Friday, October 07, 2005

Adventures in Homeownership: Eyebrows Buys Sand

Mr. McGee and I are re-laying our back patio, a nice patio of brick which had been so undermined by ants that I broke my toe on the uneven bricks (while running barefoot in the dark, but it's still the ants' fault) and so overgrown with verdure that it looks more like an abandoned castle from 600 years ago that happens to have a few pavers disturbing the grass than an outdoor seating space.

We meant to have this done in September, but as home improvement projects always do, it took longer than anticipated, so we're just now getting ready to lay the brick. Of course I asked my husband for measurements and of course he forgot to get them for me, so the day before we want to lay brick, I'm rushing around the backyard with a measuring tape trying to get the square footage and then do hard, hard math to figure out how many cubic feet of sand I need to cover 373 square feet to a depth of one inch, find the weight of a cubic foot of sand, and then convert that into tons, so I know how much sand to order. And hoping I can find someone to deliver it THE NEXT MORNING.

I've never ordered sand before, but I remembered from when I was four and my dad built me a sandbox that the sand guys will come with a dumptruck and dump sand in your driveway, so I looked up "sand" in my friendly neighborhood yellow pages and discovered a good two dozen places that deliver sand. I called Kickapoo Sand and Gravel because a) I like the word "Kickapoo" and b) I've passed it before. (All right, and because I've been told it's a good place for outdoor paving projects, fine. But it was ALMOST that random.)

I told the Sand Man my measurements (I mean, um, my patio measurements) and he said I needed about two tons of sand. I had estimated about 1.8, but he said that was shy and the cost would be the same to round up to the next ton anyway. I have never in my life rounded up to the next ton. I asked him for a quote, to deliver two tons of sand to my home at the ass crack of dawn the next day, and he goes away for a minute and comes back with, "Forty-two dollars."

"Wow," I said, after a moment of stunned silence.

"I know, I'm sorry," he replied, very apologetically. "It just costs a lot more when you buy it in such small tonnages."

"Actually," I said, "I've never bought anything by the ton before and I was thinking that's really reasonable for two tons of something!"

Sand Man laughed at me.

It does nice things to my patio budget, though!

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