud.



After seeing one too many acts of true friendship ("Will you hold my hair back while I puke my guts out?" and the such), we decided to move on. Whew.


We marched on, up and down Lombard Street . . .


























. . . then walked up to Coit Tower, then back down and around the piers and back home. It was a lot of walking for an unusually hot day, but well worth it.













Monday was Ghirardelli Square (free samples!) . . .







. . . Alcatraz . . .











. . . and shopping (Gap headquarters!)

















And then we zipped over to the airport and got to our gate while our flight was boarding. Very nice.

In all, it was a wonderful trip, and we're glad we went. Now we're back home and excited to see what Married Life: Year Two has in store for us.

Life is so good!




[editor's note: holy crap, it takes FOR-EVER to post a blog like this! Is it really worth it?]