Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday's Words for October 27, 2010

I’m pleased to announce that after a couple of months of “careful consideration” of the situation, Mr. Ashbury has finally finished the “porch stairs” project.

You may recall that it was on a hot, sunny day in July that our first born dedicated a Saturday to come and help his father “remove” our cement front porch steps that were resting on the sidewalk. This had been requested by the town, since the sidewalk was in need of repair.

We have no idea whose bright idea it had been to plant the bottom two steps on the sidewalk in the first place. They were there when we bought the house. Regardless, they had to be removed, and my son declared the job would be a “piece of cake”. Of course, he ended up eating his words.

And I was left, at the end of the day, with four crooked, broken, but mostly intact concrete steps at the front of my house that neither reached the sidewalk nor the porch.

Mr. Ashbury thought they would make good flower pot shelves, and so they did for a few weeks. Mrs. Ashbury, on the other hand, was not impressed with this innovation.

The crew finally came to repair the sidewalk and took pity on us, with those ugly, broken things attached to the front of the house. With some deft manoeuvring of their equipment, they removed the unmoveable concrete monstrosity, and carted it away.

Our new steps, located at the north end of the porch instead of the front, east side, are at a pitch of 45 to 50 degrees, and from the time they were built until just recently ended on the lawn. From there, it was necessary for me to walk down the sloping yard to the neighbors drive-way—there was a drop off from grass to sidewalk I couldn’t manage—and then, go down the additional slope of their driveway to the sidewalk.

Mr. Ashbury took a week off of work as vacation time when I went on my writers’ retreat weekend to Indiana in September. Before I left, he said, “I think I might work on putting in a new kitchen floor while you’re gone.” I told him that I would much rather he worked on a walkway from the bottom of our very-steep porch stairs to the sidewalk.

When I came hadn’t been done. He was, he said, “carefully considering” just how to go about building this walkway.

The winds of October often bring snow. I pointed out to Mr. Ashbury that I would be unable to drive him to work if I couldn’t make it safely from the house to the car, which I wouldn’t be able to do if I had to walk across the lawn.

Well, finally, over our Thanksgiving Weekend, Mr. Ashbury came out of consideration mode and entered construction mode. He’d considered buying patio stones, digging the walkway out of the lawn, and then laying the stones. But Mr. Ashbury didn’t really want to buy the stones. This was the matter under “consideration” for so long. In the end, he decided to use the railway lumber we had at the back of the yard.

He used his portable work bench and for the three days of the holiday weekend measured, cut, and fitted these pieces of very heavy-duty weather-treated wood together. He framed it all with two by eight lumber. And yes, he remembered to make a hand rail. It actually looks pretty good. More important to me, it works.

I usually do take some time every day, but especially Thanksgiving, to note the things I am grateful for. This year, no longer having to navigate wet, slippery, sloping grass or asphalt was at the top of my list.

Song of the Sirens 3: The Beauty
Epic E-Book Award Finalist!

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