Saturday, July 29, 2017

What not to do this weekend

Hello again!  Welcome to another episode of Tasks Best Left To Somebody Competent.

Actually I should not sell myself short - I am okay at making a brick path.  I've done it three times before, not counting all the garden edgings, and even after thirteen years the one that gets driven over is still almost completely level.  The trouble is that 'thirteen years' thing.  You don't forget how to lay brick down over tamped-down limestone screenings in thirteen years but you do get stiffer.  Even my beloved red Gramma Step, which serves as the perfect work stool for this sort of project, isn't making it easier for me to get close to the ground this time around.

That's the first problem.  The second is that when the waterproofers cut a trench into our driveway they made a jagged line that had to be corrected.  The third is that we need the trench filled and covered over asap if we want to move anything into the house through the side door while the front porch is being finished, because otherwise we are carrying heavy stuff through the magical land of Trip Hazards Galore, not to mention how much dirt we've been tracking in.  But... we really didn't want to have new asphalt poured into the hole as a patch that never looks like the rest of what's there, and it is pretty hard to find a landscaper to do work like this on short notice.

Thanks to the gift that is YouTube, we learned that you can cut asphalt with a circular saw and a diamond blade, so Pete did that part.  He also got all the bags of limestone and carried them up the driveway for me.  Ditto the bricks, after we picked them together, which was the part where things went really wrong.


This blue-grey colour matches the porch floor perfectly, and it has beveled edges that are super forgiving when it comes to the varying slopes I have to accommodate between asphalt and the existing cobblestone.  Each brick is pretty cheap and, being small with very defined edges, is very easy to set in place.  It's just that it's - so very blue.  And so very different in style from the cobbles and our unpainted driveway, and the brick and stone on our house. Every time I get through another row I think, 'I am making a terrible mistake continuing with this project', even though I know I have no choice because our driveway is now clogged with blue bricks that have to be put somewhere.  Why why why WHY didn't I hold out for terracotta bricks???

On the upside, my back hurt less after the first day, and my legs - cramped into brick-setting position and then stretched out painfully when it's time to bring more bricks to the work area - hurt less after the second.  Also, I lost weight.  So as the house is getting less beautiful, I am getting stronger, which will be useful when we get to the packing and initial moving stage sometime next week. 

Yep, that's what I said! next week!  Not the official move where the movers come in and shift boxes and furniture, but the informal one where Pete and I carry box after box into the house, empty their contents into the cabinets where they will go, and bring them back empty to the condo for refilling so there's enough space to pack the real stuff and freshen up the walls there with a coat of paint.

As I get more fit I am also getting less interested in time-intensive DIY decor projects.  My newly-delivered unfinished wood desk, which I was planning to paint to match the walls of my office, turns out to be a pretty good match for the floor, and I'm thinking that's good enough. 

What do you think? Bearing in mind that painting the desk would take as long as about five blog posts?


Laurinda said...

Every house needs quirks, try to think of your blue bricks as the fun one. Also, you can try toning them down with a light whitewash later. Which would be much easier now that you're all fit & strong from laying them!
As for the desk, I'd say leave it plain, & if you want to paint it later, you still can. There's no sense in painting it until you're fired up to do it.
I'm excited for your first moving stage!

Mary Keenan said...

Whitewash! I didn't think of that, I'll check it out. Anything to soften the colour, since I can't soften the edge of the bricks to match the cobblestones.

It may still look great, once the porch is done. Also my car will block most of it from view!

I am thinking the plain desk will be pretty great. The top is sort of butcher block and very busy but over time it might mellow and if it doesn't, I have a TON of leftover paint to choose from, heh