Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cement, Bricks, and Manhole Covers

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

It is 6:30 a.m. as I type this out. The mornings truly are the favourite time of the day for me. The watering has been done. I know I sound like a broken record on the drought here. Today I hooked up the soaker hose the front holly hedge. I’ve lost one mature plant. It had been sickly for awhile so I’m not sure I can blame it on the drought or not. I will not attempt to plant a replacement till the fall. The annuals seem to be holding their own. The two rubber plants on the front porch are flourishing. They must be a real masochist type of plant. The abuse they have received over the years, they have no reason to be here now! They are in cement planters that drain onto the concrete porch. The water that drains out is Daggy’s favourite drinking water. It drives me crazy! I give those cats fresh water every day! I guess the “dirt filtered” water has a better taste to her!

I am worn out. I had forgotten what a pain in the butt is to mix up concrete. Yesterday afternoon I made a trip to the brickyard to get 50 bricks to line this new patio addition. On the way there I stopped at the wastewater plant. It was recommended I check here for a manhole cover. I heard voices as I entered the building. Three guys were in a “break room” kind of place. I asked them who I should talk to see about getting a cover. They directed me to the head guy upstairs. I’m not sure if it is professional courtesy or not I was not treated as if I were totally mad in requesting this. The city can’t sell me a cover. He referred me to the supplier they use. This supplier is just around the corner. As I was leaving one of the guys was laughing, “You gonna get one?” he asked. “Things are looking good!” I answered. He gave me the high sign as I left!

In the street in front of my house:

First I have to get my bricks. It kills me to actually buy NEW bricks! But this has to be so the top edge of the patio addition is uniform. I found a great old looking style brick with “Old Virginia” stamped into the face.

On the way home is when I check supplier for the manhole cover. Once again the people I talk to don’t think I’m crazy at all! I’m taken into the “yard” after donning a safety vest and hard hat to see the covers. Yup, there is the familiar cast iron cover with “City of Tuscaloosa” all embossed with a great art deco cityscape. The cover with the ring is only $199.00 plus tax. This guy I’m dealing with is laughing as I tell him my patio plans. He has really made my day. I’m sure he told his family about the guy who was in his office to buy a manhole cover that evening at dinner!

I finished up the afternoon mixing the five bags of cement left over from last years projects. There was nearly enough to fill the forms. The bricks are soaked in water and then placed on top and leveled. They get soaked first so they don’t soak the moisture prematurely from the cement. This slow cure makes for a much stronger bond.

Today I’ll dig the other half of the trench. The cement will be set up enough to where I can remove the forms and reuse them on the other half.

I also need to ship stuff off to Louis via Fed Ex. The terminal is right in the area where the manhole supplier is; I might just pick the thing up today.

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