Reification in Real Life: Home Improvement Update

Numerical descriptions of reality, however useful, are not reality. While science has a whole set of its own issues with practitioners wanting math to be reality, rather than, at best, to provide a useful description of reality, in mundane life, the risk of reification can perhaps be summed up in the old adage: measure twice, cut once. Don’t imagine your first measurement tells you too much about the thing-in-itself. Mistakes happen, best give yourself a second shot at avoiding them. While measurements will never be the thing, they’re certainly more useful when they’re accurate.

What brings this all to mind is my skipping a step when laying out the bricks to be cut to allow the metal rods that support the wrought-iron style fence to pass through. I did indeed measure several times, but what I failed to do was take the fence and position it atop the marked up bricks, to verify that the rods were more or less centered within the chalk rectangles I’d drawn for cutting before I started in with the mortar. I’d carefully measured the locations, checked them a couple times, but, the fence being awkward and kind of heavy (for an old guy, at least), I just sort of skipped that step.

Spent an hour or two cutting the bricks, then a couple hours setting up and mortaring them in. Then, and only then, did I put the fence in place and drop the rods through.

Thus:

And:

The map is not the territory. Have a couple theories about what I did wrong, but no matter. With misgivings, got out a masonry bit and drilled into the bricks to widen the holes – I’d feared drilling would loosen the bricks, but it worked like a charm. Which suggests that all this falderal I’d gotten into cutting the bricks was a waste of time: should have just put ’em in, set the fence up, marked where to drill, and drilled holes. Would have been much tidier and a lot less work.

Oh, well. With that slight detour, finished it up:

Looking south.
Looking north, with the twin of this fence/planter in the background.

Updating the Insane Eternal Brick project diagram from a few months back, this is where we’re at:

Next up, apart from the little towers for the gate across the steps into the mini-orchard, is a the crescent wall above the water meter. It will go a little something like this:

Sloppy even by my low standards. The idea is 4-5 courses of bricks with river rocks worked in, then some brackets along the top upon which might be fastened some wooden posts for a fence/trellis. Or something, still working it through.

Maybe plant some ground cover around the meter?

I find myself obsessing about getting this done. Hanging over my head too long now. Hampered by my inability to do more than a couple hours work per day for more than one day. If I do any more, need to take a day or two off. The knees, back and general muscles won’t put up with much more than that. That said, you can get pretty far with a couple hours a day 2-3 times a week.

Three weeks of summer to go. Would be so nice to get this project done. Then get a job.

Author: Joseph Moore

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

3 thoughts on “Reification in Real Life: Home Improvement Update”

  1. Very nice! I was afraid you were going to say you had to take a sledgehammer, knock down a couple rows of bricks and re-lay them. I’m pondering an indoor wood paneling project in the semi-near future. This is something for me to bear in mind.

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