So there I was, with a scrubbed deck (just a week ago), a can of stain (stain and clear coat in one!), a brush, a roller… everything I needed except ambition. My husband was due home at 6:30 or thereabouts. I had a three day weekend ahead of me. Wasn’t it acceptable to make my blog post and futz around on Facebook or watch World’s Dumbest for Friday night? NO! It was NOT!
I told myself, I’ll just get started. I’ll do the railing. That would be the pain in the buttest part anyways. Won’t Steven be pleased to come home and find me hard at work, not sitting on the couch enjoying my Thirsty Owl Chardonnay (from a New York State winery)?
Of course nothing is ever easy with me. I have that quality. First I had to search for clothes I didn’t care if they got stain on them. I had already worn the Hummel’s t-shirt (purchased at a church rummage sale) to scrub the deck and had not washed it yet. It was definitely shorts weather. I grabbed a pair of bicycle shorts that I like to run in. I could run in stained shorts (nothing could make me look worse running than I already do). At last I found a t-shirt. Some slip-on sneakers my sister Diane gave me some 20 years ago that have never been particularly comfortable. I was ready.
I should have bought one of those little hooky things you open paint cans with. I managed with the edge of an old pair of scissors. I carried the can and brush to the far side of the deck and began staining. The top of the railing was no problem, but the edges were a little tricky. Leaning over to get the far edge, I was sure to hit the top I had just stained. The spindles (are they called spindles? Uprights? I’m sure you know what I mean) were sons of bitches. I quickly realized I could not conveniently get the far side of those. I would do all I could standing on the deck and worry about the other side subsequently.
Slowly I worked my way around. Stand, crouch, sit. Move the can of stain. Go back and get that spot I missed. I started to feel pretty ill used. Where was my husband, who ought to be helping me? (At work, earning money to pay for my stain and accessories.) Where were my family and friends? (Staining their own decks, which I did NOT help with.) I knew I was being unreasonable. Anyways, I would be proud of myself when I was done. In about a hundred years.
Then I went to pull the can after me instead of picking me up and the bastard spilled! At least I didn’t knock it right over, but that comforting thought did not occur to me till later. The best thing I could think of to do was to take my brush and spread the spilled stain around as quickly as I could. Well, I meant to stain that part of the deck anyways. I was just getting a jump on tomorrow’s chore.
I was nearly all the way around the railing by the time Steven came home. I had been working maybe an hour and a half (typically for me, I had failed to note what time I started). He immediately asked was there another paint brush. So much for me grumbling about him not helping! But I thought it would be a better idea for us both to enjoy what was left of the evening and leave the rest for the bright, ambitious morning. For one thing, Steven had to work. For another, I had a blog post to make and I was hungry.
Saturday morning after a long but satisfying run and an invigorating shower, I assessed the shade that covered the deck. Ruth at Aubuchon had cautioned me not to work in the bright, sunny heat of the day. I thought it looked good. It was a little after eight. Steven had gotten out the six foot stepladder for me, so I started on the outside of the railing.
And realized that was the biggest pain in the butt of all! I couldn’t get in the corners. I kept missing places. I had to keep brushing away cobwebs that had grown there since I had scrubbed. Eventually Steven suggested a smaller paint brush and even found me one. That worked better. I was still on the railing when he left for work, but working with determination.
I thought the deck part of the deck would be the easy part. I had a roller, with extender attachment, so I would not have to bend over or be on my hands and knees. Rollers were fast. This might even be fun.
Of course it was not. The roller did not put the stain on smoothly. Ruth had warned me I would have to brush over it after I rolled, and I still had my big brush that had been so poorly adapted for the outside of the railing. It looked better after I brushed it. Unfortunately, I only had one extender attachment. I could roll in a semi-comfortable position, then had to bend over in a distinctly un-back-friendly posture to brush. Oh dear!
At last I took the extender off the roller, put it on the brush (which had a place for it; I think I mentioned in my last post the brush’s package had said it was the Best), and continued to stain with sweeping movements. It really was not going too badly. Not too swiftly, but not too badly.
As I went along, I couldn’t help noticing that it was not looking wonderful. There were large spots on the deck from where my container garden had leaked, and the stain did not obliterate them as I had hoped. I guess that’s from the woodgrain-showing-through quality I thought would look so nice. It just goes to show, we can’t always think of everything.
Then I noticed how the sun was moving. It was pursuing me. And it was not pursuing me like a movie villain, giving up after I managed to stay one step ahead of it. It was relentless. I checked where it was coming from in relation to what was blocking it and changed my tactics. I stained where the sun was now and started working my way back to the shadier shade. Oh, I just had to finish! I could not leave till late afternoon when the shade returned.
Closer and closer to the end I got. I was well into the shade; the sun would never catch me now. Only my own fatigue and frustration could do me in. I encouraged myself with promises of beer and bragging rights. I made it.
In all honesty I have to say, the deck looks less awful than it did before I stained it. And I enjoyed the beer I subsequently rewarded myself with. I would like a beer now. This has been a long damn blog post. If you’ve stuck with me, thank you. I’ll have more deck doings in future posts.