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It all started with the bathroom. One night, while incredibly over working on the beadboard, we started entertaining ourselves by quoting from the movie Armageddon. The one where Bruce Willis saves the world from impending destruction via an incoming asteroid by sacrificing himself in place of Ben Affleck. You know the one. So anyway, being bored and needing to entertain ourselves, we started quoting the Russian cosmonaut that they meet when they go into space. And this line that he says, “This is how we do things in Russian space station,” kept popping into our heads. Every time we’d do something well or finish a section or just entertain ourselves, we’d say this out loud, mimicking the crazy accent the Russian cosmonaut has in the movie, in which he really says something along the line of, “Thees eees ow we doo tings in Ruuussssiiiiaaaan E-space-y E-stationnnn.” Finally, B turned to me and said, “That’s what our house is. Our Russian Space Station.”

That, my friends, is how you end up naming your house something way less cool than the pretty Italian house in Under the Tuscan Sun (Bramasole, for the record). You end up naming it after a Bruce Willis movie. That’s how we roll here at the Ruuussssiiiiaaaan E-space-y E-stationnnn.

Speaking of how we roll, B has proven to be not only a very kind husband, but a handy one at that. Do you see what he did in a matter of two afternoons?

In case you’re not sure what you’re looking at, let me elaborate. We’ve been needing to do two things in our yard: 1) build a small patio where we can put our grill to get it off our porch, which we plan to screen in, and 2) level out the area around the foundation so that water will run away from the house and not toward it when it rains. B did both!

He marked off the area where he needed to dig, dug up a ton of dirt, and proceeded to level the area back off. He tamped everything flat using a tamper, and then laid out the stones, using a yard stick ruler to make sure everything was evenly spaced. Then, he and I planted grass seed between each stone and topped it off with fresh top soil.

The weather cooperated with us. We finished about two minutes before it started to rain, which works out great for the grass seed.

We’re hoping this will also help us alleviate the problem we’ve been having with the stray cats that our neighbor feeds. They use our yard as their litter box, and we have a sneaking suspicion that it’s contributing to Scout’s chronic ear infections (because she eats their “presents,” of course). This area was basically 100% weeds anyway, so we needed to get some grass seed down. Not laying a full patio—which would have required sand and rocks as an underlay—saved us hundreds.

Ignore the messy porch. We hadn’t cleaned up yet. The trash can is out because B dug up some interesting things in the ground: multiple chalks (that would explain the drawings on our brick that are too stubborn to come off easily); an empty plastic jar of Crayola paint; a milk jug top; and about three bricks, broken into various pieces. The white thing sticking up out of the ground is some sort of pipe that the contractors who built our place thought they should just leave in the middle of the yard like that, sticking straight up. Geniuses. It’s impossible to work around, but B made it look nice anyway. We figured if we end up wanting the porch wider, we can always add more stones. The wide side on the right is where we’ll move the grill. Now to see how fast the grass will grow!