My grandfather ate dinner with us many, many evenings when I was a kid. He was always quizzing us on our multiplication tables and the parts of speech. My parents homeschooled all of us kids for most of our schooling years. My grandfather loved to be involved in our schooling. Or maybe he was just checking up on us to make sure we were getting a good education!
The reason my grandfather ate dinner with us so often was because he and my dad were always working on house projects together. The biggest project of all was a house addition to add 300 square feet to our living space. I remember being in awe of how hard my dad and grandpa worked. I also remember respecting them for being so knowledgeable and having the skills necessary to add on to a house, fix random stuff, and even repair automobiles.
The most amazing thing of all is that they did all of this stuff before YouTube was invented! Actually, before even the Internet was a mainstream way of life. We didn’t even own a computer at this point in time. Can you believe it?!
Since I am always rushing online to see how to remove a stain or solve any other type of problem, large or small, I am amazed that people used to be able to handle problems without the Internet.
Well, this brings me to the present time. My own husband has wanted to put a paver patio in our backyard for several years. His dad loves home projects, and he talked my husband Kevin into doing it themselves. We initially got some quotes to hire it out, but then decided to go ahead and do it ourselves after realizing the cost savings. Plus, now we have the Internet to help us!
On day one, Kevin rented a jack-hammer to tear out the small poured-concrete that our home builder originally put down. After chipping out a huge chunk of the old concrete, he said, “Now we are committed.” The demolition had begun.
It seemed like a daunting task at times. I kept asking Kevin, “How do you eat an elephant?” We would both say, “One bite at a time.”
Slowly but surely, we ate away at that proverbial elephant of a project. It took the better part of our free time for about two months.
Kevin and my father-in-law were definitely the main laborers, but we all chipped in to help. I helped with some demo, digging and shoveling, staining the pergola, and helping to place pavers according to the pattern. The kids also helped when they were able and took over jobs in the house for me so I could do more outside. Our older kids helped to watch the younger ones. It was definitely a family project.
On the days the dump truck arrived with its load of rocks, the kids acted like it was Christmas. There were squeals of excitement, open-mouthed stares, and jumping up and down. After the truck left, everyone took a shovel to help spread the rocks. Of course, five minutes later, the kids abandoned the work to go play.
The advantages of doing the paver patio ourselves were great, and I’m not just talking about the cost savings.
Work-ethic was modeled to our children. My father-in-law is the golden standard of work-ethic. Now I know why his son works hard without complaining. He learned that from his dad. I’m grateful that these two men have been and continue to be such a great example to the next generation in our family, as my own father and grandfather were for me.
We are a family. We work hard. We work together to get stuff done. At the end of the day, that’s a very rewarding and fulfilling thing.
I’m glad we did our own paver patio…especially now that it’s done!
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images courtesy of Amy Koons.