Mom’s front steps are the same cement blocks they’ve been since 1971. The same pre-fab porch with those stupid horizontal raised grippy bits that hurt bare feet like a mofo. Pretty sure I had three parallel bruises on my ass through most of my formative years from sitting on that damn stoop.
The blocks that make up the steps from the porch to the driveway are arranged in a quarter-circular, narrow staircase. Over time, they have shifted, some dipping at the back and some loosening. Basically, a death trap.
Oh, and no banister. Since 1971.
None of this was an issue until lately. Mom can’t maneuver so well anymore. Those steps are now scary, especially when you are the one on the narrow side, balancing on seven square inches of cement while you hold onto your mother to prevent her from falling. And taking you down with her. The base of the porch is crumbling, the grippy bits broken off in places, the broken cement sharp.
Something has to be done.
Enter my neighbour – he of the excellent construction skills – and his buddy. They also built my sturdy, lovely new fence after the original fell down in a windstorm this past spring.
The construction took a few days. First was the jackhammering that nearly sent Mom into a coma. She grabbed her head and swooned. A bit dramatic, really. I was standing right next to her (inside the house with the door closed) and it wasn’t that loud. Then again, her hearing has become superhuman.
We had to take some precautions so Mom wouldn’t wander out her front door and be reminded the hard way that her porch was gone. So we did what we always do. We put up a sign.
Of course, the TV people were talking about ‘those boys.’ And every time she peeked between the closed drapes and looked down at them, they were staring up at her. And why were ‘those boys’ trying to get in her front door?
They weren’t. They were working on her porch, JUST OUTSIDE the front door.
Before construction, she was so excited that she’d have new stairs. I try to remind her of this now that they are installed. Don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful. Wide and level POURED cement. The new porch is a good ten square feet larger. It is perfect.
But for Mom, it is a hazard. Where is the railing? Why didn’t they put in a railing?
Me: Well, we never had one before, but I did mean to get that done and forgot. I’m working on it.
Mom: Someone is going to fall off and die. It’s so high.
Me: It’s the same height it always was. They didn’t raise your house or lower your driveway.
Mom: But it used to be safe.
Me: Um…. no. No railing. Same height. Same difference. Just better.
Mom: Why didn’t they fix the driveway?
Me: Say what? I didn’t hire them to fix the driveway. That’ll cost about 20 grand.
Argh. Change sounds good until change comes. Then it is the worst thing EVER.
But no matter. New stairs. (Banister to follow).