Friday, March 11, 2011

Now I've gone and broken myself...

After gloating a month or two ago about outlasting the brickie, I'm now a confirmed invalid. Seems like the constant physical strain has finally caught up with my back. The lay term is "compressed disc", also known as herniated, prolapsed or ruptured disc. Medically, it’s “focal left posterolateral disc protrusion … indenting the thecal sac and displacing the left S1 nerve root”. In other words, me back is farked. I now have to see a neuro surgeon to see exactly how bad it is and - hope of all hopes - pray that I can resolve this without any invasive surgery. Having nursed a loved one through spinal surgery and recovery before, I have no desire to put Dana through that torture. Nor do I want to go through it all myself for that matter. So we'll see what can be done with physio, stretching, trigger points and anything non surgical that may relieve the symptoms. Apparently these things are capable of restoring themselves over time but I don't have 2-3 years to lie around and wait for that...sheesh, what would I blog about then?

I know now that I probably should have stopped 4-5 weeks ago at the onset of sciatic signs but was uber keen to learn as much from Steve as I could while he was available. We'd never originally intended to, or budgeted for, a brick and rock layer but we'd seen his work at Marijs & Peter's cottage over Christmas and were wowed. So, we struck a deal to get him to hang out at Bogie for a few weeks and teach some of me the tricks of trade while we laid as much as we could. Intention was then for me and Dana to finish off whatever was left over. Well, I reckon I picked up enough tips as we went to be able to finish off the walls to a pretty high standard. Only one small hitch - I'm now stuck prone on the couch in Reservoir waiting on the quacks...bugger.

Moaning and groaning aside, Dana and I spent the weekend @ Chez Bogie washing off the work that Steve and I had finished off 8 days prior. Should really be cleaning those rocks within 3-4 days after laying but it actually went well. Dana got all kitted up and splashed the acid around scrubbing away and I followed with QC and pressure washing. Managed to work through the discomfort (thank you codeine!) with lots of laydowns on the dirty carpet pile. We got it all done in a day and, if I must say so myself, it looks absolutely fantastic!
armed and dangerous
this thing packs a punch

looking sweet
view from the bogger seat - we chose some very lumpy rocks for this

So, the project goes on hiatus for some time while I get fixed up. Apart from the physical pain, I'm mostly spewing because I was really getting into the whole being outdoors building stuff process. Sure, there've been hassles with weather and supply of materials and advice, getting people organised and motivated but they are small potatoes compared to the joy of looking over a well done bit of work on your own house. Dodgy back aside, I was also getting all fit and feeling great for it. Now I have to waste away for a while before taking the long slow road to recovery. One thing is sure - I'm not gonna give up too easily on this gig. I so much want to see this house finished and for us to be living in it.

old fossil now bedded down for a looooong time
this one came as a surprise - didn't see half of that detail before scrubbing
saw some art - couldn't resist
more reflected musings

I'll keep you all posted...


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finishing the internal rockwork

So the big fella came back and we got back on with laying the rest of the internal rocks. It took another 6 days but we had a set deadline to meet. My Ma was selling her house in Northcote on the Saturday, so I had to be offsite by Friday night and Steve needed to get on to another job. We estimated pretty correctly and timed it to finish midday on the Friday.

bogger & dressing areas rockage
East bedroom wall...
...and around the SE corner
long shot of SE corner

We used blockwork where the back of the bedroom storage / corner of pantry will be (as there was no real point in wasting good rock where it wont be seen) and that went in quickly compared to rockwork. As it was, we put some pretty good bigguns in the rest of the pantry and laundry.

most of S bedroom wall - now with extra blocks
a concrete block a day keeps the doctor away...?
I love the look of this stuff when wet

I have fond memories of my grandma's bluestone house in Warrandyte and a great mental image is that of heavy rockwork behind the shelving. Anyway, there are a fair few little beauties that wont be on daily display so I gotta suck it up and move on.

laundry and pantry. prolly wont see these much but I know that they're there.

Had a fair bit of cleaning up to do so an arvo off from sorting, mixing, shovelling, laying and pointing got things sorted. Unfortunately, we had to miss out on collecting heaps more trailer loads of big rocks. Steve's back was getting niggly and my sciatica was becoming near unbearable. Anyway, two old sooks moaned and groaned until we got to the back door. Still needs a little bit of fill work behind the face rocks but that can come later.

how much difference an hour or two on the broom makes
looks almost orderly

Back in Melbourne, Ma sold the house OK and we cracked a bubbly to celebrate.


I then booked into the doctors and went for another massage. installment has some big news...stay tuned...