jeudi 3 septembre 2009

Or, do like the workers and don't look at the plans at all

Brick pillars

getting it wrong

I took this picture and then came back inside and sat down feeling perfectly deflated. The lower courses should stand out by at least a centimeter, not barely perceptibly. How many time do I have to say it, shift them into place, only to return and find them pushed neatly back against the concrete core?

The longer I sat, the worse I felt. It didn't help that my stepdaughter had a huge fit last night and made us all miserable. Worse, she wasn't even at our house. This morning, I woke up with a fever blister, feeling like I'd slept in the subway, going repetitively through Astor Place, where it squeals horribly on the curved tracks.

Would I go out and see what was going on or suck it up?

I went out.

That was when I realized what I had seen in the picture above: they had begun the first course wrong. It was supposed to be three bricks, not two. Jose had made it up to the 5th or 6th, carefully laying the cement and placing the lengths of square wood to hold the courses for the mortar. He had to undo it. I had to tell him. How could he not have understood? I had made the drawings, reviewed them with them and even laid out the first several courses yesterday at the end of the day, and we had left them in place to get them going today.

I took a deep breath and said it.

"Ca ne doit pas commencer comme ça, mais comme le deuxième rang." They looked at me. I said it again. It doesn't start like that. The second course is the way the first should be. If not, nothing will work. I made the drawing precisely as it should be. All you have to do is follow it. Georges looked a little sheepish.

"Je vais chercher les plans de la voiture." Rough translation: "I'll go get the plans from the car."

God help us.

Meanwhile, Audouin has begin cutting out the mortises on the little balcony pieces. Pain-stak-ing.

I better finish the lunch dishes and get back out to them before something else goes wrong.

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