Thursday, April 10, 2008

Le Patio

As I have said before, spring is here and with the advent of warmer temperatures comes the onrushing tide of yardwork. Our front patio is a thing of art and beauty, designed and built by The Ladies: SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) and the BRD (Beautiful Rich Daughter).

But that was a few years ago and time and the weather have caused some problems.

The up-raised gardening area is protected by a curving row of paving stones. But because they are curved, there are cracks and crevices between some of the stones. Through which, SWMBO has learned, dirt tends to leak out and tumble onto the patio. So, she came up with a solution this year. First, she would stuff some newspaper in the cracks. Then she would spray it with one of those aerosol foam dispensers. The foam becomes hard when it dries, which is damned near instantaneous.

So she sent me to the store the other day to get some of the foam stuff. But she hadn't revealed her plan to me at that point and I have learned through the years just to run her errands without asking questions.

But the lady at the store asked me what I was going to plug with the foam and I had to confess that I didn't have the faintest idea. She said if it was something in the house it would be best to use the fireproof stuff. So I bought it.

Later, SWMBO revealed her plan to me. And today she set about carrying it out. I have also learned over the years not to get in her way when she is set on a project so I was inside, dinking around with the computer when I heard a thud. I called out (always the concerned male) "What's the matter?"

SWMBO responded curtly, "Don't talk to me right now!"

A bit later, I wandered past the bathroom and observed SWMBO working on her hands. I inquired if she had got some of the foam on her hands. She responded in the affirmative. I asked why she hadn't worn gloves. She gave me a withering look and pointed out that she has a brace on her left arm and hand, treating a bout of tendinitis.

She also said that the foam comes out of the can a kind of pukey (her word) orange and that you can't control the stuff. So I wandered out to look at her handiwork.

Well, we agreed that a touch of paint and some of the flower pots shoved up against the walls will take care of that problem.

Next is the patio itself. The Ladies had decided they wanted it to be a sort of adobe red color. So they stained it. That worked fine on the paving stones but not so good on the paved patio, which is of a smoother and considerably less porous texture. After a couple of years it was showing signs of wear. First, an outdoor carpet was placed over the central section and that worked good for awhile. But now, some 7 years after we moved in, the carpet had faded and partially disintegrated and it went into the trash. Leaving this:

SWMBO has decided this time to paint it. First, however, it needs to be cleaned with some type of solution and then left to dry for several days. Today was the day "we" were going to tackle the cleaning. But it's in the low 50's and our typical spring wind is blowing hard enough to move people, cars and small buildings. And it's cold out there.

But SWMBO knows the BRD is anxious to plant and move her big plants out to the patio from inside the house. And by Sunday, it is supposed to be 80 degrees here. So the cleaning must be done today.

I am looking forward to it. (This is a lie.)

Further progress reports will follow.

UPDATE: Patio is cleaned. It wasn't that bad after all. And the foam seems to be as fragile as an eggshell so trimming it back will be no problem.


Kitty said...

Jeez, that foam looks like scary stuff. There's no way I'd go near it.

Hope the cleaning/clearing goes well. x

TomboCheck said...

Don't ever ask obvious questions, like why they aren't wearing gloves. It only causes misery and heartache.

Good luck on the patio improvements. :)

Catalyst said...

Kitty - You just don't want to get caught between the foam and its target!

Tombo - I try, try to never ask obvious questions. I know the consequences!

Mike said...

I have used that foam for a few household projects in the past. I learned quickly that it is not for amateurs and that you need to have a sharp knife handy for after it dries.

When they installed my new patio door last fall, the installers looked at the foam insulation I had used between the wall and the old door. The older one said that I should be shot for using it. Apparently they don't like it either. Took him about 45 minutes to get it all off.

Catalyst said...

Thanks for the support, Mike.

You bastard!

meggie said...

Having had some experience with some similar foam, I am sitting here laughing like a galah, glad it is not me!
This has cheered me immensely, which is wrong & unkind of me, I know, but for once, someone else is dealing with Gom-like events!

Colonel Colonel said...

Amy used a big box of that foam, with an industrial type sprayer nozzle, to fill in the hundreds of cracks and crannies that were letting cold air into our basement, but she donned a Hazmat suit to do it. I should have taken pictures...

Catalyst said...

Meggie - Please note it was SWMBO who used the poisonous stuff...not me.

Colonel - Yes, I believe a Hazmat suit should be required.