welcoming august plus a backyard update

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer months!

My visiting family flew home yesterday (sniffle).

During their visit I somehow managed to end up in urgent care (with what I thought was strep throat, but turned out to be a sinus infection) just two weeks after my emergency room visit which was one week after my 'sliced my leg open' injury, so am hoping I am done with medical emergencies for awhile.

On the bright side the strange left leg rash I have been trying to avoid thinking about for the last two years has miraculously almost disappeared. Is this all TMI? I agree ... I just can't help myself though.

We finished the semi-inground pool just in time - hopefully in September we will figure out what to do about that concrete block wall under the ground and open area (yikes) next to the pool wall before someone gets a foot stuck in there!

The extra depth in the middle of the pool (it is 5' deep in the center) was well worth the extra money - it makes the pool feel so much more like an in-ground than above ground. I highly recommend it to anyone planting an above ground pool in the ground like we have.

New post over on my other blog - the Armchair Astrologer today if you are following the stars. Now it's time for me to get back to business (my retail has been open, but my wholesale peeps have been extremely patient with me this July!) - it would have been nice if hubs and I had taken an actual vacation for us, but hopefully we will have a few evenings in the backyard pool in August that make up for all this summer work. As my grandma would say I am bone tired, folks! xo all

Jupiter Moves into Leo - do you feel LUCKY?

Jupiter changes signs on July 16th; moving from Cancer into Leo. Jupiter loves drama. Leo loves drama. The drama will be IMMENSE - pull up a chair (yes, a recliner) and make some popcorn (not the kind with the fake butter though)!

Jupiter takes about 12 years to circle through the zodiac so spends a little over one year in each sign. He is masculine energy and rules both Pisces and Sagittarius; the 9th and 12th houses.

If your age is divisible by 12 (24, 36, 48, 60, etc) you were probably born with Jupiter in Leo (check your natal chart HERE) and this year will be even more special for you - it's your Jupiter return, you lucky duck!

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system - in fact if we put all the other planets and the moon and all the asteroids and all the meteors and comets together on a scale - mighty Jupiter would still outweigh them. Astrophysicists believe he was almost our second sun (and he definitely thinks so, too).

Jupiter graciously generates more heat than he receives from the sun - and is associated with expansion, generosity and abundance.

Jupiter is the space that views our life as a journey of prosperity and expansion - from the moment we are born he is widening our vista, nudging us toward new horizons and whispering shouting in our ears GROW dammit!

So we have the planet of abundance and more moving into the sign (Leo) of abundance and more!

This is an especially powerful year for Leos (sun, ascendants and moons - they need only be brave to have Jupiter with them every step of the way) and also the other fire signs - Aries and Sagittarius (and the air signs, too) and everyone will find the house in their natal chart holding Leo expanding in a good way with this transit!

Read more about this on my Armchair Astrologer blog.

full moon in capricorn July 12th ... plus it's sink or swim time

no, this is not our pool - this is our inspiration pool
I think this has been my longest blog break in 5 years!

I usually blog on the weekends and my weekends have been spent fixing up

(I use the word fixing rather loosely here)

my house for this month's guests.

We have an intense full moon in Capricorn on Saturday - lots of great info about this on my Armchair Astrologer Blog, so check that out.

We I have been thinking / talking / meditating / obsessing about moving for the last couple years. After Hurricane Sandy took out most of our trees, swimming pool and front bucket loader (don't ask) - it seemed like a good time.

Last year when I blew our chance at an almost free house (oops) I knew life might need a little extra time to line us up with the right move, so I decided to settle in and work with what I already have - what a novel idea for a professional recycler.

Hubs and I kept coming back to the pool question. A pool seems a crazy thing to re-build when you are not planning on living in a house for very long, but we have always had a pool. We don't have air conditioning so a pool has always seemed essential.

Anyhoo, I discovered something (on Pinterest) called a semi-inground pool. It was almost too good to be true - the feel of an inground pool (sort of) without the price tag. I should add that along with our trees we lost a lot of privacy in our backyard and replacing the four ft. tall above ground pool and deck we used to have was feeling a lot less appealing. We also discovered we could make the new pool a saltwater pool with a cell system to eliminate the chemicals.

To make a long story short shorter we bought a pool that could go into the ground and the pool store set us up with an experienced installation company. Everyone knew what we were doing - they all told me they had done this whole "put an above ground pool half way into the ground" thing many times before.

I should back up and say we very, very rarely hire anyone. We do almost everything here ourselves - even though I know the way life works is if we want people to pay us for our expertise we need to pay other people for theirs.

So the pool is delivered, the installers come with a backhoe/bobcat (?) and dig a hole, they assemble the pool in the hole, the pool looks great, the filter is hooked up, the water starts moving - this is all on schedule even during the mercury retrograde period and I am congratulating myself on framing this work as "re"placing our old pool, which I am certain is the reason everything is going so swimmingly.

Then ... there's a knock at the door (I am nursing two bites from a wasp attack with an icepack at exactly this moment) - the installers tell me they are finished. I go outside and am standing in a backyard that looks like a bomb has gone off or maybe something like the aftermath of the final episode of Goldrush.

"OK" I say calmly, "doesn't the area around the pool get filled in with this dirt?" And the installer says "we don't back-fill."

(this has now become hubs and my go-to expression for stuff we don't want to do. Hubs - "did you go to the post office today", me - "look buddy, it's hot out and I don't back-fill.")

Then the guy drops the real bomb - "you need to build a cement wall around this thing first anyway" ....

Now, I told you I did some research. I did. I didn't see any cement walls being built in the ground to protect the pool from the dirt side walls caving in. I didn't think too much about this part - this is why we hired professional help, after all! I ask the guy if they can do this and he tells me no. I ask him if he can recommend anyone, he says no.

the real deal - 2 feet above ground, 3 feet in the ground
To make a long story short shorter hubs and I and Chris (mostly hubs) buy, carry home (yes on our backs like mules) and stack 144 cement cinder blocks and sixty four 60 pound bags of concrete mix.

We (mostly hubs, I may have been pinning avocado recipes on Pinterest at this point) mix and pour 3000 lbs of concrete (mixed with water and sand so maybe 4000 lbs!) into the cinder block holes to secure a wall - a wall in the ground that we then cover with shovels of dirt - you can almost see the tops of the 2 ft tall cinder block wall in this picture at the base of the pool.

You can't see the 7 ft pile of dirt to the right of this whole thing. You can't see my family who are arriving from Oregon and Washington in 12 days for a family reunion. You can't see me running around like a maniac which is quickly followed by lying on the ground in a sweaty puddle of overwhelm.

On the bright side the water is testing perfectly and does not taste salty ...

(you know me and looking at the bright side - it's the reason I have four pairs of prescription sunglasses after all or wait, that could be my inability to keep my Ray Ban aviators scratch-free for more than a minute)

I will update this again next week - I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Hopefully we will get the platform built and ladder in so we can get the inspector out here to approve this thing - then we have to figure out the dirt situation plus clean up the yard and house, paint the porch floor and finish painting the shutters. Luckily we have a Capricorn full moon to get a lot done - just hoping it doesn't rain! xo all