Monday, September 4, 2017

Another Summer Come and Gone...

Sadly, this summer ended up being far less productive than I had hoped. Reviewing my “to-do” list of items that needed addressing, it seems I have only been able to complete a few of them. Now there is only the hope that the coming Fall may serve to be a more productive season as far as the house is concerned.

No, this is not the reason for my lack of productivity. A nice addition to my tiki bar, thanks to the good people at Windsor & Eton Brewery.
A large part of this was due to our trip to the UK in mid-May; between holiday planning and the weather upon our return, this set me back about 3-4 weeks in terms of my usual summer work schedule. In recent years, we’ve been able to open the pool during the first week of May, with another week or two after that to handle annual chores like cleaning the patios, doing touch-up painting on the decks and some outdoor furniture—which all has to be hauled out of storage—tidying up the perennial beds, setting up our tiki bar on the back deck and bringing all the seasonal decorative items out of the garage, shed and basement. This is then followed by planting of tropical-looking annuals in beds and in pots all around the pool.

New this year was an effort to grow more grass in the backyard bare spots (initially, this appeared to be successful, but a hot, dry July and August rendered these efforts fruitless) and I also wanted to test some of that specially formulated spray paint on our plastic outdoor furniture, which was in serious need of restoration. Our four white chaises were seriously stained and dirty—totally beyond cleaning—and I also wanted to paint a few other items (a cooler and a trash bin) a dark brown. It’s also important to note that all of this work was limited to the backyard, which is where we spend most of our time during the summer. Other than fertilizing, raking and mowing, planting a few annuals in the porch planters and setting some pots out on either side of the steps, little happens in the front of the house until the backyard is totally in order.

As it turned out, June was spent by the time this work was all completed; after another week of enjoying the fruits of my labor, I took the first weekend in July to head up to Michigan for some camping, sightseeing and volunteer activity. Two weeks later, my daughter visited from New York for a weekend, and four weeks after that my wife and I went to visit her again. Obviously, no work got done during those periods. Take away another weekend or so with cool or wet weather, and here I am now considering when to close the pool and start packing everything up for the winter. Sigh.

This is how the "She-Shed" turned out.  The space behind the curtain on the left is still needed for storage.
So what did get done? Aside from regular yearly maintenance, I was able to:

1) Rebuild, reinforce and re-paint a large bench I had built for the pool area some years ago.

2) I successfully re-painted all four of our plastic chaise lounges, in addition to a large cooler/cabinet and a trash bin. This turned out wonderfully; all the items look brand new.

3) I was able to finish staining the back of the backyard swing I moved about a year ago, and fully restored the carved wooden sign on it (dated 1997) that says Mom’s Swing.

4) Got a coat of paint on the small oriental bridge in the garden.

5) Repaired, added decorative trim and repainted a small open book case that sits next to the tiki bar on the deck. This serves as a summer home to decorative items like tiki mugs, candles, photos and other exotic knick-knacks.

6) Painted the inside of our backyard shed so that my wife could use most of it as a “She-Shed” during the summer season. The inside walls (and the roof framing)  is painted a light seafoam green; I had put in a sheet vinyl floor previously, and with a few decorative items and an area rug, it looks pretty good. Since I still need about four feet of the interior for storage (the shed is 8’ x 12’) I hung 2 color-coordinated shower curtains across part of the space to hide things like extra tables, chairs and other items that we still keep there. Come fall, the “She-Shed” goes away as we pack the shed with stuff again.

There is still much to do. I think I’ll cover that in my next post…

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