Tuesday, July 1, 2014
It takes me a long time to find just the right items for my house. I'm not one of those people that buys things just to fill the spot. For example, it took me 5 years to commit to curtains in most of my house. In the end, I found fabric that I loved and my cousin Karen came up from Florida for a week to make all of them. I had an image in my head of the table I wanted on my deck but since I couldn't find it, we really spent no time eating or hanging out on the deck. Cooking on the grill, yes. Eating out there, no. What I really wanted was a ridiculously expensive teak set that was just not in my near future. Then I decided I wanted a picnic table, but not a traditional one. I didn't want the attached benches or a traditional bulky table. What I wanted was a picnic table just like Tim's parents. They had inherited it with the property they bought about 20 years ago. It was a 6 feet long table with disconnected benches and X shaped table legs. We asked where they bought it and turns out they were ready to get rid of it. We were very excited but the only challenge was that it was stained red. I spent a weekend painting it with Binz and then 3 layers of paint the same tan as our house color. Then Tim put a hole in the middle for our umbrella and we were good to go! The funny thing, is that this table has become a catalyst for many unexpected things. First, it makes the deck seem like a new room in our house. You can see the deck from the living room and it is a nice extension of the space. Secondly, we finally have our outdoor eating space and we use it almost every night. I like nothing more than eating out there while the sun is beginning to make its ascent. It is an absolutely beautiful time of the night. By spending more time outside, we realized we have a nature wonderland going on under our noses. Apparently, we have a family of bunnies that live in the yard - a mother and tiny little baby. They come out to eat at dusk...right in our line of vision so we get to watch them eat and run around the yard. Then there is the family of birds living in our bird house. We have this adorable bird house on the playhouse that has now become our shed and there is a family of very sqwaky birds living in there. The mother literally is feeding them every 10 minutes. Their little heads and beaks poke out as she comes close with worms and whatnot. It's so cute. Perhaps the most unusual dining experience we have had was on Father's Day when we were enjoying a nice relaxing meal..until the chipmunks invaded my bird feeder. That's when I heard Tim say "Kids...grab your guns!" Let's just stop right there. I am anti-gun, anti-killing of animals, and anti-kids having guns to kill animals. Suddenly, Mimi has her pink bb gun in her arms and Jack is firing up his air soft uzi. Seriously, the fact that my kids have "guns" ...and just to be clear...they are air soft guns...but it's not something I would have thought would ever happen. A few chipmunks got the message to stay away from the bird food...but to be clear, it was just gentle pings, not life threatening impact. I worked out on my deck all day last Friday, under my umbrella. There is nothing like working while listening to the birds chirp. I was so productive yet also was so relaxed by the end of the day. I think all work spaces should have outdoor space. But, one of the best things about the picnic table is that the kids will play outside before and after dinner. I call them in from the yard for dinner just like my mother used to do. Remember when you played outside all day and just went home when you heard the call of lunch or dinner? I miss those simple times. After dinner, both the kids race to the backyard and play soccer, chase the bunnies, or play basketball. Being outside reminds them to spend time outside. In my opinion, kids should be outside as much as possible with their free time. They should be out hunting frogs, playing together, and just exploring. Somehow in our society, we have really lost the ability for kids to be kids. Our picnic table is bringing it back. Silly little table that is having an amazing impact on all aspects of our lives. Never underestimate the power of the little things.