Project week!

I’m taking a week off before I pull my commuter shoes back out of the closet (long story to be detailed soon). Taking advantage of the time off in the waning days of summer, I developed quite a list of projects I want to tackle. Some of them are ambitious – like sealing the driveway and “figuring out” (and hopefully ordering) my new fence and a pair of living room windows. I’ve also got some softballs padding the list to fuel a sense of accomplishment, like getting my oil changed and updating my IPASS account information.

This morning, I set off on my first big task: filling the driveway cracks so I can seal it tomorrow. Luckily, this week is blessed by good weather, so I can knock this one out early. But first, I realized I needed to do something about the pretty, wild grasses (read: weeds) along the edge of the driveway where it meets the fence. While I try to quash the dandelions as they rear their ugly heads, I’ve been more lax about the grasses, as they actually don’t look bad and add a bit of color. However, they do some damage to the driveway edge, where their roots try to break through the surface, so they had to go so I could seal the cracks. In the blazing sunshine (pretty! I thought as I headed outside), I donned my gardening gloves, grabbed a yardwaste bag, and set to it.

Ninety minutes later, sweaty, itchy and covered by burrs, I had to call it quits for awhile to run some errands and escape the growing heat. I discovered that the nice, tranquil grasses were actually topped by prickly burrs that clung to my gloves, clothes and hair. And apparently I was allergic to one of the plants, as red and pink bumps erupted along my arms, though cold water stopped the itching and calmed the bumps.

A couple hours later – when the sun had dipped behind the house – I returned and dug out a couple remaining dandelion roots and swept out the cracks due to be filled. I had bought a jug of crack filler last summer but never actually got around to using it (witness the frost heave). LESSON LEARNED: crack filler does not keep through numerous Chicago freeze-thaw cycles. I shook the jug for several minutes (great workout!), it was still completely separated into liquid and solid. I tried pouring it into the cracks, but only the liquid actually left the jug, but I figured it was better than nothing, so I kept pouring as much as I could. Eventually, however, I realized it wasn’t worth doing a half-assed job, so I went back in the house and pulled out some nasty asphalt-in-a-tube I had leftover from the door project. It definitely did the goopy, stinky trick.

LESSON LEARNED: on a driveway that slopes (hey, that’s mine!), there are more cracks at the bottom of the slope. Start there when filling cracks to ensure you don’t run out of goop on the big, long, deep cracks. The smaller hairline cracks should be fine with the liquid leftovers.

I also discovered that even though I missed my bike ride today, weeding and driveway work are quite effective workouts.

Tomorrow, to seal! And replace the broken beadboard in the porch. And, and, and…

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One response to “Project week!

  1. I’ll never forget when patching a crack in a concrete floor, I bought some of this rather expensive crack filler. My husband was off one day and decided he’d do the job. He called me at work and said “I hope you have lots more of this crack filler because the entire tube disappeared down the crack in about a half a second. That’s when we realized we had a deep deep crack that required another product. Isn’t restoring an old home fun?

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