Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Happy Places

I think you know by now that I have a few happy places - places that allow me to feel most like my true self. For me, these places are my own home, Truro, and my camper. These are the places that bring out the best in me and allow me to feel comfortable being Little Kelly.

One of my happy places is also my screened porch. I love to sit on my porch, listening to the birds, feeling a breeze, reading a book, enjoying a glass of wine with a friend - for whatever reason it is a sanctuary for me. I love being outside and being in the fresh air...but I especially love being outside and not being bitten my mosquitos. You've heard of the Mosquito Magnet? Well, I'm the poster child for that phrase. For whatever reason they love me. Last weekend we went to a friend's house and sat outside for the night. I'm not making this up....I had AT LEAST 200 mosquito bites. On my left knee alone, I counted 9 bites.  It was so bad on the back of my thighs that it looked like I had some sort of skin disease. I'm just sayin'....mosquitos aren't my friends. So, any opportunity I have to enjoy the outdoors and not be tortured by these insidious creatures, I love it.

Which leads me to my next point, the revitalization of my screened porch is the reason for my most recent blog silence. Let me paint a picture. In the last two years, the screened porch became our bunny's summer home when she was a toddler. She teethed on our wicker furniture, the woodwork, and the screens. She had potty accidents on the wood floor.  And she single handedly ruined my happy place. Now that she is a "tween" and is not eating or peeing on every surface, we decided it was time to reclaim and redo my happy place.

We had our work cut out for us. Rescreen 12 screens, put up a ceiling (we just had open trusses), paint, upcycle some yard sale furniture, and refurnish the room. When you find yourselves uttering the words "This will be easy", back away. That doesn't mean "we can finish this project in a weekend". It means, we can finish this project some day...in the next year or two. We started last fall with the ceiling and here we are almost a year later, still working on the ceiling. Over time the project grew into something that didn't seem to have an end. I'm all about getting things done and checking them off my list so not having a defined end in sight is like having an open wound that won't stop bleeding. And we all know how I feel about blood....

As it turns out, Mimi could start her own re-screening business. In the end, Tim and Mimi were replacing screens in 11 minutes flat...from taking the door of its hinges, to taking out the old screen, replacing with a new one, and putting it back in place. Screens replaced? Check!

The tongue and groove planked ceiling seemed simple until we didn't have a ladder that was tall enough. One night last week, we committed to finishing the ceiling but what it came down to was me standing on the very top rung of the ladder...well, the tippy top of the ladder...while having nothing to steady myself on... while holding a pine board that Timothy hammered into place. Can you say Instability? Both the situation and Tim's consideration that this was not an unusal request.

Enter my friends' teenage boys to the rescue. They were sent over to help "us" and as soon as they arrived, I took my shaky legs to do other tasks. I put a wash in, folded clothes in the dryer, completely cleaned out the camper from our last trip, reloaded all of our stuff in the camper, and came back in to find the boys literally running out. "Wow, that was quick! You guys are done?" They replied hesitantly "Ah...the nail gun broke so we are leaving." Turns out not one real board had been put up. There was one board hanging precariously from about 20 nails that never quite made it thorugh all the way. I walked out to the screened porch to find Tim shaking his head and looking at the nail gun. Turns out, we just needed to put in new nails. It was at that point, that I just sucked it up and got on the tippy top of the ladder, shaking like a leaf, amd held each board until we got within one board of being done.

Ceiling up? Check! Now let's paint the ceiling. That seemed simple until we realized that the roller was not going to get in the grooves of the planking. So, after Tim went over the ceiling twice with rollers, I then had to follow Tim with a paintbrush and fill in every groove. After 2 layers of paint and 3 days, the ceiling was painted. Check!

I won't belabor this post with every painfuld detail, but I will share the straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back moment with you. It was Tuesday night and we just needed to install the fan, take the painter's tape off, put up some trim pieces, and load all the furniture in. Again, one of us foolishly said "This will be easy" and we were cursed.

At 10:30 pm Tim was still using the saw to cut trim pieces and I was hammering shells into the beadboard panels. I had visions of the police showing up to tell us that our neighbors had complained abou the noise and just wanted to go to bed. Hey, we all wanted to go to bed at that point but sometime the simple things just aren't that simple.

At 11:00 pm, when we realized we weren't going to finsh the trim, I proclaimed it was time to load the furniture in. Timmy just blinked at me. Blink. Blink. He was incredulous that I would put furniture in there only to have to move it the next day to finish the trim. I literally gritted my teeth and said "I have been waiting for over a year for this to be finished and we are so close...but I can't wait another a minute. I'm going to read my book on this porch tonight!" I had reached my limit and was not going to wait another minute. And sure enough at 11:30. I had my feet up on a foot stool, reading my book, and enjoying the breeze blowing through.

When will we finish the trim? Oh...it might take another year. When will I find another table for the other corner? Who knows! When will I find the perfect serving cart for our wine bar? No idea. But you know what? The screened porch is once again my happy place. I get up early each morning and go out and read there. I get home from work and immediately go out there to take off my shoes and just relax. Last night it was so hot in our room that I went out and slept on the couch on the porch. There is nothing better. Nothing better than my screened porch. And nothing better than happy places. What is your happy place?



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