I had my first inkling just after Christmas, when I got my very own leaf blower. Let me tell you, that thing is FUN! I love using it, and I'd have all the leaves in the backyard blown into one area, were the extension cord long enough on my blower. As is, my patio is clean all the time, and my front porch and walkway are clean, too.
Last day our patio looked like this - thanks to my leaf blower, it's clean all the time!
My latest tool toy is a pressure washer. We've lived in this house for nearly 16 years, and I've been wanting to get the patio pressure washed for years...but it's not the kind of thing we ever want to spend money on. But once we bought our spring plants and started getting the yards spruced up again, I wished out loud for a pressure washer - and for a change, we actually did something about it. One trip to both Lowe's and Home Depot to compare models and prices resulted in this sweet little Ryobi coming home with us; I immediately went to work with it:
Once I was finished, you could see all of the pretty shades of slate on the patio!
The instant gratification from the pressure washer is amazing. I've spent my life vacuuming carpet, and sure, it looks clean, but with my new toy, the ground is CLEAN! It was fascinating to see the change happen right before my eyes:
You can see the grout lines again! This was still early on; I got better as I went along and all of the black is gone from the tiles.
Now, the pressure washer did flake up some of the slate, but then again, so does the leaf blower...it's just a delicate tile. Still, I'm thrilled. I got the entire patio cleaned, and then moved on to the walkway leading from the driveway to the front door:
Look at the color difference! The darker area ISN'T wet - that's just how dirty it was.
I spent a couple of hours in a bit of a meditative trance as I cleaned. When I was finished, I felt so accomplished! Also a bit tired and ironically, dehydrated, but it was about 80 degrees when I was working, in the sun - I'm a vampire runner, so to be outside in the middle of the day was unusual for me. And I will admit, the lifelong Californian in me was a bit bothered by how much water I was wasting, but we aren't in a drought where I live, so I let that go.
Oh, and one thing I discovered is that you should not attempt to "rinse off" your dirty feet with the pressure washer. Yeah, that hurt - luckily I didn't do any damage, but my big toe was stinging for a while. I had to laugh at how dirty my legs were when I was finished:
Just call me Mike Rowe...
Next up is the driveway, but that's a huge job for another day (or two). I can't believe that I've missed out using a pressure washer for so long! I was seriously thinking that I could hire myself out to my neighbors to clean their driveways, and when I posted a picture of me and my new toy on Facebook, a friend commented that she was thinking the same thing! Maybe I can earn money for running shoes and race entry fees this way.
And now I have to wonder...what else have I been missing out on? What is the next tool toy that I need to try? Spill the beans, people!