Updates: Home Improvement Project, Graduation Season

Yes, I still need to review Belloc’s Europe and the Faith (short: it’s good), but, until we get Grandma moved in and stuff moved out – you know, stuff – I’m pretty much time-impaired. And I got stories to finish! Anyway:

A: If Grandma is to move in, it would be necessary to have unimpeded ingress to the house. Thus, I needed to get to a point on the endless front yard brick project (EFYBP? Doesn’t roll off the, um, cerebellum?) where a wheel chair, say, could be rolled up to the front door. Thus, last weekend and this morning were dedicated to laying brick. Here’s where it stands:

(Faithful reader Agellius asked for wider view, to see context – couldn’t really work it, but here’s a bunch of pictures that might help.)

From the street, driveway to the left.
From the driveway, featuring the bench between the two planters – fig to the left, citrus to the right.
Standing on the porch, looking street-ward.
The porch, with my back to the door. Did herringbone on the porch, 2 straight lines of bricks as transition, then checkerboard transition to the curves matching the planters.

That’s it for now. Needs a planter next to the house, with a pillar in front tall enough to support a hand rail. To the right facing the door will be another short pillar, tall enough to hand a gate off and wide enough to house a mailbox – this will mark the entry to the orchard/garden. Will need a couple steps down as well.

But that can wait – one can now approach the front door without running an obstacle course.

B. Went to the high school graduation of the daughter of dear friends, held in St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, often referred to as “Our Lady of the Maytag”. It is an agitating building:

Image result for St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco:
At least, with beloved Archbishop Cordileone, the homilies are less likely to initiate the spin cycle.

It seems that speakers at events held here are obliged by contract to refer to it as ‘beautiful’ or ‘lovely’ – the graduation speakers surely did.

Related image

My daughter, fresh back from 4 months in Europe, including three in Rome, asked: are there any pretty cathedrals in California? And – I was having trouble coming up with any. I’m sure there are, somewhere – it’s a big state – but not in any of the places I’ve lived.

The 1st speaker did a gracious job reminding people that we were in a church, to remain seated, and hold applause until the end of any group acknowledgements. And, for a while, people were pretty good.

But the event wore on. Eventually, graduates got some whoops and hollers; then stomps and shout-outs – and it was open season. My 13 year old son was very distressed by this – as a family, we always find the tabernacle, when possible, and genuflect, and try to keep the yacking down. I was equal parts sorry for him (and us, frankly) but also happy that he took it seriously enough to be made uncomfortable by it.

But what do you expect in a building that requires very little imagination to picture hosting a major appliance vendor’s convention?

C. The above-mentioned daughter, who is an amazing baker and served as Thomas More College’s baker for a semester (and will probably do so again), agreed to make a cake for Diablo Valley School‘s 20 Anniversary Party next weekend. The theme is Disco Tea Party (?!?) so the cake is going to be some sort of disco ball/teapot hybrid.

Sure to be memorable. I will post pictures.

Author: Joseph Moore

Enough with the smarty-pants Dante quote. Just some opinionated blogger dude.

8 thoughts on “Updates: Home Improvement Project, Graduation Season”

  1. May I ask how you “solved” the issue of the steep grade closest to the house that you were concerned about?

    1. Ignored it for now – put some loose bricks in front to make a visual barrier. Will address it later this summer.

      You can see the problem pretty clearly in the upper left of the first two pictures. Current plan: up against the house’s original brick wainscoting, build a 30″ high approx. 16″ square pillar-thing with a rebar and concrete core upon which to anchor a handrail; About 4′ down the path build a similar but larger tower upon which to both anchor the handrail and perhaps hold a mailbox; wall in the area between as well as in front and along the driveway to box in the planter that will be left in the gap behind. Only a small part of the extreme slope will be left exposed, and it will be under the end of the handrail.

      I don’t like this solution much, because it will create an about 36″ wide pinch point in the path – even if it makes no material difference for walking up, both visually and if one were moving something largish it’s going to feel or even be awkward. But I got nothin’ better. I also have a month or two to think about it before I get to it.

      1. That actually is an interesting solution. 36″ wide pinch point seems like “just enough” based on the likely width of the front door. Beautiful brickwork by the way!

      2. Thanks. The hard part is that I can’t really tell how tight it will be just looking at it now, but once I’ve done enough to see how it looks, the ‘solution’ will be literally set in concrete.

    1. Start while you’re still young – my back, knees, arms and hands don’t let me soon forget if I put in more than 2-3 hours of this stuff in a day. It is very rewarding and fun, once you get past the ditch-digging aspect.

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