Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Workdays

You know I seek order. Well, if you didn't... now you do. I am still settling into a comfort level with my recently combined blogs, so decided that I need to impose some order here, too. So, effective today Wednesday is for describing the project du jour. Structure for me, and you can skip on over it if you're not interested. A win-win in any book!!

You may recall that last week's project was stripping and staining the deck. It seems like it took three weeks, but really only one.

The Starting Point: Normally we just slap another coat of sealer on our now 10-year old deck, but this year I found a neat idea in BHG and decided to strip the whole thing and stain it green (yellow house with hunter green trim, so it seemed like a great idea). Because we enlarged the deck about five years ago, I really felt that I needed to strip it all to try to minimize the existing difference in color of the "old part" and the "new part".

You can see over by the door that I have stripped the first section and it definitely looks more like the new part (foreground - duh!) Altho it was fairly easy to do, it was complicated. It had to be done in small sections so that the stripper wouldn't dry out, but stripper had to be applied to dry wood and then washed off with water. Then the second step had to be applied to wet wood. This resulted in all the surrounding wood being wet, so then I had to wait for it to dry before stripping the next section.

Initially I solved that problem by worked at each end and moving toward the middle, but eventually I got to the middle and that didn't work.

Once I started staining I did half of it on the first day - then it rained. Fortunately, the stain was dry enough and did fine - whew! Day two (once the wet deck dried after the rain) I stain another quarter - then it rained. And day four I finished it - then it rained. But it is actually finished, completely dry and ready for us to move the furniture today - before it rains.... tonight.

The finished product: Oh! did you notice it's not green? Underneath that cabinet - you see it - way in the back left corner - is the remains of a test patch of green stain. Yes, I had to strip it a second time! I didn't like it. Too yellow, too dark, too wrong - not at all like the one in BHG and not at all what I wanted. A quick trip to the Big Blue Box Store and a check of all their samples (don't think I am ignoring Big Orange Box Store - it was their stain that I had originally selected, so now I am looking for more alternatives!) and nothing. Nothing. There was nothing that I liked better. So home to strip the sample patch and then let the darn thing dry one more time.

But I am finally pleased. Furniture back in place, planters back in place and a chair for that afternoon glass of wine ready to go!

In the interest of blog-honesty... I do have to report that I still have to stain a zillion "stretchers", but since they are vertical and won't deteriorate with rain, I can take my time. And, most importantly, they do not affect the "sitability" of the deck.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Wise Woman Cometh

Another dear, old friend came to visit yesterday. Fortunately, business brought her to town and we got to spend the evening catching up.

Stacy and I worked together for nearly 17 years. She was the manager in another part of the state and lived three hours away so it took a while to become close, but over the years we discovered that we had much in common. Both sticklers for detail and absolute honestly and neither suffering fools gladly. She brought professional experience to the table and I brought years of practical experience. We both brought common sense. Over the years we often found common ground in solutions altho we came to problems from very different directions. Our collaborations were strong and we found that we thoroughly enjoyed each other's company.

She is currently enrolled in a PhD program and will soon be teaching at the university level and helping young people master her field. In the meantime she is working full time doing research into obesity programs and is trying to find ways to help our youth reverse the current trend of overweight in America.

A wife and mother, she is involved with her teenage son and makes time to be with him at school functions and athletic events. A daughter, sister and aunt, she is involved in her extended family - often including several generations in whatever activity she has going. A homemaker, she has the greatest red and white kitchen ever. I never see a red do-dad for the kitchen that I don't consider getting it for her.

Over the years she has helped me to stop and think things thru and to look at issues from many directions. She has listened when I needed to vent. She has called me to discuss an issue before making a decision, and together we have a fired staff member who was not making the grade. Today she's my weight loss adviser and a cheerleader for my never-ending struggled to drop ten pounds.

It was a delight to talk the evening away, and again over breakfast to find that the distance between us is so small.