Monday, May 4, 2015

The sidewalk of destroyed safety boots

Last you heard I had a crappy swim last Wednesday. Friday was redemption! Swam CSS 17 x 100 on 2 minutes, at 1:43 or 1:44 for all but the first one, which was 1:40 even. I settled into the groove nice and relaxed. I could have gone on, but moved onto other important things.

Friday my buddy Susi was in town! Such a lovely chat to catch up, then Saturday midafternoon dropped her off at a different set of friends. She has many friends.

Sunday was the big day. About 25 years ago we put down some of those big concrete patio slabs to form a walkway between our driveway and back yard. It wasn't used much because there was rarely a reason to go into the back yard. Over the decades it gradually settled.

Then last year when we put the back yard patio in, I fixed the bit of sidewalk nearest the patio. That was close to the lowest point of the walk, and it became really obvious. Several people tripped because they weren't expecting such a slope.

The task. Move all the bricks out of the way. Rake up as much of the crushed brick between the walk and the house as possible. Remove the slabs. Lay down landscape fabric. Wheel in as much gravel as needed, level, and tamp it down. Replace the sidewalk slabs. Wash and replace crushed brick on neighbor's side to level that out. Most importantly, don't leave any skin or blood on the job. Success!

Here is the working area. It's hard to tell how much that slopes towards our house, but it's lots. Lets not even talk about the volunteer plants.

This is a staged shot to prove I was wearing safety boots. Wearing them paid off, as one time my foot was about an inch closer to where the slab was going than I thought it was.

Slabs and crushed brick removed.

Landscape fabric. The gray stuff is almost like a really tough felt. It took heavy scissors to cut it; a sharp knife wouldn't. The black stuff is leftovers.

The gravel starts. We bought a cubic yard, and worried it would be way too much. I could have used another couple of wheelbarrows full, maybe a bit more.

Mostly done, 8 hours later. No owies, other than my hands being roughed up.

There is still a slight dip just near that window well, but it's less than an inch.

The remaining task is to neatly lay out the bricks on the gravel in a nice pattern. Later. Maybe much later. I was a hurting unit and went to bed early. I didn't even think about swimming and tottered into work, gradually feeling better as I moved. This evening I was out doing a bit of lawn raking, and had my back talking firmly to me. Stretched. My calves are still too tender to be rolled, but everything liked the stretch.

And the boots. I last wore them on the job in the late 90's. They've been sitting in the basement ever since. While working I felt something weird on my feet and thought it was clumps of dirt. Then I realized it was rubber flaking off. I switched back to shoes, and was doubly careful. 

In another example of degrading materials, here's what a brand new bag looks like. The colours are bright and vibrant. This is really good advertising, if you think about it.

We didn't quite finish off this bag last fall, and it's been sitting outside in the sun for 7 months or so. Interesting effect that UV has had.

You'll see this chalkboard more often. I have had ideas. This is Linda's commentary on the election. You ARE voting, if you're an Albertan, right? RIGHT?? Don't make me blog about you.


  1. What an awful, backbreaking job but you got it done and it looks great. Too funny about you wearing out the safety boots. Wearing out a pair of running shoes is one thing but to wear out a pair of safety boots requires a badge or something ;)

  2. Yikes!! Your boots have seen better days! Great job on the walk...did you move those slabs ALL BY YOURSELF???

    1. The boots looked fine when I started. And yes, all by myself. My low back is still talking to me.

  3. Looks terrific, Keith, Good on ya! I'm going to show this to Luke. I'm hoping it will inspire him to put in the new walkway I want at the city house. :-)

    Yes, fingers crossed for some political change in Alberta. It's way past time.

    1. Thank you! My advice to Luke is to rent a husky teenager.


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