Building our first patio

This past weekend, we embarked on what was possibly the craziest idea we’ve ever tried. We tried our hand at earning our stripes as home owner DIY’ers. Surprisingly the project was pretty successful. Here was the plan :

Day 1 – Lay out the area to pave and Dig up the yard for the patio

Day 2 –  Compact the ground – possibly lay some pavers

Day 3 – Lay out the pavers and seal , clean up, and sit on the patio

The reality was something far from that! Before we start – here are the before pictures:

Patio before digging

Back yard before the digging
Back yard before the digging

As you can see – it wasn’t terribly exciting – but this is what we were working with. What you can’t see here is tha tthere is a slight slope that we had to level out . That turned out to be totally easier said than done!

Day 1 – Lay out the area to pave and Dig up the yard for the patio

Peter did most of the heavy digging on this task. He literally dug up the entire area in under 2 hours. We foolishly thought that this was the hard work with this.  I took on the mission to haul the excess dirt behind the fence with a wheelbarrow. After he was done this is what we had :

Yard after the digging
Yard after the digging

At this point we were feeling totally motivated. We were convinced that this patio business was no big deal and that we’d be sipping cocktails in the back yard within 48 hours….

We picked up supplies at Home Depot. This was the first point where we started to realize the magnitude of what we were trying to do. We couldn’t get all of the pavers there in one trip. It took two trips with a truck. Fortunately we had a friend to help us haul the stuff off of the truck. Even getting the supplies at Home Depot was a mission. We picked what we wanted, we needed about 150 stone pavers, but the home depot didn’t have enough. So we picked a different type of stone paver. It took over an hour and a half  from the time we picked the paver till they were able to get them on the truck. We also had to get tons of bags of sand. We miscalculated – thinking that 37 bags would do it. Between the pavers ( no less than 20 lb each ) and the sand bags ( no less than 30 lb each ) this was way harder than we expected. Nevertheless we made the 75 minute limit for the Home Depot truck rental and made the two runs and offloaded everything.

The rest was a blur of energy drinks, dirt, sand, pavers, levels, and shovels. It was ugly! But we got through it.

Bags of Sand
Bags of Sand

Our backyard was now upgraded to this: 200 square feet of entertainment area. I love the fact that we did this but I swore NEVER AGAIN!

End Product :

This was our finalized patio
This was our final patio

Bangkok Thailand ( Business Trip )

On a few rare occasions I had some time to step out and see the city . Bangkok was an amazing collection of beautiful architecture, colors, smells, foods, and more. It was definitely a sensory overload. These are some of the photos. There are also some pictures from the famous floating market.
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Cape Town vacation

We have visited Cape Town several times over the past few years. During our visits we visited several tourist destinations in Cape Town. Some of the places we visited are Seal Island, Table Mountain, Muizenberg Beach, and The Strand Beach.

Here is a collection of photos from these visits
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Birthday weekend in Nassau – Bahamas

We had never been to the Caribbean before and figured that a birthday would be a wonderful excuse to make such a trip. There wasn’t much time to take photos but I snapped a few shots away. I was also getting used to the camera, learning its features and finding a convenient way to haul it around.

Here are some pictures taken during this visit to Nassau.
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Test shots with EOS Rebel XTi Camera

I purchased an entry level Canon DSLR, the EOS Rebel XTi with the kit 18-55 lens in July 08. After reading reviews and following forum discussions I opted for the Canon as opposed to an entry level Nikon.

I took some shots at our local state park using lessons learned from online tutorials as well as advise from friends deep into photography. I also used Aperture (Mac software) to edit / enhance the color and exposure in some of the pics.

Here are some shots from that session.
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Weekend trip to Mexico City

In August 08 we paid a visit to Mexico City. I always wanted to see the pyramids in Mexico and despite the short trip, we were able to squeeze in a tour of the Teotihuacan archaeological site where we saw the Avenue of the Dead, the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Pyramid of the Moon.

Here are some pictures from this vacation
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Vacation in Rio de Janeiro

We took a trip to Rio in December 08 and got to see some of Rio’s famous tourist detinations as well as experience the vibrant culture of the city. We got to see the statue of Christ the Redeemer, the Tijuca Forest National Park, Copacabana Beach, Ipanema and Leblon beaches, Sugarloaf Mountain as well as several Brazillian steak houses.

Here are some pictures from the trip
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