Monday, July 2, 2012

Deferred Gratification

Sometimes, doing only what is reasonable and logical results in doing nothing at all. I kept myself from performing one activity, and it eventually led to not being able to initiate much of anything that was not essential to daily living. And that is just existing. 

The back walkway has always looked too narrow to me. It is more than twice as wide as the sidewalk joining it to the driveway, a sidewalk barely wide enough for a one person. The back walkway is wide enough to accommodate 2 chairs and still leave room for a person laden with bags of groceries to get by without effort. How could that be too narrow?

It niggled. It just looked wrong. It bothered. Removing good concrete to pour new went against the grain and besides I couldn't afford it. Adding a cement surround was deemed stupid, complex and unnecessary by the significant other. I'd seen all the preparation a neighbor went to to ensure a smooth walkway. Measured, dug out, watered, rolled, let sit for a year, sanded, and then poured.  Could I stand the mess? The significant other could not. After awhile, I stopped seeing it as too narrow. I was just vaguely aware that I didn't like it.  

And then one day, a day too hot to do anything unnecessary--should I mention that I was running a temperature?-- I began digging around the outer edge of the sidewalk. I would pour cement around the rocks I'd been digging out of the flower bed. A look at concrete prices at the local hardware changed my mind on that. A 10 lb. bag of concrete cost more than a 40 lb. bag had 7 years ago.

Brick paths are laid on sand over clay. I could do that. I had a pile of bricks I had removed from around a flowerbed. Why not line the outside of the walk with them? Why not please myself and stop worrying about the correct way to do things? If I don't like it, I can remove it with less effort than it takes to patch cement.

It took very little time and effort to dig a trench around the sidewalk, very little effort to place holey bricks (one reason the brick sidewalk through a flower bed didn't work) on their sides, and less effort to tamp down the clay under them so they'd lay more or less flat. The curve was a small problem, because there was a cement lip. I could lay bricks flat, but not on their side. I stole more bricks from around my flower beds. I dug and laid brick in 10 and 15-minute increments. It was a little job that took days, but has big satisfaction.  

A little brick surround pleases Smokey.

Smokey never hung around the back walkway before. To Smokey and me, the back walkway looks right. I can move on to other chores, other projects. At the end of the summer, when the brick has settled a bit, I will buy patching concrete to fill in between the walkway and the bricks. Right now, small stones will do.