Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Bricks are rare.

Howdy! Sorry I've been offline lately. Much work-related stuff I don't want to talk about, plus a very busy couple of weeks. This week it's Spring Break at KU, so I've taken the time away from the office to build a brick sidewalk in my back yard from the carport and garage up to the house. Many thanks to the wonderful cba1282zyx for all the help in collecting bricks and other supplies (which was a deathmarch), cleaning them up, laying the path framework, and putting down the walk. Also thanks to madmatmax for dropping by today to help finish setting the bricks. Woohoo, I finally have a non-muddy walkway between the garage and house! This is a big deal in Kansas, especially in my neighborhood, as spring and fall = endless mud which = filthy floors. Sometimes the back yard has standing water, because the clay-heavy ground doesn't drain well, so anyone passing from driveway or garage to house had to cross a moat. No longer!

A discovery worth sharing: One can no longer buy actual bricks from home-improvement stores. Nor at building-supply stores (new or recycled). Nor at places with "masonry" in their name. Not even at brick stores, fer gosh sake! I kid you not. The "Lawrence Kansas" brick manufactury has ceased production, and the other local-ish brickmaker only sells wholesale. Everyone else only sells crappy cement lumps that aren't even the same size as real bricks. I already had enough bricks to do most of the walk, so I just needed to buy another 100 or so. Who knew that would become an all-day marathon of frustration?

Happily, each place provided tips to the next places, which finally led to the one store that still sells baked-clay bricks to regular customers here in Lawrence: Capitol Concrete. They carry all kinds of bricks, new and old, paving and building, concrete and clay. I bought 150 nice, dark-red bricks that look like they formerly served in a chimney. Two trips in the Saab later, we resumed laying the walk. A few hours later - viola! Done!

Next: Insulating the non-insulated roof over the living room. After that: Finishing building the Newport's 383. That's more than plenty for the rest of Spring Break, methinks, especially because I need to do a bunch of day-job work tomorrow. Once that's done, it's back to home improvement.

Tags: house

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