Good Foundations

Hello Dear Friends,

Growing up, my family never had a lot of money, we had enough to get by on, sure, but not a lot of excess, so anytime we had projects around the yard or house that were either needed or wanted they were always “do-it-ourselves” kind of things.

These types of projects would always begin the very same way. My dad would ask around if it was something he didn’t know how to do and he’d figure out the “right” way to do something. For example, if we were building a patio in the yard, he would learn that he’d need to get sand to put down first, which would make the bricks that were placed on top of it more stable and keep the seams between them nice and tight over time. Without the sand, he was told, the bricks would crack and become uneven over time.

Once he’d learned the correct way to build our patio, he and I would go to the site we were going to build it. My dad and I would measure it out, and talk out the plan. Then we would proceed to go to the hardware store. We would buy the bricks we would need and bags and bags of sand. Dad would be all fired-up about this project and what it would be like once we’d completed it.

We’d drive home, get out the shovels and other tools we might need and then we’d begin. We’d start by shaving off some of the sod so that the patio would be more even with the ground. This process would take a few hours, and always (without fail) by the time we would finish with this part, our plan would be modified to exclude the sand. I would point out that if we didn’t use sand, our amazing patio would degrade and become uneven and we would have to spend more time ripping it out and redoing it then it would take us now to build the patio with the sand.

Inevitably, he would veto the sand option and we would build our patio. It would look really good that first summer, but by the next year, when the winter snows melted and we cleaned off the patio, sure enough the bricks would have settled every which direction and maybe even one or two of them would have cracked.

As you might imagine, I never told my dad when, after a few years, we would have to rip up the patio and lay it back down again (without sand) that I had been right, it was just one of those situations when it’s best not to point out that you had been right all along.

Sometimes we learn from our mistakes and sometimes we don’t,  it’s just a fact of life.

until next time,

Jim

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