The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dinner's Ready When the Weenies Catch Fire

Or, What a Difference 10 Hours in Million Degree Temperatures With Woman-Eating Mosquitoes Can Make to an Otherwise Shiny Attitude

Did I mention that Mr. K and I were going to paint the deck? Yeah...sanity went marching off somewhere to get a drink so that we could tackle that task undisturbed over the weekend. I think if you look back at the photo of Mr. K demolishing the old hot tub, you can see that the deck was painted by the previous owners in a rather stunning shade of picnic-table red. Which doesn't seem all that awful...until you realize that the house is a very subdued pale gray. And until you stand out on the deck for awhile and realize that between the red deck and the green lawn, your retinas are taking a hike for parts unknown to let you fend for yourself.

So, because I have this whole happy-crappy, "Hey Kids--let's put on a SHOW!" thing that sneaks in every so often (the same thing that leads me to continue knitting happily on a sweater large enough to provide extra warmth to New Hampshire this winter, or small enough to leave Barbie feeling exposed), I jumped right on board with the "Let's paint the deck together ourselves!" thing. In other words, I'm an idiot. Let's not gild the lily here. But, in my defense, why do these things always look like such a cakewalk....until four hours later when you realize the cake is one of those nasty fruitcakes your crazy Aunt Helen used to make and someone is about to chunk it at your head?
ANYWAY. We definitely learned a few things over the weekend, most specifically how priorities can....well...shift. Particularly after several hours of paint fumes and giant fiery ball of sun and turning into mosquito chow. For instance:
At 10:00 am, it seems quite essential to make certain that every square inch of deck is smooth as a baby's butt, even if it takes sanding for hours with a postage stamp sized piece of sandpaper. At 9:00 pm, it suddenly seems perfectly reasonable to actually scatter grass and wood shavings on the deck, paint them down firmly, and call it "texture".
At 10:00 am, it seems important that all the paint be layed on evenly and smoothly, with nary a bubble or thin spot in sight. At 9:00 pm, it makes absolute sense to dump the paint on the deck, spread it around by scuffing through it barefoot, and call it "character".

At 10:00 am, it is essential to carefully ascertain the location of all the cats so as not to distress any of them unduly, or accidentally drop paint on them. By 9:00 pm, it actually makes sense to intentionally paint one of them and roll it in grass, to serve as a warning to the others. By the next morning, it is hard to remember why it seemed like a big deal if one of them inadvertantly glued their ass to the still tacky deck.

At 10:00 am, the idea of a warm day in the sun, alone with your thoughts and the simple rhythm of the painting seems almost meditative. By 9:00 pm you can't think of a single reason not to strip naked, for the dual benefit of dropping your body temp to a mere 200 degrees, and also traumatizing your neighbors because it would be entertaining to watch their faces. And, if the cat WERE to glue its ass to the deck, you wouldn't mind too much because it would be a captive audience and someone to talk to. (Note here: Mr. K and I were working on this together, but in different areas, plus he had the sprayer which effectively rendered conversation impossible. I didn't want to glue his ass to the deck, though.)
At 10:00 am, it is a smart idea to tape off the area where deck meets house, in order to keep the back of the house pristine. By 9:00 pm, you've invented your own skater tag (grafitti, for the unitiated) and created a mural on the back of the house with the paint sprayer because "it looked kind of plain."
At 10:00 am, you really focus on getting all those hard to reach areas so that the finished product is delightfully professional looking. By 9:00 pm, you realize that anyone who is going to look at the underside of the handrail really isn't "our sort of people" and therefore can't come over anyway.

At 10:00 am, it is easy to keep in mind how lovely the deck will be, and how much enjoyment you'll get from using it in the months and years to come. By 9:00 pm, it seems like a really good idea to burn the entire deck down and tell guests going out the back door to "watch that first step."

At 10:00 am, you imagine yourself cleaning up in only a few hours, and then concocting a lovely and healthy dinner to eat in the back yard, caressed by the warm summer breezes. By as early as 7:00 pm, you find yourself firing up the barbecue that's sitting in the grass so the deck can be painted (and so as to create the greatest possible fire hazard) and uttering the line above without even seeing the humor in it: "Yeah, yeah, I'm making dinner. It'll be ready when the weenies catch fire."

All that said, I never did get to the point of thinking the picnic-table red was actually fine as it was...which tells you something about how bad it looked. Here's how it looks now (the buildings in the background are Mr. K's two metal shops....filled with the male equivalent of yarn and patterns--tools and metal):

Here, with blue sweater:

And here, with sock of similar hue to deck:

Yep, I'm photographing everything on that damned deck. If I could take it everywhere with me, I'd do that, too.

Ed even approves of the deck, now that he's not glued to it:

Lastly today, a couple of photos of Ms. Gussie, doing her best to help me blog. She was in my lap when I took these and yes, I did look like a total dork contorting myself to take them, thank you.

"There must be one square inch of this chair that I haven't smeared my nose on...."

You probably can't tell, but that thing she's draped over? My forearm. While I'm typing. Determination, thy name is Gussie.


  • At 7:06 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    The deck looks *great* from here in TX. And you captured perfectly my feelings about sanding, which is why the sofa table was upside down on the dining room table for nine months...

  • At 7:27 PM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    1 - Another contender for Greatest Blog Post Title of the Year! Or Decade. ::giggling madly::
    2 - The deck looks fantastic! And makes a great background for photographing FO's, yes indeedy.
    3 - Mr. K doesn't have an electric sander?? (Ahh, the memories of Dad yelling, "With the grain, with the grain!")
    4 - I note that Ed, while approving, is as close as he can get while still not venturing forth onto the deck. [g]
    5 - And oh, Gussie, sweetie, you're a hoot!
    6 - Blogger is apparently now advertising for Kinko's; my verification is 'inkos'. Coincidence? I think not!

  • At 7:32 PM, Blogger Faren said…

    Yeah, I've felt that way about a home improvement project a few times myself! It does look great though.

  • At 7:46 PM, Blogger Marianne said…

    The deck looks GOOD!
    "Watch that first step" that was my favourite...heh...
    Hey Ed, how's my boyfriend? (you, Ed) and Gussie, look at that sweet little face! xox
    Birthday sweater is soooo pretty and Brigid? be still my beating heart!

  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger Peg-woolinmysoup said…

    We just finished painting our house exterior and installing six new windows - on our own! At age 67, you would think we knew better! Anyway, I know what you mean about the point of the 9:00 pm rating of matters - being tired makes one a whole lot less fussy!!
    The deck looks great - about the same colour as our house!

  • At 8:25 PM, Anonymous marti said…

    The deck looks wonderful. I right now I have a 70 lb dog trying to help me type, I'd take a cat the size of Gussie any day!

  • At 8:35 PM, Blogger Jeanne said…

    Well, it was worth all the grass, sweat and tears, because it looks fantastic. I have a Gussie (named Ophelia) who must be all over you in the most inconvenient manner.

  • At 9:29 PM, Blogger Kit said…

    I'm not sure if I'm laughing with you or laughing at you.

    But the deck sure does look nice. *sips on ice water*


  • At 3:29 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    That colour has tt be 1000000000 x better than red when it's hot. Just what you need on a hot day a fur cuff ...still cats know they can get away with it being so cute an' all .

  • At 7:02 AM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    The deck looks great! The pain and trauma will wear off eventually.

    When we were getting ready to sell our first house, I had the brilliant idea to repaint the shed when I was 4-1/2 months pregnant with Bug. While I didn't do it all in one day, it was quite the task. Then, the next summer the SOBs that bought it decided that they wanted to repaint the trim with spray paint with no masking and gave up after half of the front trim and left it that way. I think I cried every time I drove past it. They dug up my gorgeous daffodils too. Bastages...

  • At 10:09 AM, Blogger Kim said…

    Just fabulous work (the deck job and the knitting, both)! I so know what you mean about priorities shifting as the day goes on and the weariness increases. Very funny writing!


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