Down Home: Brick, mortar and a lone star by the door

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On weekends, I take satisfaction in doing chores.

Actually, that’s not right. I take satisfaction in completing chores. One of the best Saturday feelings in all the world is uncapping a marker and drawing a heavy black line through an item on my To-Do list.

I’m not ashamed to admit—although I probably should be ashamed to admit—I’ve written items on my To-Do list after I already finished them. Just so I could mark them out.

Yes, it feels that good.

The other Saturday, I woke up bound and determined to whittle the latest To-Do list down from “You gotta be insane” length to “You need counseling” length.

The hanging of the Lone Star

Problem was, I started with the new decorative piece of “art” we bought to hang on the outside of our house by the front door.

The spot there just seemed bare. Especially if you looked at Rick’s and Danna’s house next door, where they display this big square artsy thing. I think their porch light even shines on it. Cool. I’ve been jealous. Just-on-the-verge-of-coveting jealous.

So, I’ve been saying we need a nice, big star to hang by our front door.

If you live in Texas, you really should own an epic front yard with a longhorn grazing in it. But if, like millions of Texans, you don’t have a huge-enough front yard to graze a longhorn, then you should hang a star on your house.

Joanna says the star can’t be too enormous. That’s apparently gaudy.

A few weeks ago, we visited the nursery to buy summer flowers. While I was paying up and asking an annoying number of questions about fertilizer, Jo found a terrific compromise: It’s a smallish metal star, but it’s set in an arched frame that looks almost like it used to hold stained glass in a country church. Terrific enough to make someone else jealous.

So, we coated the wood in polyurethane to protect it from the weather. And on a recent Saturday, I set out to hang it.

Not as simple as it sounds

Hanging stuff in brick and/or mortar isn’t as simple as it sounds. If Jo had thought about it in advance, she probably would’ve pleaded with me to call Larry, our neighborhood handyman. Larry can do practically anything around a house. And if Larry can’t do it, he knows the phone number of someone who knows how to do it.

Unfortunately, that someone would not be me.

I’ll spare you the gory details. Let’s just say a drill bit and mortar are about as unforgiving as plumbing. And when you contemplate the possibility of defacing the front of your house, that’s just about as scary as electricity. Oh, and drilling two holes in mortar—one at the top and one at the bottom—so the artwork hangs perfectly straight up and down? That’s beyond my skill set.

However, if you give me enough time, and I can cover my mistakes, and the hardware store stays open for enough trips (three, this time), I can at least hang a piece of outdoor artwork so it won’t fall off the side of the house.

Now, I own a new carbon-tipped drill bit and a barely used set of hex-headed sockets that load onto a drill. My knuckles have just about healed. And the star-in-the-windowpane art dohicky hangs proudly beside our front door.

Practically perpendicular

If you look at it, just cock your head a wee bit to the right, and it’ll appear practically perpendicular.

It’s not absolutely perpendicular, which I’ve come to admit is all right. When a perfectionist can’t do something perfectly, well, that’s God’s way of reminding me we all need grace.

But I still wish I had a longhorn grazing in my front yard.

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