Actually, it was only 12.5 tons, but you still get an aching back.
Monday we dug a 60' trench for a new drain (by hand), and got the drain laid and set and covered just in time for an inch of rain on Monday afternoon and evening. Which was handy. But because the front drive/turning circle/parking area (I really need a proper name for it) was sparsely gravelled (just bare dirt in places) and because New Mexico soil has three forms with instantaneous transition between them (the forms are a). incredibly fine dust, which when mixed with water becomes b). thick gloopy mud, which when dry becomes c). rock, which over time weathers back to a) incredibly fine dust again), we figured we needed to properly gravel the whole area (which is something in the region of, oh, 4000 square feet? maybe more?). So on Wednesday afternoon we get a twelve-and-a-half ton pile of gravel dumped in the middle of it.
Two hours of shovel, whellbarrow and rakework on Thursday afternoon, and two more hours this morning, and we now have a super new, smarter, crunchier-underfoot drive/turning circle/parking area.
And a few blisters, and aches and pains. But it looks immensely better and should last for many's the year. So that's good.
No pics, cos, y;know, just how exciting is a lot of gravel?
Meanwhile we've had our first viewer of the apartment (no word yet on whther he wants it), and we've done a bunch of other bits and pieces to tidy the place up before heading off on a road trip. Tomorrow we drive to Colorado to aliveandcooking 's Mom's place (in Bailey, about an hour south-west of Denver). We mind the place for a few days and then my father arrives from England on Monday night, whereon we will be doing the tourist thing in a steadily southwards direction (Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Great Sand Dunes, Cumbres and Toltec railroad, Rio Grande Gorge and Santa Fe are al on the itinerary. Back in Silver City by Sunday night (24th July) so expect light to intermitent blogging through then (not that I'm exactly the world's most active blogger at the best of times).
Oh, and one final thing - Google+ seems to be doing a job at the moment. The circling feature works well (it's interesting seeing how different people approach it) and the hangout function (basically a video chat for up to ten people) has been co-opted into the service of collective writing groups - 15 minutes of chat and then 45 minutes of furious typing - which seems to work very well. Increases social exposure (last night I was chatting to Jason Sanford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jamie Rubin, Paolo Bacigalupi, and others (some of these I already "knew" through the web, some not), and aids productivity - what more could you ask for? Will definitely be doing this more. The idea of holding mini con-style discussion panels also has huge appeal, and for writers who (unlike me...) have a fan base, the possibility of Q&A sessions is a good one, too.
So far, liking with the Google+, then.
OK, so, here's where we are. My job ends on Thursday. On Friday I'll go down and see about unemployment - how to go about signing on, how much I'll get, how long it lasts, etc. Obviously, in the US, this is all thoroughly new to me. In the meantime, the redecoration of the apartment nears completion - just some baseboard/skirting board (delete according to nationality) and second coating of walls/ceiling to do, then the last light fitting, a few sets of blinds and a closet shelf to put up. The rental agency realty people will be coming to take a look tomorrow and we'll find out more then about what the market's like and what we might be able to get for it.
Refinancing is complete on the mortgage (we had just started this process before the layoff announcement), so we've cut around $700 off the monthly repayments - makes a significant difference!
No strong leads on the job front as yet but I'm continuing to put feelers out there. Most people seem to reckon that the big internet job-seeking sites (monster et al) are completely worthless, and I tend to agree to an extent. In this world, personal contact is still a far better way of getting to the attention of someone in a position to offer you a job. Of course, it's also slower and more nebulous in terms of progress, but we shall see.
I still hope to use the newly-opened window of time availability to crack on with the writing, so as to be in position by the end of this year to shop at least one and possibly two novels around. The Rovani Triptych continues to progress; still has a couple of significant plot gaps but the second book's main thread is coalescing now, and the third book I knew from the get-go. Plus I have titles for the three - The House Of The Sun, The House Of The Stars, and The House Afire.
Nothing much else of immediate excitement. I know I've been remiss on things like review postings and photos (as if anyone really cared...) so we'll see if I can get a bit more blogging back on track.
Now, got to go do some more work, some more decorating, and sort out a sub for WOTF for this quarter.
The Apple iPod decides that songs prefixed by articles (i.e. titled "A ..." or "The ...") should be sorted as if the article was not present.
Songs beginning with articles in other languages, however...
(I noticed this as I started working through the letter E, and realised I was getting a long run of Latino music...)