Operation Flagstone

Mar 28, 2024

My friend Mel Bergman always said, “It HURTS to be cool.” Meaning, if you have your mind set on a particular style, a panache if you will, sometimes you will suffer to achieve your goals.

In my neighborhood, all the houses were built in the 1950s and many of them are decorated with a particular type of natural flagstone rock. I love the look! It’s a great design feature. My house features natural flagstone throughout.

I’ve been talking about building a new building in my backyard where I can move my record lathe operation. Some of you may remember the “Shed Moving” operation from a couple years ago. Well, I’m still working on it. The new building is not built yet. But I have been thinking ever since I first had the idea how cool it would be if my new backyard building had the same type of natural flagstone rock on it that my house and many of the neighborhood houses have.

I’ve looked on Craigslist, and the type of natural flagstone I really like never shows up. Sometimes one of those architectural salvage companies will offer some original 1950s rocks for huge $$$, and it always seems to sell right away! But I’ve kept my eyes out.

Today as I was walking around the neighborhood on my morning walk, you guessed it. I saw one of those big dumpsters outside a house, and these folks were stripping all the flagstone off one part of their house and dumping it in the dumpster, along with lots of old cement, bricks, dirt, etc.

I went home and I thought about it. Did I really want to dedicate the rest of my day to this? I mean, I haven’t built the building yet. You’re not supposed to buy the decorations for the building before you build the building! But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

And so, around 4:30, I got in my old van and drove around the corner and started loading flagstone into the van. These suckers are HEAVY! I would guess each one weighed a minimum of 40 pounds, and some of them were 80 to 100 pounds. I got a pretty full van load, and I started thinking about the weight on the rear end springs—I think I might have overdone it. Oops!

I made it back to the house and I was exhausted. I thought to myself, you know what, I’ll unload this stuff tomorrow. Or maybe next week. But then it was killing me to think…dammit. There’s more back there in the dumpster. And it all matches. It all matches MY HOUSE. It’s all from the same 1957 quarry run that got the stones from my house. Dammit, I was going to not only unload this first load, I was going to have to go back for a second load.

And so I did. I unloaded them all into my back yard, along a far wall, waiting for this building to be built. Then I went back and I got a second load, and unloaded all of those too. Now I am fully stocked with matching 1950s flagstone for my building project. I’m also wrecked.

I do have the strength and stamina to do a project like this. However, when you get done unloading it after dark and you ache from head to toe, the last thing you do is go by the grocery store and get a frozen pizza for dinner (because I just didn’t feel like cooking, much less going through a drive-thru), some Epsom salt, and some Epsom salt bubble bath, and some ZZZQuil to knock my ass out tonight! See you tomorrow, world! I’m done, stick a fork in me!