Monday, June 25, 2012


Concrete is done.  Yay! 
No more damp and wretched side yard.
Transition from side yard to back.
Curving through the trees.

I think we'll call this 'South Bend'.
I think it's shaping up rather nicely.

Next up: The front deck and stairs.

I took a hammer to the railings this afternoon.
And I pried up a few treads.
I sort of like it better already.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

We've paved paradise...

...and put up a patio. Which I think just makes it more of a paradise.

Next step...deck?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hola Elder

Hola Familia,

For the past few months I've been, in my journal, keeping a running total of the number of consecutive days I've written in my journal. I have found this to be amazingly effective in providing me with the motivation to write daily. Right now my running total is 76 days, with my previous writing-streaks being (from first to last) 2, 2, 1, and 20 days, with only a day at most separating those runs. This is possibly the most well-cataloged period of my life. It's pretty amazing to think about.

On a similar note, I've realized recently that I've been back in the mission for more time than I was set apart for Round 1. I'll admit that I was a bit wary as the week approached, for fear of history repeating itself, but it looks like I'll be fine. What's also weird is that I technically hit my year anniversary just a couple weeks ago. It's a wee bit strange just thinking about it.

We found a two new investigators this week, which basically tripled the size of our rapidly shrinking teaching pool ("What do you mean you're spendingsummeringuatamala/droppingus/absurdlybusywithmedicalissues!?").

The first is a person who identifies himself as a "Deist", which I guess translates into having some vague belief in a Judeo-Christian higher power but nothing really specific or personable. He says he's into meditation and studying religions, though in the latter case it seems like he means he reads a ton of crazy apocryphal/pseudopigriphal stuff. Whatever the case is, he accepted the challenge to read the Book of Mormon, so there's hope.

The other investigator is a Christian guy who we tracted into. During our short lesson with him, he said (several times) something to the effect of "I think what you guys do is great but I don't agree with you doctrinally." But then he said some things that he thought were our doctrines, after which it was clear that he had us confused with the JWs. He has a pretty decent understanding of the Bible and actually knows quite a bit of the Old Testament, it seems, and he readily accepted the opportunity to read from the Book of Mormon, so provided that our next lesson with him goes well he seems promising.

Yesterday somebody we were randomly talking to decided to stop talking with us after we told he that we don't follow the news. I think that's a first.

Also yesterday, I taught the Gospel Principles class because the normal teacher was gone. The lesson was on the gift of the Holy Ghost. I think this was the first time I competently taught a class in such a setting. It wasn't really exciting, but the Spirit was definitely there.

My journal entry for Thursday says "Today I saw some people walking llamas."

Attached is a picture back from transfer day. I would have been more dressed had I known that my new companion would have been arriving later than advertised.

Elder Alex...putting the 'j' in 'p' day.
- Elder Oeste

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week's all about forms.

Nearly ready to pour. A little extension of the forms, a little more gravel, a little more compacting, a little larger post holes and we're ready.
Still a little tweaking to do...scope creep, scope creep...

...scope creep...notice the sidewalk snaking off from the top left corner?  Scope creep!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Week 4 1/2

I didn't post any pictures last weekend - partly because they didn't show a lot of progress, but this week might deserve two rounds of pictures...if the rain lets up.

Here's the progress Mike (and his crew of 2) made this week:
The main patio is framed, post holes started for the deck supports, and much of the gravel is compacted.
The framing for the walk is half-way done.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Week 3...You first have to tear down...

...before you can build up.

I thought I would be spending this weekend working on the front yard next to the driveway.  Steve and I did get the big ugly bush chopped down and dug out, but that's as far as we got with that.  Why?  Because we signed the contract with our cement guy - and he's planning on starting this coming Wednesday.  While Steve is out of town.  That gave us two days to get rid of the deck.  Turns out, it might have been nice to have three.
Danny and I took the railing off by ourselves on Friday.  It wasn't too hard, but that's as far as we got on Friday.
On Saturday, Steve pried the decking off while Danny and I pounded nails out of boards.
Steve then proceeded to take off the supports.
Once the supporting beams were gone, the posts were easy to push over. Especially since none of them were attached to anything!

Danny and I now have 2 days to finish cleaning up the boards and moving all the crap boards and stuff out of the way.  The good news is that we'll have a birds eye view of any work being done in the backyard once the cement crew is here.
The only nails that were pounded in this weekend were the four that are holding the safety board in place. 

This coming week: It's all about the prep work.