Due to the massive amounts (by Georgia standards anyway) of snow and rain we received this year, my long gravel driveway has weakened and softened in spots, forcing me to take action for fear my car might fall into some bottomless pit right in front of my own house and I'd never be seen again. Okay, so it's not quite that bad, but bad enough that I had to add some additional gravel.
My oldest brother, forever trying to be helpful, gave me the name of the company that paved his rather short driveway a couple of years ago. I called and a very helpful man came out the next day and walked up and down the driveway with me as I pointed out the spots I thought needed a little work. He was thoroughly in agreement with my assessment and pointed out a couple of other places I hadn't noticed. We had 15 or 20 minutes of very friendly conversation about the winter weather, all the problems it had caused people, how busy his company had been, and how much we were both looking forward to spring.
Then, we got down to the nitty gritty. How much would this cost me? When he gave me what he termed the "ballpark estimate", I remained silent for a moment. It wasn't reverence or prayer. More like shock. It costs that much to haul and shovel some gravel? Really? Not that it was so high I could have bought a new house with the money, but it would definitely pay for a couple of dental bills, a lot of groceries, or even for part of a nice summer vacation. I thanked the guy politely for coming and told him I would give them a call.
Then I started thinking, something which can frequently get me in trouble. I remembered the times I'd helped my dad do the same thing with his driveway, that it didn't seem like such a tough job, and how much less expensive it was to buy a pickup truck load of gravel and haul them home yourself. I would have asked my dad for help, but he's had back problems lately. My brother never does things like this for himself, so I wouldn't have felt comfortable asking him. Finally, I said to myself "There's no reason why I can't do this myself. They load the gravel for you. All I'd have to do is shovel it off the truck into the spots where it needs to go and spread it out a little."
A little voice in the back of my mind told me it might not be quite that simple. I refused to listen to it. I get my stubbornness from my mom (even if she won't admit it) and I hate thinking that there's something I can't do. Having made up my mind, I called my brother-in-law and asked if I could borrow his Ford F-150 pickup for a couple of days. Just needed to haul something home I told him, because I knew he'd discourage me from doing it and probably call my brother and my dad to back him up. His truck just sits there and rarely gets driven anyway.
So, to try and make a long story a bit shorter, I actually did it. Yesterday, I went to the supply company and proudly drove my much-less-expensive load of gravel home. Having too much other work to do, I let it sit until today.
Then, after lunch, I got my shovel out of the garage and got started. By the time Sarah got home at 5:00, I had satisfied myself that two of the four places that I thought were a problem were finished. I had sore shoulders, a sore back and legs, blisters, a headache, and a couple of scrapes--but I had done it myself!
I stood outside with Sarah, pointed out the places I'd filled in and asked, "What do you think? Did I do a good job?"
Possessing amazing tact for a five-year-old who's almost six, she took a long look and ignored my questions. "I'm hungry," she said. "Are you gonna cook now?"
As we went into the house, she said as an afterthought, "The driveway looks good."
I have about a third of my gravel left and two more small areas to fix, as I sit here typing this waiting for my ibuprofen to kick in but, as Scarlett O'Hara said, I'll think about that tomorrow. If I think about it now, I'll go crazy.
On the plus side, I'm proud of myself for doing it and not listening to people who said I couldn't. It's also taught me that I shouldn't necessarily think something's easy just because I've done it before. My sore muscles have let me know that I need to do a little bit of work with weights and not equate being thin with being in shape. It's also given me ideas for at least a couple of stories.
And I thought all I was doing was fixing the driveway.