By the end of today, our cars will be in the garage, off the street, where they have resided while at home for the past ten days. The driveway is done done done, all dried and set, and we can actually drive on it. Scott told me to wait until Wednesday, and to be completely confident weʼre waiting for Wednesday evening. I hope Janet will get back from Dubuque and her workout with enough light to appreciate her new grand entry. (I may even hold off and let her get the first drive into the garage, but then again, maybe not.)
As we had worried, the junk dropping from the trees was a problem (leaves and pods made dents and holes in the wet surface when they fell onto the newly fashioned drive a week ago). So we tried patching the imperfections, thus creating darker areas, but we donʼt care so long as itʼs smooth.
The new driveway is novel for us in very many ways. First, for me, I have never lived at a place that got a new driveway until now. Not any of the homes where I lived as a child ever got repaved (perhaps because we never lived anywhere all that long until Mt. Pleasant, and the driveway on Green Street was in pretty good shape through my fatherʼs death), nor has anywhere I dwelled as an adult (the apartment in Ft. Madison had no driveway; the house on Emma Court had a gravel drive; the Matteson Street apartment was also graveled although I had to park in the street anyway; Maple Street just had a tiny concrete slab outside the garage onto the alley, and that was home to Janetʼs red Mustang, while my van still parked on the street in front; the rental house had a nice drive (which the people living there now have redone); the Arcade street house was accessed from gravel; and this place has needed a replaced driveway for decades*). The driveway has also cost us the most money we have spent on home improvement without taking out a loan (soon to be second place to the new furnace/boiler). That notion is a little scary, especially knowing that the furnace and our vacation are still coming out of the account!
I donʼt know if I would ever have gotten around to redoing the drive without Janetʼs determination (and the model of our neighbors to the east, who got theirs redone about two or three years back). I tend to let nature take its course on things and adapt myself (even to the jarring shocks of my shovel encountering the crevasses in the drive at 5:00 a.a.) rather than intervene and change things. Thatʼs why we trim when Janet thinks bushes are too grotesque and intrusive, not when I decide to (because I wonʼt come to that decision). By the way, notice in the picture that the sand cherry to the right of the drive in the picture has been trimmed; Janet thought it was dropping sap on the new concrete.
I also donʼt know if all the choices in getting our new drive were the best ones, either. She left me to interview the prospective construction/concrete companies/guys, and I donʼt know if I made the best choice or not. We went with the lowest bid (but with thicker concrete and including the fill), which sounds too much like government decisions. However, itʼs done now, and we will just have to see.
Our neighbors got smooth drives, while ours has a roughness to the surface created by the lightweight paddle on the long handle (that I pointed out here). Our concrete also looks very pale (especially with the dark splotches of patch that I did on Sunday and Monday). Again, I donʼt know any better, so weʼre hoping all is well with what got done. With all the fill the guys put in (eight tons, they said, but that might have been enthusiastic exaggeration), we shouldnʼt see the settling the old driveway endured, so that alone should help prevent some level of cracking.
Whatever. As I keep telling myself (and as I have said already here), itʼs done, and weʼll live with what we chose to have done. For at least quite few years it has got to remain better than the old one ever was. And better than the streets of Maquoketa, which the city elects to have “seal-coated,” which means tarry asphalt thinly applied and gravel dumped on top of that, leaving any street so “repaved” nothing but an in-town gravel road for months, and our street seems to get done the worst of any street in town, although a good number of the ones I run down in the mornings have their little problems, too. Right now our street rises in a noticeable hump to the middle because of the various layers of asphalt-and-gravel, making for not the safest winter driving along the rolling hillsides of the two lanes. We also used to be able to just shovel or blow snow right across the street to clear a space in front of our driveway, but that job has gotten harder as we now have to push definitely uphill from our side to the crown in the middle. (But the cityʼs errors in street-maintenance judgment are another issue altogether, right?)
So the new driveway is complete and will get used for the first time this afternoon or evening. We hope for the best.
* For a review of some of those old houses, check here.