Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summertime...and the blogging is sporadic...

When I want to do some blog reading lately I find myself thwarted by so many bloggers who are too busy doing fun summery stuff to write blog posts. "Why don't these people blog?!!"

Ahem. Well, as I was saying.

•Last week my brother and 3 of his kids visited us from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday afternoon.

•Jim was here to seal Mom and Dad's driveway, something they've been wanting to get done for quite a while. I think all parties concerned decided that Tom wasn't going to seal it because he and I are on record as not liking the look of sealed driveways.

•We don't like our cement concrete patio and sidewalk to be brilliantly clean, either. The effect of years of red clay and fungus and whatever else stains concrete makes the surface blend into the natural surroundings instead of standing out and screaming "I am a PATIO!"

•That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

•Tom grew up with a gravel driveway and a very old patio. I don't remember all the driveways and patios of the houses I lived in growing up.

•When I was 8 we lived on State Street in Springfield, Illinois. Down the street from us lived an older man with a big two-car garage attached to his house. His driveway was sloped, creamy, smooth, polished concrete.

•I read a book sometime (I say that a lot, just don't ask me what book or when) in which a male character made a great point of emphasizing the difference between cement and concrete. Since then I have sincerely tried to use the right term.

•But in my heart of hearts that beige stuff patios and sidewalks and driveways are made of is "cement"

•I was 8, Jim was 6, David was 5. We had a pack of markers and were playing with them outside.

•I don't remember our driveway at that house, but it probably wasn't anything special. Certainly not something you could write and draw all over with markers.

•Unlike the one at the old man's house down the street.

•I don't know if we waited till we knew he was away from home, or if he was inside watching us out a window...perhaps admiring our masterpiece?

•I also don't remember feeling guilty about it AT ALL. At least not till Mom found out...and we probably just out-and-out told her about it. What mother thinks she needs to warn her kids not to write on someone else's driveway?

•I do remember her marching us back up there with buckets of cleaning solution and scrub brushes and making us scrub that driveway until it came clean. At least, I guess it came clean. I don't remember any further repercussions. Jim??

•Natalie, when she was 3 or 4 years old, drew all over the bottom of her bare feet with markers and then walked all over the living room carpet, leaving a rainbow of colorful little footprints.

•This was in a rental apartment with very nice newish carpet. Pale beige nice newish carpet.

•Fortunately the markers were the very new innovative washable kind, and fortunately they lived up to the manufacturer's claims.

•Colin does not have unrestricted, unsupervised access to markers. Apparently an old dog like me does occasionally learn a new trick.


Natalie said...

Tom grew up with a gravel driveway and a very old patio

Does a slab of cement a yard square count as a patio? Or maybe two slabs...there's one under the clothesline too, I think.

the markers were the very new innovative washable kind

At least now we don't have carpet at all...which will keep the play-dough damage at a minimum too, since I want to get Colin some for his birthday.

Jim said...

I don't remember the marker incident on State Street... btw, how could his driveway have been "sloped?" That neighborhood is about as flat as could be. Any chance it was on Monroe instead? I remember a couple of pretty driveways there.

I'm not saying it didn't happen, mind you... :)

Btw, your driveway has cracks that are as deep as the ones that were in Mom & Dad's. It's probably a "now or never" situation as far as repair is concerned.

I really like this newer latex-based sealer. It dries like paint, not like tar, and it shouldn't track in anywhere. Has that been the case so far?

Regarding "cement" vs. "concrete" - concrete contains cement, and those "polished" driveways are often top-coated with pure cement. Concrete will never get that smooth, unless you leave all the larger aggregate out of it.

Natalie said...

It's probably a "now or never" situation as far as repair is concerned.

Cool! We'll have a gravel driveway eventually! :D

Otherwise, are you offering to come seal ours too? Not that I like sealed driveways...

agentlejoy said...

My toddler found his sister's markers one day and spent a busy hour decorating my freshly washed laundry. I especially liked the speckled effect he achieved on (ahem) my brassiere. Good thing the markers wash off, isn't it? But I think your driveway story was unique. Just the thought of those markers grating over the concrete is giving me shivers.

I love your blog- a friend sent me a clipping for it out of her newspaper. Glad I looked you up!

Jim said...

Natalie, I did offer to help with your driveway, but your dad said he could handle it.

Hmmm... sounds like a good father/daughter project! :)

Beth said...

Jim, I'm 99% sure it was on State Street. "Sloped" is how I remember the guy's driveway, but it may have been a very gentle slope and only sloped by comparison to some others on the street. He had some sort of tulip blossom tree (magnolia or poplar maybe?) that left flowers and seed pods on the drive sometimes.

I haven't heard Mom complain about any sealer being tracked into the house, so it must not have been a problem.

I'm perfectly fine with our driveway deteriorating. Even though ours is practically flat we still see a lot of water runoff and head down the storm sewers in a hard rain. From an environmental standpoint, I'd prefer a permeable driveway. Ours will get more permeable over time, and eventually we'll start putting down gravel to keep it usable.

Beth said...

Agentlejoy, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

Markers on the laundry?? And on your brassiere?? EEK!! Sounds like something you can save to tease him about in front of a future girlfriend or something. :)

Mrs. Darling said...

Just fropping by to say hi. Its been hard to make my rounds this summer. Sounds like you've been busy too! Enjoy your day!