Friday, May 25, 2012

Gravel Yard

The car crunches to a halt on the gravel path, and I duck as the sharp metal edging slides off the seat and narrowly misses my knees. The 10 feet of edging is arcing through the back of my car, serending us with a symphony of warbling melodies over every bump.
Mountains and mountains of rock, sand, and lumber stretch over an expanse of open desert. We get out of the car and wander through the walkways of the industrial Giza, with pyramids of red breeze gravel, recycled asphalt, and beach pebbles welcoming us to the maze of raw materials.
I pull out my list to get my bearings: 3 tons of pea gravel, 2 yards of mulch, 3 10-foot railroad ties, 8 flagstone steppers. OK. Matt and I join the landscapers and contracters examining the options.

Pyramids of Gravel

Two contracters dismount their Ford F-350 super-duty and amble towards the back of the dusty lot,
“The ¾” will provide optimal drainage and maintain its spread on the footpath.”
“Yes but you know that tastes have been trending toward the 1 ½” red rock for side beds, we could hit two birds with one stone if we combine them.” A cacophany of industrial grinding, scraping and beeping drown out the rest of their conversation.
Matt looks at me with a raised eyebrow, “What do you think?” I size up the tri-colored pea gravel in front of us. “This works…the colors are pretty.” One decision down.

Home improvement projects are long series of decisions.  I bought my first home this fall and dove head first into the wonderful world of renovation. I was a little ambitious in my choice of a bank-owned fixer upper. This was a fixer-upper in the most extreme sense of the term: no water, no electric, no kitchen, no roof…the list, unfortunately, goes on. I worked through the interior renovations one decision at a time: cabinet style, towel rack, paint color, bathrom tile. One small victory after another.

Springtime brings blooming flowers, barbeque season, and landscaping projects. We wander down the aisles of flagstone steppers. Large signs indicated where each stepper was from and why it was so significantly different that the ones surrounding it…though they still appear identical to me. We walk past Colorado Red, Arkansas Buff, Quartzide, Tumbled Red, Siloam Stone, and Palamino Gold. I needed 8 flagstone steppers to match the ones I inherited with the yard. I dug a small one out to bring with me to compare colors. I left it on my coffee table so I wouldn’t forget to bring it when we headed out to Northglenn, which, of course, I breezed by on my way out the door leaving it as a sandy paperweight in my living room.
“That’s it!” I jumped at Matt’s exclaimation. We have our winner: Penssylvania Blue Flagstone.

After working through our list, we head towards the lonely trailer in the middle of the dusty yard to check out. I join the line behind a queue of men whose boots make it clear that this isn’t their first rodeo. The girl behind the counter waves me over, and I bumble through my order. I may not get all the terms right, but there will be a truck dumping a whole lot of gravel in my alley tomorrow morning.  I have fought and won another battle of endless options. The thin metal edging in the car sings a happy and hopeful tune as we head back home ready for the next challenge.

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