Mornings and late afternoons afford me the most productive times of the day. Mr. Sun is either eating breakfast or brushing his golden mane and getting ready for bed. In this panoramic view the form work for porch pillars is kissed good night by the setting sun. Now plumb and braced, these forms are ready to receive concrete. I mix and schlepp bucket upon bucket of concrete to the top of each form and pour it in. I must be burning thousands of calories. When I get home around 7 pm, I plunk my tired bod in an armchair, devour most of a family-size pizza, and…um…against my will, I fall asleep! Janet gently awakens me and sends me off to bed. She sets the soccer tape back to where it was when I last was awake! No wonder it takes a few days to watch a match..sigh!
Working with brick requires my full attention. I’m not a brick layer; not the expert by any stretch of imagination! But, hey! this does not stop me from laying bricks! The trick is to make a careful lay-out. I’m an imaginative chap and come up with all sorts of ideas! I secure a 24” square piece of plywood, with strings attached, atop my form work. These strings will serve as corner guides, freeing my hands. I won’t need to constantly reach for the level! My strings stretch all the way down to the first course of brick. They are set 1/8” off corners. Next, I make a story pole, with marks set 2 5/8” apart. This requires a bit of on-site arithmetic, such as I learned in the jungles of Paraguay…don’t laugh! These marks represent the distance between each course of brick (one brick thickness plus one mortar joint). Now I lay off marks on the pillar forms, from top to bottom. Then I square up around each form. These horizontal lines guide my work.
Laying brick is soothing on both body and mind. With alert eyes and nimble fingers I lay brick and let my mind wonder. A recurring thought revolves around ways in which the attic can be fully developed. The potential is huge! Funny thing, virtually every passer-by who sees the drawings wonders if our bungalow has a “second floor.” We show them the stair case. It takes a while to convey that a habitable attic is not the same thing as a two-story house, nor even a one-and-one-half story home! So…um…Daniel and I agree to talk with potential buyers about the “second floor”.
Daniel’s compact design affords the chance to make use of every nook and cranny! For instance, the space above the garage could be developed into a lovely bedroom, with a window facing south and a dormered window facing the street! A dormered window above the garage, allowing natural light to flood in, had been part of Daniel’s original design! The rest of the attic is large enough for a full bath, a small kitchen, and two decent sized rooms. I can imagine two dormered balconies offering glorious moments of reflective solitude or quiet computer work. The attic space could be rented out, serve the needs of a large family, or provide ample room for visitors. The potential is huge! I think I will keep dreaming as I lay brick and as Daniel installs the mud sills upon which the floor joists and walls will bear.