Lately, our house has been giving us headaches because the masonry is beginning to fall apart, literally. The crack in the first picture (not unlike the MD5 crack from yesterday's entry, now I come to think of it) is actually from a neighbor's house, but it is representative of the overall state of our stonework.
So, we hired two builders. First they use power tools to cut out whatever mortar is left---and they hardly need to plug in those tools, as the mortar is so loose they might as well brush it out. When done, they put in new mortar.
It's "only" a three week job for two people they estimated, and it appears they're right. I dare not tell you how much it's going to cost us, lest you make fun of how much we overpaid when we bought the house...
Anyway. Hoping to post shiny happy pictures of our house looking brand-new again soon.