Some heavy stuff

Literally.  This is some heavy stuff.

This it the HIGHLY anticipated phase 3 of our backyard stay-cation project (don't pretend you haven't bee waiting all week, I know how you are).  

This phase is called "Heavy A** Stones".

67 pounds per stone to be exact.  Which of course doesn't sound nearly as heavy as they are in real life. Especially when you move each stone roughly 5 times each, and we had 115 of them.
Hello stone, you are so pretty heavy
I'm actually getting ahead of myself.  Before I can make you feel my (back) pain, I have to tell you about the part of this phase that is called "unflattering photos."

So where we left off last week, we Chris had finished taking down both fences, we had taken all the junk to the dump and we had piled all the wood up in the alley.

I was SURE that someone would want some free wood.   Apparently the craigslist people are an extremely fickle lot. Apparently old fence wood is not in high demand.  It's still here.  Please come take it. Please.

So now that we had all the fences down, we needed to cut down the metal poles that were supporting the fence.  This was a job for the Sawz-all, and THIS is where the unflattering photos come in.  Well, really it's just one unflattering one of me.....

Sawz-all-ing the poles away
Potentially the worst position for a photo EVER.  Thanks photographer Chris.
So once we got all the metal posts cut down, it was time to place the stones to create the base of the wall. 
We got 3 of these delivered- 115 stones
All clear and ready to set stones
Like all projects, there are things that happen that were not planned and things that don't go quite right.  This project is pretty much FULL of these little realizations.  The first of which happened when we went to set the blocks for the bottom row. 

The bottom row needed to be uniform and level so our wall started off right.  What we didn't realize is that all the blocks had a "lip" on them, so for the bottom row, we needed to knock off the lip of all of the bottom stones to make it level.  Nothing like having to hammer off 30 lips before we could even start the project.

Once they were knocked off, we set all the stones in a row.  

Round 1 of laying the stone
Then we decided that we needed to make the rounded corner different so we had to move ALL the stones AGAIN.  

Then it created a weird gap a the far wall, so we had to move them ALL AGAIN.

We finally agreed on placement after the 3rd move.  We took a break from moving, shuffling and sweating to regroup and prepare for the second part of our day.

We needed to make sure that the bottom layer was secured to the ground in some fashion, so Chris came up with the idea to drill pieces of rebar into the cement, which would anchor the stones to the cement.  We definitely don't want to have these little guys move anywhere.

After our break we were ready to drill the rebar, so we had to mark the stones and MOVE them AGAIN so that we could drill a piece of rebar into the cement then place them back on top.

So, we started the process of moving each stone one-by-one and drilling a hole and dropping in rebar.

We realized pretty quick that even the shortest rebar size was too long for our holes.  We didn't want to drill too far down since Chris was worried that there may be a sewer or water line beneath the cement and really didn't want to accidentally break into one of those. Woops!

So we needed to cut the rebar in half.  Sounds easy enough right?  Wrong.

I now believe that rebar is specifically designed to NEVER be cut.  I think that someday when we are old we will laugh about "that one time when we thought it would be fun to cut rebar."  It will become legend, like walking up hill both ways in the snow.  OUr grandkids will roll their eyes when we tell the story over and over.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that cutting rebar (with the trusty sawz-all) was one of the least-fun parts of the process.  Although it was one of the most fun pictures I took.  Chris got very creative, and slightly dangerous when he was trying to cut them up. *No injuries were sustained in this process.

Stand on the rebar and cut beneath your feet.  Fool proof.  Or proof of fool....
We literally had to syke ourselves up to cut the pieces of rebar.  It took roughly 5 minutes per piece.  Not to mention that it leaves your whole body shaking from all the vibrations of cutting through metal.  

Then we drilled the holes and dropped in the rebar.

Drilling is manly

Rebar in holes.  Chris' ankle inadvertently serves as a wonderful scale for the rebar
Then we moved the stones on top of the rebar and lined them all up exactly perfect (again) and then we called it a day.  Yes, we did that all in one day.  We are crazy-pants.

Rounded corners for stairs complete

Look at that perfect line!
We decided that stairs and the other layers of the wall were for another day.  Mostly because we realized that we needed rectangle stones for the stairs and our backs were literally revolting.
Realizing these stones were not going to work for the stairs
We did get the pattern for the stairs laid out with craft paper. That is how professionals do it BTW.

Pink is the color of professionals