Sunday, May 2, 2010

Me and my rock wall

You know how sometimes you make a snap decision that you later wonder if it is a symptom of a brain tumor? A couple of months ago the second informal NAFTA representative in a row flaked off on me, leaving me with a driveway full of rocks and bricks, a garage full of mortar, and a deadline of a Memorial Day party to build a patio with a rock wall around it. Damn it, I'll build it myself. I can do it. I'm strong enough. It can't be that hard to figure out.

So with a neighborhood teenager for the droid work, I have spent the last 6 or 8 Saturday and Sunday mornings building a rock wall. Part of it has been fun. They have these little levels with lasers shining out of one end that you use to mark the height of the wall on  markers and to show the correct height of the sand inside the wall. It shows this neat horizontal red line on the wall.

Some has not been so much fun. Up and down on your knees; bend this direction to reach for a rock; bend the other direction to set it on the wall to see if it's the right rock for that spot; no, try a different one; set it on the ground; use the trowel to plop a big dollop of mortar on the wall; put the rock carefully in place, wiggling it as necessary; fill in mortar as necessary; clean off the outside surface; sit down and rest. I pick up the droid at 8 and am pooped out by noon, which is why it's taking so long.

But then last evening, with the wall  95% done, the sand in place, but the bricks not yet set on the sand, my partner and I sat in Adirondacks, drinking Meyer lemon margaritas; eating olives, hummus, flat bread, feta, carrot sticks, and smoked salmon; talking about family and what we've read or thought of recently; watching humming birds gather cotton for their nests (shouldn't they be done with that by now?); and listening to hawks and all manner of birds calling to each other and  bushtits scolding young cat and old cat, who were lying with their faces in opposite sides of a catnip patch and not bothering anybody. Then we sat in the hot tub for half an hour to soothe my lower back. Sometimes I'm so California I make myself a little nervous.

I think it will all be in place by Memorial Day, and I'll post a photo.

And now to breakfast and the paper, so I can pick up the droid worker in an hour and a half and do it all some more.

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