Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Playing With Fire

Well a project that was started back in 2013 is finally complete.  Guys.  I'm seriously a slacker on this one.  I was being such a stubborn brat about this whole thing.  Really trying to make something I had on hand work that JUST WOULDN'T COOPERATE.  I tried and I tried and I finally gave up.  And so it sat for 3 years.  Completely embarrassing.  Because it was outdoors.  And I'm sure every one of my neighbors hated me for the last three years. 

So here goes.  Remember waaaaaaay back when my Dad helped with the paver patio?  You remember August of 2013, right?  OMG.  I'm cringing as I'm typing this.

Well one of the things that we also did was pour a 4ft by 4ft concrete slab for a fire pit.  Remember this? 

 Actually, full disclosure- this picture is from a solid year later when I had sod installed in the back yard.  Well this pretty picture isn't how the back yard has looked lately.  This is more like it. 

A big, green, full of bricks, and apparently wasp spray, plastic bin.  Just hanging out on the patio.  Waiting for the bricks to be made into a beautiful fire pit.  I literally have 6 bins of brick in my garage from when my house was built.  Cuz... you know... I'm totally gonna do all these projects with the same brick that matches the house.  It'll look so pretty....... vomit.  Pure vomit came out of my mouth all these years.  These bricks have done nothing but take up space.  And annoy the shit out of me. 

I really did make every attempt to use this bin of brick.  This is the before pic of when I had eyes wide open- thinking I was going to build a fire pit.  How dumb I was.  I sat outside for roughly 3 hours trying to get these bricks to fit around the metal insert I had purchased.  Nope- didn't work.  No matter which way I tried, I couldn't get them to line up square on the concrete and still fit within the dimensions of the metal square. 

I smashed and broke about 50 bricks.  I cursed like the sailor my mother taught me to be.  I may have thrown a few at the neighbors kids.  Then I laid on the lawn and cried.  Literally cried.  Just kidding- I don't cry.  But I was soooo not happy.

And so green bin full of bricks, broken pieces all over the place, my back yard sat... for 2 more years.  I was "gonna rent a saw" to cut them down.  I was "gonna hire a mason guy" to do it for me.  I was "gonna got buy some mortar and attempt to space them out myself and MAKE THEM WORK....DAMMIT."  All these thoughts the last few years and nada.  It sat like this.  And shut up- don't judge me by the tall grass.  I was boycotting the back yard. 

Well a couple months ago, after hanging out by everyone else's fire pits in their beautiful back yards, it was basically forced upon me to get mine done. I sucked it up and went to Menard's and got the brick that was designed for the damn metal square.  You know, the ones that fit perfectly around it?  My cheap ass just didn't want to buy more brick when I had 6 bins of a different brick in my garage.  Stubborn asshole I tell you.  That's me. 

It may have been the coldest day of the year the day we headed to get them and make the firepit.  I had my winter jacket on.... in May.... for this damn project.  And froze my ass off.  But I had a lot of fun getting it done and found this sweet guy to help with the manual labor.  Those bricks are heavy.  So I took him home with me to help. 

It was all going fantastically, carting all of the bricks to the back yard... until we started to put them around the metal square.  Apparently, the geniusness of my Dad and I- when we poured the concrete slab- we accounted for 3 inches around the outside to fit the goddamn brick that I was no longer using. The bricks that goes with the square are 7 inches deep.  Because, of course they are.  So that left us with brick hanging over the side of the concrete slab, not stable at all. 

I may have started with the expletives again at this point. 

Well the handsome helper said- "Let's use those bricks you've got over there."  Or something like that- pointing to the bricks in the bin.  He's so smart.  However, I may have had a mini-stroke when he started digging up my really expensive sod- that I JUST PAID A LOT OF MONEY FOR.  Oy. 

 After that strip of sod was out- we laid out a row of brick. 

Then did it on the other two sides, only this time in a single row instead of side by side.  This gave us the right amount of space for the brick to lay on. 

 And the best thing is that once the bricks were on it- you couldn't even see the others underneath. 

So now that we had that problem figured out- we got to work.  There were three patterns to choose from, two of which were awful looking.  So I went with this one- finished product!!!!

Isn't she purrrrty??  

OK so I'm not going to act like once this was done, we've been able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fire pit.  There have been some MAJOR issues with it. 

First nice night that we had, Hot Toddy- as Joel likes to call him- started a fire.  We went and got the makings for S'Mores, brought out the camp chairs, slid the ceramic planter over to use as a side table, and sat back and relaxed.  It was great.  For about an hour.  Until the damn fire pit exploded.  Like- no joke- fucking exploded on us.  Do you know how hot flying embers are?  Hot, I tell you.  Burnt holes in the chairs kind of hot.

We had no idea what the hell was going on.  But we weren't going to sit around and catch ourselves on fire- so we quickly put it out.  A few nights later, we decided to have another fire.  Guess what happened?  About an hour in to it- the fucker explodes again.  So here's the deal.  I know I can slightly exaggerate things.  But I'm telling you this straight up- when I say explodes- I really mean it was exploding.  Loud booms, debris flying everywhere,  red hot embers attacking us.  It wasn't pretty.  Here is an after shot of the inside of the pit. 

See the chunks of broken concrete?  Ummm yeah that was FLYING AT US.  Talk about dangerous.  I mean seriously, how do I invite friends over to sit outside and relax around a fire?  "Hey guys, want to come over and get concrete shrapnel embedded in your body tonight?"  "How about third degree burns?"   No?  Not your idea of a fun time?  Say what?

So off to Mendard's we went again.  This time for a cover for this damn fire pit.  Well $70 later..... here she is. 

And yes, the damn thing is already rusting and it's been outside for less then two weeks.  Bullshit I tell you.  But the good news is that we had another fire and nothing happened.  No explosions.  No flying hot coals.  No concrete pieces flying everywhere.  Thank GOD I got the damn cover.  At least I feel safe sitting out there and will have no worries when I invite friends over. 

In the meantime, it's just so nice and relaxing sitting out there.  Being able to enjoy my back yard again feels awesome.  It's ridiculous that this is really the first year that I've spent time out in the yard and I've lived here for almost 7 years.  So thank you Hot Toddy for forcing me suggesting we get the fire pit done.  Best decision I've made in a long time. 

Oh and you may be getting a sneak peek at the next project that we worked on.  That may already be done.  So stay tuned for the next post.  

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