Have contracted for new front stairs. The loose step- actually, the step whose stone tread came off bodily- is not mendable by concrete patch unless you're the Argentinian genius mason who mended the previous broken step five years ago. Contractor pointed out that the stone treads aren't a whole unit with the base underneath, but discrete entities that were cemented onto a previous flight of steps by that decidedly ungenius mason, the previous owner. No wonder they came off. And I was told twenty years ago that they were made of a friable kind of stone that no one in their right minds uses anymore, so no wonder they eventually shattered into shards.
New steps will be wood, because I can't afford stone, and friable in their own fashion, because you're not supposed to seal them until they've had a year or two to weather. 'Don't put salt on them,' says the contractor (a West Indian Desi for a change, in this town where the Italians and Portugese monopolize the building trades, and oddly fatherly where the others tend to be bumptiously superior to the not-a-man employing their services.) Which is Ha Ha Ha, as he acknowledges, but maybe I'll use sand instead this winter, which I have because my bro left me several jugs-full when he moved. Eeyore expects the construction process to be fraught with anxiety, but I shall feel 100% less anxious about everything when it's done. (Fatherly contractor, who's at least 15 years younger than me, is most concerned that I have stable steps and hand rails for after the knee surgery I told him I'm having. Maybe he's being more concerned son? It's hard for a Boomer to tell the difference, given that we all still believe we're 35 except for the ones who think they're 20.)
I will still have overwrought iron rails on one side because the contractor, like his Mediterranean brethren, is enamoured of them. No matter. Bro next door, or rather s-i-l, had new wooden steps put in some time in the oughties, *and* painted, and their newel post is now rotted down the middle. Wrought iron, which is actually aluminium I suspect, at least doesn't split. Damned stuff lasts forever, alas.