Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Latest Alan Smithee Project

In honor of Cinco de Mayo I'm giving the cider comparisons a rest today and drinking a margarita. Or it might be considered a smoothie with tequila since I used whole peeled grapefruit and limes along with strawberries, ice, and tequila. It's actually pretty good although I think I could have used less ice.

My project for the week was to finish redoing an area that looked like this but worse:
(Naturally I didn't take before pictures of the actual area I redid, but just imagine something like this except with the bricks at multiple levels including one area where there was a six inch drop.)

The person who did this originally knew even less than I do about brick pathways. The bricks are mortared together on top of dirt, with no gravel or sand underneath. I guess the bricks on one side ended up being a little too high, so mortar was added in a slope on top of the existing concrete to make it less obvious. About a year after I bought the house the bricks started to become increasingly uneven.
This project is another example of me going to the hardware store and believing that I have real skills. I pulled out all of the bricks, knocked off the mortar, bought sand and gravel, spent some time trying to make things level, tamped it down, put in an edge to keep the sand in place, and finally got to the point of putting the bricks in. I was planning on leaving a large rectangle free in the middle for a fig tree. Today I finally started putting the bricks in. And that's when I realized this:

In case it's not apparent from this picture, these bricks (henceforth known as "British bricks") aren't 1x2 (or actually 4"x8" which is the standard US brick). They are 8.5"x4". There's no way to alternate vertical and horizontal bricks without staircasing or leaving a gap in the middle. What the hell? First those bastards stick us with miles/pounds/ounces/etc. and now I have these stupid British bricks.

So my plan to alternate blocks and use dirt just in the middle of the rectangle changed to adding a strip of bricks along two sides. This is one side. (I need more sand to do the other side.) That is the actual fig tree, though.

I guess it still counts as an improvement, but probably just barely.

And now for the obligatory progress report:

Enjoy your week. Peace out.

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