What Have You Been Up To?

Oh, nothing much.

I finally built that patio inside the gate, out of pavers. The dogs love it.

This is harder than it looks.
Marvel inspecting cracks.
Moxie with the smile of approval.

That area right there is where the dogs come in and out of the garage, from the house, when it’s raining. During winter season you don’t see pavers there in the past, you see cardboard. As an appliance guy I have unlimited access to large sheets of cardboard so right there — where the patio is now — was thick, brown, heavy-duty, paper-based product all winter long. No more. Thanks to my strong aching back and hours of swearing at the gods for inventing pavers, paver base, sand and stupid home improvement ideas, there will be cardboard no more.

But “mud barrier” wasn’t the original intent of this thing. This thing was laid down in order to move my small shed from the big, terribly-rendered concrete slab (seen to the side above) to the patio so that I can build a larger shed on the big, terribly-rendered concrete slab.


The new shed should look like this when done.

I didn’t build the slab but you’ll have to trust me that it’s terribly rendered. And I’ll have to trust that it will hold my new shed reasonably level, because I’ve decided against trying to repair it. It will have to do. Honestly, “It will have to do” are my favorite 5 words in the English language behind “Let’s have another beer, bro” and “Trump is gone in 2020.”

So, I built a patio. Nothing much.

I also tore down a tree that Marvel killed.

I needed every tool in the box for this one.

Seems he’s got a bit of a bark fetish and one struggling 10-foot silver maple didn’t make it through the summer with the abuse. So I brought her down. That I did the weekend after the patio thing so my back really loves me this August. Speaking of dogs killing trees, did I ever tell you that Ludo killed a budding 5-foot silver maple when we first moved in here? Golden retrievers kill trees, fact. I have one silver maple left on the other side of the house and it’s a good 20 feet tall. It has no bark at the base, but it seems to be hanging in.

Needs a trim, though.

By the way, I know nothing about trees. Back when I owned my landscape maintenance gig in the 90s I bought all sorts of books and videos on tree identification but it never took. All I knew about trees was that they hurt my back, and that hasn’t changed. But I know those trees were silver maples because I became temporarily obsessed with an app called PlantNet that can identify anything I take a picture of instantly. It’s amazing so I walked around identifying silver maples, Chinese tallows, and glossy abelias for a bit. I’m off today, so I might do that again, time permitting.

A silver maple leaf.
PlantNet had to search the European database for the glossy abelia.
The invasive Chinese tallow. Bees love ’em.

Besides nothing much, an old friend came to town, too. The incomparable Doctor Sagar Bedi.

That’s Bedi, whom I’m wrapped around.

Bedi is one of those people that just lights up a room when he walks in, energizing everybody therein and quickly getting them all drunk. I first met the good doctor in 2011 and we became fast friends. Too fast because we were always in trouble and he had to move away so that both of us could survive our 40s. He came into town for a wedding, we hung out on a Friday and I was hung over til Tuesday. Man, I miss that guy. My liver, on the other hand, does not.

You’d think that patio-building, shed-prepping, tree-felling, and Bedi-drinking would be a pretty full month but some other stuff happened, too. We lost a coffee maker and bought a coffee “center.”

Coffee Center with props.

I weighed the monster (fully 75 pounds at 6 months).

Another reason my back hurts.

I still found time to hang out by my deck and grill stuff.

“Serious” grilling.

I relaxed with the boys.

Ludo and Marvel (left to right) at midnight.
A dog’s life. Marvel, Ludo, Moxie (front to back).

And I still had to work, too.


So August has been a pretty full month, with “nothing much” meaning nothing but running around building things, destroying things, identifying things, drinking things, and replacing things. All the while I’ve been preparing for the most wonderful time of the year.

The other most wonderful time of the year.

I don’t mean Christmas.

Play. Ball.

Incidentally, I named my fantasy football team “The Squad.” Yes, for that reason.

I hope your August has been full, but maybe not that full. Easy but not boring. Exciting but without tension. That sounds like a great way to live life, full of excitement but free from tension.

The Bedi Way.

Six years is way too long.

So that’s my August. What have you been up to?

34 thoughts on “What Have You Been Up To?

  1. Oh man, Marvel has gotten so big! Your August has been pretty busy there my friend, those pavers look really good, I’m sure all the doggos approve, lol.
    I’m with you, football is back baby, not jut NFL, but College ball too, so while my August is one I’d rather forget, September will be a bit exciting 🏈🏈🏈🏈

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to be such a college football junkie! Michigan in the 90s. USC in the aughts. The Cal Bears anytime. When I started working Saturdays I just started slipping away from the game. I vow, this year, to catch some NCAA ball and see if I can renew some of that old charm. Future NFL players!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Stuck in traffic can be so tense. I get tense when my boy won’t stop playing with the vertical blinds on the slider while I’m trying to watch an Avengers movie. Or when I’m out of beer. Good catching up; let’s do this more!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For Fuck’s sake!!! I only saw this because of twitter. WTF?!! I had to backtrack to figure out why I don’t get email notifications like I did before the “your entire blog mysteriously vanished” incident. Alas, I went into my settings and selected my chosen distribution channels, (which I’ve never had to do before!!)
    All to say, this post made my heart happy (and hurt a lil’ for the trees that are no longer). and my back ache a little (I’m also in the think of a brutal backyard project). Glad to have you back, my friend (not in the “achy” sense, of course). I’ve missed your words and treasured glimpses of my furry friends!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Welcome back,Brooke! Yeah, I had no way of knowing who got lost in the calamity so I just hoped all would find their way home in time. 😉 So glad to have you back; you are my sister, sister! And, yeah, as you can see, the big guy ain’t a little guy anymore. Bigger than Ludo already! But a good boy (despite occasional setbacks) and I couldn’t be prouder. I’ll plant more trees! Um … but probably in the front yard. 😁


      1. I consider being considered a sister a beautiful thing. 🙂 I can’t even believe how huge he is and how much he looks like the Biscuit. He’s amazing. They all are, but I have a soft spot for big reds, as you know.
        Yeah, seems you’d have to barricade any new trees for a spell…ornery boys you have, indeed. I’m in the midst of a yard overhaul myself, although it’s not exactly my yard. But that’s a story I’ll save for post…if I can still write.🙄 Hope your weekend was long and relaxing, with some fun thrown in there. Huge hug to you and the pups!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I look forward to the tale! Yeah, he’s grown like crazy (82.8 lbs as of Sunday, as reported on Facebook!). The reds definitely have it. But, alas, it appears the final silver maple will not survive, after all. 😢

        We had a great weekend, filled with back-aching chores, ice cold suds, and yeah, some fun, too. Back to the grind today. Thanks again, sister!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. The one thing about home ownership … there’s always a project going on! My buddy Cory and his wife Jackie just bought their first home, a fixer-upper his gma owned. It’s funny how quickly a guy who used to talk about football and politics and pop culture and beer now only talks about home improvement and beer!

      (the latter two go hand in hand 😁)

      Thank you, Suzanne! Team Ken! ✊


  3. Tom, it sounds like you’ve had a well-balanced August, my friend! On this end, we’ve survived the 100 degree stretch of summer and are looking forward to cooler temps! Because I have so many to buy for, I’ve already begun Christmas shopping as well! Hopefully, it (my meager finances) will balance out and I won’t feel the hurt so much by the time Christmas is over this year. Also working on a book. So, how long do you give your last silver maple before it succumbs? Any bets going? Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, shortly after posting this I mowed the lawn and, while doing so, I noticed the big silver maple is in worse shape than I thought. The bark is peeling higher than I stand and I can see a dead “split” up the trunk. There are also mushrooms fungi growing out of the limbs wherever I look, whatever that means. 🤷I would say it might not survive the winter, in which case I better cut her down before. Or, better yet, I better hire a feller to do it for me cuz it’s one damn big tree!

      Thanks for stopping in, Mona, and good luck with that Christmas shopping!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Bravo! Nice home improvement projects, great friends, many libations, MANY! Ha. What a wonderful August with the healthy, gorgeous boys and Mrs C with a coffee center for two! Nice! We sold our hose, we close next week… blah. You know the drill. I really loved this post! 😊💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, sister! Yes it was a full August and a worthy one. The new shed arrives later this week (I think) and I can’t wait to get that thing up. I’ve been organizing the garage and attic around “what goes in the new shed when it is done” piles … honestly can’t wait! Congratulations on the house!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, you’ve been up to so much since (does a quick check) August 22nd. I take it, though, that everything you’ve detailed here wasn’t just accomplished over nine days. Just putting in the pavers could have taken at least that long with no time left for taking out the tree that Marvel mostly already took out.
    Interestingly I had the idea for a tree identification app years ago but lacking any understanding of technology I didn’t have any way to make it happen.
    And enjoy your new coffee center–we put away our two-decade old dripper a few years ago and replaced it with a snazzy new machine, and it’s been a pretty good change. Some days might need a little extra Bailey’s but I take it your consumption will drop precipitously once Dr. Bedi leaves. Oh, and hi to Dr. Bedi and good luck to both squads!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Correct! In fact, I thought to myself “myself, what can I post since it’s been (checking) about 9 days?” and I answered myself with a question “myself, what have you been up to?” So I perused all the pics I took in August and decided to form a story, of sorts, around those pics. So I did! Hope you liked it; every word is the god’s honest truth.

      Well, the “five favorite words” thing might be a slight exaggeration. BTW, if you try that sentence at home remember that “exaggeration” has two g’s and only one r. Truth!

      That app is actually really, really cool. I can’t wait to identify what Marvel kills next!

      Thank you, my friend, for the thoughts and well wishes. My liver might take a few years off!


  6. My, you have been a busy bee. Laugh out loudest moment was reading your friend had to leave town so you both survived your 40s! That sounds like one helluva friend. I loved this photo diary. You should do one every month. We have an 80ft plus garden, so a decent size, but possibly not big enough for all the trees we keep finding an excuse to buy; having just bought our 4th to go alongside the existing 6. Mostly fruit trees of small stature, so hopefully nothing we’ll regret too soon ;). What a wonderful joyful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lockwood! It was a fun one to put together. Alas, it appears the final silver maple is more severely damaged than I suspected and will have to be brought down. I’ll call a guy for that one, though, cuz I got my limits!

      Liked by 1 person

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