## Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A cubic foot of top soil weighs in the neighborhood of 75 - 100 pounds. There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. Hence, one cubic yard of top soil weighs between 2025 and 2700 pounds.

A cubic foot of dry, loose gravel with 1/4" to 2" stones is 105 pounds per cubic foot. So, a cubic yard is that times 27, or 2835 lb. (There are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard.)

The weight of any soil will depend on how saturated it is with water. A rule of thumb is that a cubic foot of saturated loamy soil weighs about 20 pounds. Saturated clay would be heavier because it is denser than loam.

According to Noelle's back:

Four yards of wet soil & gravel (10,800 pounds) removed by hand, approximately one-fourth by Noelle's hand: 2700 pounds. 2700 pounds by friend Dave. 5400 pounds by 21-yr-old neighbor, who surprisingly didn't want to help the second day. Lol.

Four yards of wet soil & gravel returned to the hole after water pipe repair and a day of leak-checking: approximately 2/3 by Noelle: 7200 pounds. 1/3 by Dave: 3600 pounds. I was the second day's manual laborer, while Dave did the hard stuff, like tamping the dirt back in while moving it back into the hole also, replanting, rebuilding the retaining wall, not to mention the actual repair itself on the first day!

What a reminder to me of how dependent we are on other people for our sustenance. I just finished reading Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank from 1959. An absolute must read! It's about living in a post-nuclear-war world, and one of their things to contend with was water. I guess then having no water for an entire twenty-four hours made me think about what would happen if we suffered some catastrophic event. Maybe I better go out and buy some salt, while it's still cheap!

Seriously, sometimes I forget how blessed I am to have water that comes from multiple faucets inside my house. My house! It's regular sized, a couple thousand square feet, not a big house compared to what gets built today, but folks all over the world would give anything to live in what I regularly refer to as the dump, because I'd rather have a one-level newer house that isn't constantly taking all our money for maintenance. How spoiled I am!

Steve is glad I'm taking science classes (yes, -es, I saved three of them to the very end, it sounded good at the time...grr..) instead of philosophy this term. He's laughingly tired of me questioning everything about our existence.

I guess it was just a water leak and I don't need to get too weirded out by it, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to also recognize how much we have in this country and to be grateful for it.

## Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Yesterday I went to my old funeral homes to visit and to pick up price lists. A friend's dad is elderly and ill and they asked me to help them figure out what they need to do. It kind of excited me to think of actually being needed and of actually having value. It's one thing I've realized in the past year of not working, no one needs me. My kids are grown and they hang out with me, but they don't need me. I have no coworkers depending on me to do my share. My husband has his work. The marriage group we work with functions fine without me, even though I like to think I make a difference. My girlfriend, Tracy, who I'm walking with, doesn't even miss me if i'm gone. I'm heading to Steve's office in CA tomorrow afternoon, so T already made a different walking date! I was like, hey, I'm not even going till one, and by the way can you take me to the airport?

Anyway, it was very fun to visit yesterday. The first place I worked is dark and kind of dreary, so it wasn't super great to visit, also I think the office manager doesn't really like me coming there. She's my replacement and i think it took her a while to figure everything out, so I think she thinks I'm judging the job she's doing, which I'm totally not. As why would I possibly care. Plus Skip wasn't there embalming, well, no one was embalming, which was a little weird. Bodies don't embalming themselves, you know. Actually, I didn't even see a body, come to think of it. Guess they weren't kidding when they said it'd been a slow month. I said, don't worry, the weather's cooling off, you just need a week of solid rain. "Don't I know it! A good stormy week and they'll be banging down the door!", Chris drawled with his heavy Southern twang.

So then I went to the last funeral home I worked for, it was the first time i'd been since they let me go. I called my buddy, Don, and said I wanted to stop by to get a price list. He was super excited and told me to come on in. It was only a little weird for a second to think about going in. I sure miss working there. So, long story short, the office manager got laid off about a month or so ago and last week the general manager got shipped to another location. (The location, managers go before they're fired.) So, Don is now the manager. Of course, I immediately asked for my job back, but they finally made the wise decision that they don't need three directors and a manager and an office manager and a receptionist. So the receptionist is now the office manager/receptionist and Don is the general manager/funeral director. They'll be running with four people instead of six and have a much better chance of being profitable. The two people who were incompetent are now gone and had I just ducked my head and gone with the flow I'd still be there and it would be a crazy fun place to work. I wonder will I ever learn? Well, I think I am learning, but it seems to be coming pretty dang slowly. I'm ready to go back to work now. It'll be nice to talk to our friend's parents about their funeral plans, it'll be nice to be needed for a few minutes.

We went camping for a couple nights last week, and I realized my kids are grown. The youngest is going to college this month. My oldest grandson starts school today, well kindergarten. My oldest boy will be 26 this month. At some point, time slipped up and got away from me and I guess I'm feeling a little melancholy or something. I just don't know what my purpose is right now. Well, right this moment, it's to do some painting downstairs. We painted window and door trim over the weekend, so now I have to touch up the walls, where we were a little, uh, messy.

That's it. The walls need me.

Sigh...