The Pathology of DIY

I think it was Carl Sagan who first said “If you are going to make a patio from scratch, first you must invent the universe”. I’m not sure if Carl was pro or anti DIY (I’d like to think ‘pro’) but it strikes a nerve, nonetheless.

You see, it would seem that I am incapable of doing things the easy way. When I wanted a specific t-shirt design, I couldn’t just get it printed online for $15. It wasn’t enough, even, to drop $100 on a photo emulsion screen printing kit. Nope. I had to make the frames, stretch the screens, mix my own potassium bichromate photoresist, and build a custom drying cabinet for screen preparation. I’m kinda stupid that way.

So when our deck started getting too old to use, and my wife saw that familiar gleam in my eye, she knew it meant trouble.

The first 10 stones

Now, I will admit that I put my wife through a lot, and she is nothing if not supportive of my own particular mental illness. But this time, I think she shares at least some of the blame.

You see, she was the one who first found the hexagonal pattern in a photo of a marketplace in Tenerife. It was a simple repeating hexagon with three partial arcs inlaid into it. When laid down in an inconsistent pattern, the arcs make a spaghetti plate of meandering paths.  She was the one that used it in an art quilt that now hangs in our front hall.

So when we first discussed ripping out the deck and putting in a patio, I pointed at the quilt, and said “I want that”.

Of course, no-one makes such a patio stone. You can’t go down to Home Depot and come home with a carload. You can, however, come home with a 5 pounds of plaster of paris, a custom built carving jig, 2 gallons of brush-on molding rubber, a cement mixer, 120 bags of sand-mix cement, and a bucket of iron oxide colouring. You can do all this, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it.

People might just call you pathological.

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