This is the home post I've been waiting years now to share. Ideally it should have been completed a long, long time ago, but life and all of the unexpected, got in the way.

Mike, obviously a man of many skills, happens to hold his love for landscape above most all of his other, so-called "hobbies." In fact our last home, an adorable (teeny) spanish bungalow built in 1927 sold almost instantly, well over asking price, due mainly to it's lush, layered landscape that Mike had finally finished just before we decided to sell soon after Arlo was born.

The lead singer for L.A guns - a glorififed 80's hairband, bought it and demanded he was entitled to eveything in the yard, inclduding a couple of the hand carved tikis Mike made years ago when I had first met him. We left him one. A decision I still regret.

As for this yard, the initial attack started almost immediately. Big plans for a big yard and lots of steam behind it. However, once the housing market burst, like so many people, we saw our community turned upside down almost in an instant. Dead grass lining streets full of newly abandoned houses. People walking away like fleas, the foreclosures rotting the vibe of what was initially touted as a young, new community catering to young, new family needs. Parks and schools a'plenty, playgrounds and jogging tracks as well as all kinds of fun-filled events based on various seasonal happenings.

In short, it totally sucked the joy out of working on our own home for a good two or three years. For awhile there, we weren't sure we would stay either. Mike abandoned all of those big yard plans, and then the progressed stopped altogether once the teepees really took off. I mean, for a guy who wakes up at 2, or 3, or 4 in the morning (if he's lucky) works a full day and then drives home in the awful pit of notorious Southern California traffic jams, he only had time for one or the other. And if there's one thing I've accepted about him, it's that we don't pay anyone to do anything he could do himself. That goes for gardening, plumbing, electrical jobs, concrete, stucco, and so on, and so forth. Obviously, a great benefit in that, without these skills we could not afford the kind of backyard he is building. Complete with a full standing outdoor kitchen, water features, fireplace and a few cozy, concrete outdoor furniture pieces. The downside, in the midst of such a constant and revolving list of "to-dos" is that sometimes I wait months for him to replace something so simple as a defunct kitchen faucet, or hook up a toilet that's been sitting in our master bathroom, out of business, for .. well . . quite sometime.

Now, the good news is, I figured out a sure fire way to push certain things along. When my friend Stacey asked if she and her husband of ten years, could use our backyard to renew their wedding vows, I was quick to oblige. Mainly, because I know there is nothing that motivates Mike more than a big party. Honestly, it's sometimes the reason I plan them in the first place - to push whatever projects we have going, into immediate overdrive.

Last weekend he actually hired help a pair of helping hands to get the rock facing up, so the progress moved steadily. Most all of the rock is up and the water from one fountain is running. The fireplace is framed, awaiting stone, and a heavy wood mantle- which, I'm positive will be my favorite part of it all.

I'm thinking, if he can pull it all together by summer, I can enjoy playdates here, outback with a working fireplace, kitchen and seating for friends on the weekends. Especially crucial considering I may realistically not be out and about as much this summer, with a newborn in tow, so the fact of a finished backyard seems the perfect solution to hosting more of these mid-week playdates where I can still count on regular naps for the baby.

I'm looking forward to all it. Nice weather, good food, cold beer and plenty of plastic pools and wild hoses to entertain our regular summers which always includes a yard filled non stop with kids of all ages.  The misplaced toilet, on the other hand, might very well be serving as plant stand some here point soon.

As of now, it's already proving all the batman figurines's favorite secret hide-away.