This past weekend I scraped, sanded and weatherproofed my deck, a home improvement project that took almost fifteen hours. My Inner Hedonist was tired, and there was a big wedding on over at Former Husband's house a few blocks away, so my need for smug superiority won out. By God, Protestant Work Ethic said, you can take care of yourself. Go forth to Home Depot and make me proud.
Understand that this is not a little back porch. This thing encompasses a couple of time zones, which makes it the ultimate party deck. Unlike the frat boys who lived here before--I live in a college town where, even with locals who are relatively well-off, the students have better cars and nicer houses than most of us--I don't have a hot tub and am happy they took theirs away before I moved in, given what was probably in it. And although I will certainly allow that there has been some drinking done on the deck since I moved in, there aren't hoards of co-eds on it every weekend. This I gather was the formerly the case, based on comments from my neighbors and the multitude of beer cans I pulled out of my flowerbeds last spring.
No, this was the sort of project FH would have snickered at me trying. It was one of the things he was referring to when he said, five years ago, "You think you can do this by yourself? Good luck with that." So when I had scraped down all 300-odd square feet of it and it looked worse than when I started, I wondered if he maybe hadn't been right. Then I cleaned myself up and went for some awesome sushi with my girlfriends. I'd think about it tomorrow.
The sun rose again, and despite my aching arms and creaky back, I rallied and told the Inner Perfectionist (she's been kept well in line of late, but in low moments she can grow noisy) to go sit in the corner. It wasn't going to be immaculate. The fake redwood paint is still in place on the railing that runs the perimeter, as well as under the trellis where the weather hasn't been as harsh. So the redwood-tinted waterproofing colors the bare wood but doesn't quite cover up the uneven coloration. Still, the result was a rather shabby chic look. And it's sealed against the torrential rains and relentless sun of North Texas, at least for awhile, which is as much as anyone can hope for.
I could handle the physical labor, but the the drain was worrying about how I might screw the entire thing up. (Okay, IP got obstreporous several times. She's a three year-old.) I was all by myself out there, save for a few sweet phone calls from Harley Man, who made FH's voice in my head much, much quieter. And then I remembered the mantra for worriers and perfectionists: what's the worst that can happen? It wasn't going to fall down, and I could always bite the bullet and hire someone to fix my mistakes.
In the end it's much improved in appearance, and the sticky that was on it (a lot like when my university roommate dropped a gallon of orange juice on our linoleum and it lasted until graduation, no matter how many times we scrubbed it) has evaporated. And now there is no one to snicker at me. As one of my wise girlfriends pointed out over sushi, today is your lucky day. Amen.