People said they were crazy...

So Lea Ann and Stuart just had to prove that they were correct! (Never, ever, go "right"...)

First, they decided that, because of recurring water problems, the existing sidewalk to their house was ineffective, unattractive, and possibly detrimental to the house. With that as given, they concocted a plan to remove and replace the existing concrete sidewalk and stoop.

The adventure began on what might have been the hottest weekend of the year, August 3 & 4, 2002. Stuart and Lea Ann, with some help from Stuart's Mom & Dad, their friend Chris Poppe, and their neighbor Chris Wainwright, removed their existing sidewalk and stoop on their house. Not only that, but they also had to create two large planting boxes (12 feet by 3 feet, each) to accept most of the plants that would be moved from the areas around the existing stoop and sidewalk.

Then, our heroes went on vacation...

In what Lea Ann's grandmother felt was a huge risk, a friend was paid to come and put in the replacement stoop and sidewalk... while Lea Ann and Stuart were on vacation. Veronice Lawrence did a fantastic job with the new construction, which is all in high-quality pressure treated wood. The best part was that, on returning from vacation, Lea Ann and Stuart found the work mostly complete!

Here is a pair of panoramas showing the front yard both before anything was really torn up and after. The main item of note is in the second picture where you can see the addition of very stylish caution tape across the empty space where the sidewalk had been.
The front yard before

The front yard after
You might also notice the "heavy" equipment parked in the street... That thing is a "skid steer", which is really just the same as a "Bobcat", but a different brand. (Who knew "Bobcat" was a brand? For those of you who never outgrew Tonka toys, go check out the Bobcat website, or just go check out the Tonka website for the real thing.)

The following pictures are, more-or-less, in order of how the weekend of destruction went.

Stuart used the skid steer to pull up the sidewalk. The existing sidewalk was sagging and had the potential to cause water problems (it formed a huge puddle when it rained). So, we ditched it! Literally! :-)
The sidewalk and Stoop with Stuart bringing in the Skid Steer Stuart using skid steer to pull up the sidewalk

At some point, Stuart became concerned that the stoop was actually tied into the house. If it were actually poured into the house, or linked with re-bar, then removing the stoop could significantly damage the foundation. So, as a precaution, he also rented a concrete saw and tried to score the stoop close to the house so that it would break off... Stuart saws the stoop from the back to try to loosen it from the house

Sadly, this sawing did not work quite as well as intended... So Stuart and his dad sit back to reflect on what to do next. (As an aside, this pose below has been called the "WPA stance" because folks alive during the Depression recalled that the WPA would hire enough workers so that several could stand around while the others worked. It should be noted there was only a small crew on this job site...) Stuart and his Dad, considering what to do with the stoop...

Stuart's dad took a shot at the stoop with his pick... Dad resting after breaking the stoop with a pick axe

Once pieces of the sidewalk were pulled up, they dumped it on the street, as a collection point before getting rid of it...
Dumping the concrete   Dumping the concrete

One or two trips out to the street were not enough, though. It was no small task to get all that concrete lifted out of the ground. The job was not made easier by the fact that there are several established planting beds around the old sidewalk and they tried to avoid damaging them. In these shots, you can see how they managed to pull the end of the sidewalk out from between two planting beds.
Almost done...!!   Pulling up end of sidewalk

In case you thought that this was a sexist household... Lea Ann likes power tools, too! Lea Ann had to get in on the driving action...

Finally, the job is completed and it looks like someone has enjoyed his life-sized Tonka toy. Is Stuart happy???

Here is the resulting pile of rubble out on the street. The second picture gives you an idea of what it looked like from inside the skid steer... a cat's eye view, as it were.
What a pile!!   Cat's Eye View!!

Back by the house, things are also looking different. Stuart graded off the hill along the house so that water would run away from the house instead of pooling up in front of it. And you can see that the result is a small step out the front door... For a few weeks, everyone entered through the kitchen, which made the cats very nervous.
Where the sidewalk and stoop used to be...   The last step's a doozey!

Just when they started to think that the worst was behind them, a problem raised its ugly head... How on earth were they going to get rid of the concrete now piled in the public street? A couple of earlier ideas had fallen through and it was Sunday night. On Monday, Stuart called a couple of places and was able to hire a dump truck that came with a driver and covered the dumping fees. And the best part, was that the dumping fees were for the load to be taken to a concrete recycler... That's correct, these two are soooo eco, they even recycled their concrete!
Loading the Truck   Loading the Truck

Stuart and Lea Ann... Sitting on the Bobcat, after they finished loading the Dump Truck. Yes, finally the destruction was complete. Stuart and Lea Ann After we finished loading!

Let me see the new stoop!!!
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