Yes, that lovely substance that provides us with driveways, sidewalks and various other niceties of life which require a smooth, hard surface.
My project for today was to start contacting various contractors and seeing what the cost would be to tear out our existing patio which has settled and cracked horribly. Oh, and the front steps which are now starting to list to port might cost us a few trick or treaters sliding off into our bushes should it snow that night. Yes, it is usually cold around here at Halloween (sadly enough).
My first step was to start asking friends and acquaintances if they had recently had work like this done and whether or not they could recommend someone. I start this way because I would rather give my (husband's) hard earned money to a local business that's a known quantity and has someone I personally know to vouch for their work.
I have set up a few companies (usually about 3 for a large job like this) to come by and give me estimates on the work. I will ask them about start dates and completion times, as well as other contingencies depending upon the job. For instance, working in the back yard with all this labor and equipment brings to mind the other expensive component of our outdoors: the sprinkler system. I was assured by the contractor today that if they happened to damage any portion of the sprinklers, they would cover the cost of replacement. I will also be sure to get this in writing when I agree upon the final contract. There might be other special considerations and concerns with certain project; the best thing to do (I think) is sit down and list everything you can think of that relates to the project you have planned. That way, you can be fairly sure that you've covered most, if not all, of your bases and won't have any nasty surprises.
Oh, well. There is no shortage of things to be done around our house, both major and minor, but as long as I keep working on them, I'll be done eventually (right?).
Thanks for being a friend and reading my blog. It feels good to know there are folks like me (and my family) out there trying to keep up with everything!