I love creating things. Having a vision and seeing it come to life makes me so happy.
I really love home improvement. I like making the place I live my very own and customizing it to me.
So, this year, I decided that I was going to grow a garden and make my backyard a place that I wanted to be. Because the backyard at this townhouse has always just been blah to me. It has weed problems and is all rock. Just not the inviting yard that I really wanted.
I hatched a plan earlier this spring that would finally bring my inviting backyard vision to life. Got agreement from the landlord to make changes. And started scouting Nextdoor and Craigslist for what I needed.
A couple of weeks ago, I started gathering supplies. Some free rock off Nextdoor. Free compost from work. Found the patio pavers on Nextdoor for $20. Got free weed block fabric from a co-worker. My brother got me some knee-pads. I was ready to rock and roll.
By doing all this stuff over a couple of weeks, I saved myself a lot of pain on the day of the build. I knew that I couldn’t get all the supplies, load them all in and do the build in one day with my fibro. The body just won’t deal with that.
Picked a beautiful day but relatively cool and breezy. That helped keep me from overheating. Moved my patio umbrella throughout the day to keep myself in the shade. Took a break every hour or so to make sure I stayed hydrated and fueled as well as giving me some time in the coolness of the house to also keep me from overheating.
And I really thought at the beginning of the day that this project wouldn’t take more than 5 or 6 hours. I had done a project like this back before I got sick and it didn’t take that long.
Little did I know what I was getting into.
When I started moving the rock, I found out there was a lot more rock than I had anticipated. It was almost 6 in deep and mixed with a lot of dirt. It took a long time to get most of the rock out of the dirt and get the ground to the point that I could start to prep it for the pavers. I also found that it was a lot more uneven than I had anticipated, so I did have to buy some fill dirt to make it more level. This part of the project took 3 of the 5 hours I was planning for the whole project.
I took a break once the ground was level because I needed to eat. I knew at that point that I was going to be a hurting unit today because I was already having trouble getting up and down the stairs in the house.
After lunch, I finally started laying the pavers. It was a total of 36 of them, and I contemplated quitting when I was about halfway. My body was tired, and I was sure that I wasn’t going to be able to finish. I sat for a long time just looking at the thing and wondering if it was all worth it. So, I put my chair up on that unfinished half, and as I sat there rocking, I knew it was all worth it.
I finally finished placing and leveling each paver around 6 pm. I was shot, and I could have stopped there. But, you essentially need to “grout” the pavers with sand to make them stable. The hardware store was open for another hour, so I ran over, got the sand and got it on the patio. If you saw my Instagram, you saw where I left off still needing to sweep all the extra sand off and put the furniture back. I just couldn’t do anymore at that point. I had been working this thing for over 10 hours, and I was done. Thank god for frozen dinners, or I wouldn’t have been able to eat because I was so tired.
Today is when I remember that I have a chronic illness because my body has completely given out on me. My knees are swollen and hurt. I am having trouble getting up from chairs and going up and down the stairs. And my hands are so sore, I can barely type this.
I knew I was going to hurt today. Tomorrow will probably be worse. So, I didn’t plan anything today. I will relax and rest and take it easy. I won’t go out and finish sweeping or decorate because I know that my body needs some rest. So, I will rest. And mother nature will give me more rest in the next couple of days with cold and snow. Then, I will get back to it. Because I want to do things. I am tired of living my life as if I am so broken, I can’t do anything.
This project was a test. I passed. I know better how to read my body. I know better how to manage my symptoms. I just know better how to tackle big things. I am not scared anymore.
So, for anyone out there who struggles, you can do it. Listen to your body, listen to your heart and do the things you don’t think you can do. You will surprise and amaze yourself!