Posted by: Lance Vaughn | February 28, 2007

So Close I Can Taste It

Unfortunately, that’s not the only thing I can taste. You see, there’s another taste in my mouth and this one’s not very pleasing.

It has come to my attention that I would not make a very good masonry worker. At least not for very long — I’d probably lose my mind about a week into it. There’s just not enough symmetry. No method to the madness. The rocks just get stacked up and stuck together and that’s it. You don’t know what the end product is going to look like until you’re actually done. And at that point, there’s no turning back. It is what it is.

This is painful for me. I get to stand by and watch someone else making all the little decisions that — granted — would drive me crazy in time, but in this case I’d be happy to make them.

The color of the stone, for example, is really quite a large player in this game. So, let’s divide the various stones into color groupings and make sure that we have a nice disbursement of coloring. A harmonious smattering. The front of the house, of course, is more important than the rear, so let’s pay specific attention to that portion. And no matter what, let’s not put ourselves in the position of getting half way done with the front of the house and run out of stone. Because, at that point, we could be screwed. Or, at least, uncomfortably vulnerable to conditions that are out of our control.

First of all, it’s natural stone. By definition, we have no guarantee whatsoever that the next batch of stone will be anything like the first. So we end up with half of the front of the house looking one way and the other half looking another way. Who will notice? I don’t know. I can’t speak for anyone else or even quote some good statistics here, but I can tell you that I’ll notice. And, as the lucky homeowner, I’ll see the outside of the house every day — possibly several times a day. Heck, these stones will soon be an extension of me. Have I lost my mind? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. A few weeks ago I noticed that a house down the street seems to have suffered the same misfortune. But in this case, it was the side of the house, not the front. A small consolation.

Reason number two? Even if the mason distributor knows of our specific request for darker sandstone — and they do — and by the grace of God the darker sandstone is still available, they may fumble our paperwork or conveniently forget about our special circumstance.

Number three… Let’s say fortune is working in our favor and the mason distributor is able to meet our expectations and the second batch of stone is the same as the first. Isn’t that nice? Well, we’re also relying on the masonry workers — who are all too familiar that sandstone often has a darker side and a lighter side — to remember our request to turn the darker side out. Up to this point in time, they’ve done a great job and have grudgingly obliged. But, what if today is a bad day? What if the winds and the stars and the grace of God aren’t particularly aligned in our favor?

Welcome to my world.

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