It's the first of the month and I'm already tired when I look at my February calendar. Our long-term house project is enclosing the backyard so the dog can be outside without being on a leash, and the first step in that is replacing our existing fence. The next will be busting up a strip of driveway so we can build a gate, but I am trying not to think about that too much.

We worked with a contractor to put in a new porch railing and front walk after last fall's concrete demolition, and I liked his work so much we're having him tear out the last 100' of spalling patio, use up the pavers from the sidewalk as a base for a new, smaller kit shed, and build a fence to match the porch railing. Our tentative start date is a little over a month from now.

But first, we have to demo the existing shed, cut down / grind a rotten tree stump between our fence and our neighbor's, and dig a very short french drain. Mild in comparison to busting up two layers of sidewalk and a crumbling patio, or tearing down a wooden shed built around a metal shed, or digging a 10' french drain that just happened to be in a spot where a thirsty water maple had run a root — all of which we have done in the less than two years since we bought this house.

I also have a conference this month, a few long-awaited classes through USN's Evening Classes fundraiser, and running coach certification. This leaves precisely two weekends available to get everything done. Hope it doesn't rain!

Other things I need to do before it gets too hot (read: before Easter): remove the bushes that are too close to the house, plant replacements and taller hedges away from the house, buy a composter, look into replacing the last original window on the house. And then, of course, I'd like to finish painting and install blinds that aren't paper. Oh, and sleep.

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