Friday, August 29, 2008

What a Brick!

"Brick brik, n baked clay; a shaped block of baked clay, generally rectangular . . . ; a helpful, supportive, kind person (colloq)."

Yesterday, I saw my across-the-alley, in-the-process-of-becoming-former neighbor sitting in a plastic lawn chair at the head of his alley driveway.

"You're probably wondering why I'm sitting here like this. My car's been inspected, and I'm waiting for it to be brought back. They always miss the house, so here I am!"

We got to talking, and I admitted to my dumpster-driving foray of a week ago. He didn't mind, but "How did you ever get that picnic bench out?!" And offered me a look at his remaining theology books, in case I wanted any of them.

Pretty soon, the driver from the garage came with the car, and my neighbor got in-- I guess to drive around to the front. But before they did, I screwed up my nerve and asked, "Do you have any plans for that pile of bricks there? I could really use some to line my garden beds."

"Oh, a guy came by the other day and offered to buy some off me."

"Well, if there's any left over after he gets his, let me know how much you want for them."

"Oh, just come take them! You can have as many as you want!"

Wow, what a brick!

Couldn't do the job yesterday, but today I got my lawn cart over and from noon to about 4:30 PM I hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. And hauled bricks. And stacked bricks. . . .

You get the point. I definitely could sympathize with Gary at This Old Crackhouse, and I didn't even have to haul them upstairs to the roof!

I don't know if my neighbor had come to any agreement with the guy who'd offered to pay; if so, that party was out of luck. I cleaned out every brick that was whole and a small pile of those that weren't. And his wife supported my depredations this afternoon: "Oh, just get them out of here."
If I counted right, I hauled and stacked 252 whole bricks, most of which did not have mortar on them. Various colors, which is perfect; varying sizes, so I'll need to sort them to get a straight line on the edge to my long borders. The broken ones I'll figure out how to cut to go round the curves of the crape myrtle bed in the front yard.

As some kind of return, I brought back the little dumpster-dived outdoor table, since I saw it matched two wooden lounge chairs they hadn't chucked. Another neighbor had come by to get them, to pass on to yet another neighbor who just got a house with a yard and needed some furniture to go with it. Hey, let's keep the set together, eh? That particular X-leg table would have looked funny with my Adirondack chairs anyway.

After I finished hauling the bricks I needed (and more or less restacking the ones I didn't), I tried to return the favor by pruning the bushes they'd been stacked under. I found forsythia branches growing in and through the pile, and once or twice, sprouts were rooted in the bricks themselves! However, I may have overpruned one bush, mistaking it for a volunteer elm tree. Then I noticed that the whole shrub had leaves that looked the same as the scraggly branches I lopped out . . . Ouch. Looks a little, um, open on the bottom now.

Oh dear. Do I go pull the forelock and apologize? Or put a brave face on it and say, "Hey, I've opened it up and it'll have nice new growth in the spring?" Or just figure they won't care, since they're practically all moved into their new apartment anyway?

But I've got the bricks I need for at least one long border. And I have a question: What shrub is it anyway, that looks like a dwarf elm tree? And no, I can't recall what kind of or if it had any flowers last spring!

But I'm losing my neighbor. Who is a brick.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Great score on the bricks!