Snow Storms, Mud, and Missing in Action Contractors

August 18, 2017

How was that last post for a cliff hanger, eh (remember yesterday’s jaw-dropping post)?  Welcome to part 2 of our backyard debacles and the behind the scenes of our big shoot.  I don’t want to give too much away because the cringe-worthy details are just too good, so let’s jump right into it.

Remember, this is what it looked like when we woke up the day before the shoot.  THE DAY BEFORE.  Later that afternoon, the producer and photography director for our HUGE collaboration were scheduled to come look at the space in person and plan shots.  Like the same day.  Like a in a few hours.  You guys.  It was bad.

Luckily I’m married to one heck of a man and historically we tend to thrive in stressful and down to the minute moments.  He threw on some grubby clothes, pulled out his cell phone, enlisted the help of his brothers and a few faithful friends, and they got to work trying to make sense of the madness.  I could have kissed every one of them!!!  People are good.

There was no way of course we were going to make the whole backyard look presentable.  Instead we focussed on what I knew they would shoot.  That TV background sure came in handy.  I knew which angles they would want to shoot from, so we made those areas look good (as much as we could, that is).

There were several issues besides the obvious amount of snow and lack of manpower.  The biggest: the MUD.  The mud can not be overstated.  It was a disaster.  My brother in law miraculously knew how to work the Bobcat and got to work scooping up all the mud off the patio so we had a cleared surface.

We rented a heavy duty power washer (thank goodness for Home Depot) and it did wonders to clean off the patio.  Didn’t do great things for the already muddy ground, but you know, we figured we would deal with that next.

We had the idea of filling the muddy areas up with road fill then putting gravel on top to firm it up so the crews could stand somewhere to shoot.  Priorities, right?  Gotta stand if you’re going to shoot with a camera.

Well, have you ever tried to put road fill onto wet mud?  Probably not so let me tell you what happens.  It turns into quicksand.  This goopy quicksand.  We were able to get about a two foot radius around the patio firmed up then covered with gravel.  The rest was smoke and mirrors.  Step in the wrong spot and you were ankle deep in goop.  The rest of the areas we covered in ply board sheets.  Classy.

We were still working on things when the producer and photographer arrived, but it was looking considerably better.  The snow actually covered up how epically awful the backyard really was.  They were so so so wonderful about it all.  They had great attitudes and were fun and happy!  It took so much of the weight off!

The snow was a whole other issue.  I mean, this was a “summer” shoot.  It was supposed to look warm and breezy, not like the arctic.  I had faith it would melt in time.  If you’re familiar with Utah, you know spring snow storms are pretty typical and they melt really fast.  There was a lot of praying involved.

There was still much to be done to prep for the shoot but we didn’t want to chance ruining the product so we couldn’t move anything outside until the next morning—- SHOOT DAY.  I keep using all caps because IT WARRANTS IT.  I FELT LIKE I WAS TALKING IN ALL CAPS DURING THIS ENTIRE ORDEAL.

We went to bed that night full of emotions evoking just about every emoji.  Mostly though, we felt so grateful.  Grateful for amazing opportunities, a beautiful (albeit muddy and wet) home, and family and friends who came to our rescue in our dire time of need.

What did it look like the next morning????  Yep, you guessed it.  Stay tuned for the next installment.  It’s a good one.  I’m such a tease.


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  1. […] needs to know before hiring help. As a bonus, they’re also discussing the time a contractor left them in the lurch just days before a big photo shoot. […]

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