A really nice day today. We started out this morning with a trip to the big Habitat for Humanity Re-use store in Raleigh. I've heard of folks finding great things there, and now that I've been, I can see why. It's like a ginornimous Goodwill of building supplies. We were looking for something specific (brick pavers for an outdoor path), and saw it immediately, but we still walked around the whole place looking at everything.
The stock gave us lots of ideas for future projects -- moulding for the bedroom, windows for the shed, maybe a new back door, etc. The one thing that I really regret was a 1930's vanity. A bit dinged up, but it was a beautiful piece with a top compartment that slid forward when you opened the lid, and a light fixture inside. Too bad we have no space for something like that. There was also a beautiful dining table in good condition, but we already have a nice dining table. And dozens of sinks! Which got Georg excited about wanting to repair/replace the kitchen countertop and sink. Which is an ambitious project, but what the heck. We've taken on projects beyond our skill level before, and it's always worked out.
So, the brick pavers. They had two pallets, at about $2 a square foot. It was in excellent condition although used, probably for exactly the same purpose (there was sand clinging to the bottoms of the bricks). Alas, we hadn't planned too well, and didn't know a) how much new brick costs, or b) how much we need. I honestly didn't think we were going to find any, so I didn't think I needed to have that info in advance. So we left without buying.
After the Habitat for Humanity store we headed to the farmer's market for firewood. I'm proud to say that I managed to get there by driving through town, rather than going back up to the beltline and circling around the city on the highway, and didn't get lost once. And if you've ever driven with me on unfamiliar roads, you know what an achievement that is.
We got firewood from a nice guy on the opposite end from the people who shorted us last time. He was very talkative, telling us how he was filling in for his dad, who normally sells at the market, but today was at the museum teaching a class on basket-making. I really liked him, until I made some comment about the weather and he replied that the Bible says in the end times, we won't know winter from spring. Umm ... sure, or it could just be an el Niño. (Maybe El Niño is a sign of the end times!)
On the way home we decided to have lunch at Hotpoint, a little sandwich/pizza place we like near Crossroads in Cary. Crossroads is such a big mall, going there is always a major trip, and it's nice to have a place to eat right there which isn't a chain. We were a little early and Hotpoint wasn't open yet, so we went to the big box store at Crossroads to price brick. At Home Depot it was about $3 a square foot. I misremembered the price of the brick at the Habitat store as $1 a square foot, which would be a fantastic deal, so we decided to go back after lunch and get the brick.
Well, we got back and realized that it was actually not a fantastic deal, but still about 1/3 off the new price, so we were going to get it anyway. But the guy at the counter told me that my truck (a Ford Ranger) would only hold about half a pallet. He said we'd have to break open the pallet and hand-load half of it, take it home and come back for the rest. He said they would keep the other half of the brick for us until Wednesday, but he warned me that they had a theft problem with the outdoor stock, and he wouldn't recommend leaving an open pallet of brick over a weekend.
It was early afternoon by then, and there simply wasn't time for us to load a half-ton of brick, drive home to Durham, unload it, drive back to Raleigh and load another half-ton before the store closed at 5. So we took a pass on the brick. We'll call them next week and if they still have it, go early Saturday morning so we have time to make two trips. In the meantime I'm going to check out Craig's List and see if I can find a better deal.
Back home it was so warm that I had to do a little yardwork. Nothing too strenuous after all that driving around. I cut down the dead branches of the die-back perennials, did some light weeding in the iris bed, and pulled up about a hundred privet seedlings around the butterfly bush. They're easy to pull out when they're small, but total bastards once they become established. Georg calls them "the nightmare shrubs of nightmare."
Now I'm relaxing on the couch, watching an odd James Coburn movie. I was going to light a fire tonight but Thirteen is sleeping right in front of the fireplace and I hate to disturb her. Oh well, it will be a better night for it tomorrow.