The thing is, I kept worrying that one of us would fall, break a leg and tumble into the pool.  I’ve looked at those steps for months, noting that the top step was nearly twice the height of the one below it, which was higher the one below it. Plus, there was nothing remotely resembling a railing, “just in case.”

At length, my shrewing paid off — or rather, we paid off the last of three bidders who agreed to do the job. And surprisingly, it took all of four hours to do it all. I’d anticipated one of these marathon affairs of the type that became famous in southern California on the heels of the 1994 earthquake where the guy shows up at your house on Tuesday, announces his price and then returns once a week for the next month and a half to finish a project that could have been completed in about six hours. But not this time. These guys arrived at eight and were out by noon.

At no time did I offer more than observation.

It was two guys overseen by the boss, who occasionally handed out tools while pitching Kris on a re-surfacing of the pool.

As I’ve noted, this was done on the basis of need, i.e., a slowly declining sureness of foot. Oh sure, if you’re nine a trio of steps, all of an uncertain match, you’re talking about an irresistable challenge. By the Boomer years you’re more inclined to pass. Consistent with that approach we considered it a no-brainer to let someone more apt do the work involved.

See, I’ve never been, and never will be, a project guy. My dad says he’d never hire a job done that he could handle himself. I hardly agree with that, which might explain why to this day the general consensus that I’m not what you’d call handy. In truth, I’m not terribly interested, when it comes to that, of watching. For the most part, I’ll swing by at the end of the day to get a sense of the progress.

In fact, I’m not a big fan of “project guys” in any context. The last thing I want in life is to live next door to a man with a skill saw and a maddening urge to build an ark.

So the Steppes of Casa Gordon were torn down and re-built by others, but, I must say, thoroughly put to good use and enjoyed by us. This was especially the case for our annual planting of Kris’ tomatos, which are already springing into action — if the spider mites leave them alone this year (that’s another story).

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