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The Very Endless Porch Project

Back porch on its way to becoming leprous.

Because 1) my thoughts on the state of the Commonwealth, Country and World are not printable; 2) I haven’t assembled any thoughts on another book commentary; 3) I haven’t been anywhere beyond the back garden to write about; 4) The Moose is working from home and so unable to provide me with any comic relief; and 5) it is past time for another post, I thought I would just offer a peek into what is going on here in lockdown in the middle of nowhere.

I can sum it all up by saying that I am having a A Very Hungry Caterpillar week.  

To refresh your memory of how the hero of Eric Carle’s book spent his time:

On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry.

On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry.

On Wednesday he ate through three plums, but he was still hungry.

On Thursday he ate through four strawberries, but he was still hungry.

On Friday he ate through five oranges, but he was still hungry.

While I could certainly list the apples, oranges, bags of potato chips, brownies, popcorn, grilled pork chops and hot fudge sundaes with walnuts I’ve consumed (the walnuts make them health food), that isn’t what makes our week similar.

I’ve been painting the porch.  I loathe painting.  Actually, to be completely truthful, I haven’t even started the painting part yet.  I spent all last week on the prep.  I loathe prep even more than I loathe painting – the scraping, the sanding, the scrubbing, the patching, the wiping, the cleaning, and the doing it all again when you find a spot that needs more sanding.

Here is my version of A Very Busy Caterpillar week:

On Monday I swept up all the cobwebs and leaves, put all the porch furniture on to the patio and scraped the porch walls, but there was still more to do.

On Tuesday I put the long buffet table – which thwarted my every step, and which had only been brought out of winter storage the previous Sunday back in the garage as it couldn’t stay out on the patio in the rain – and sanded all the scraped wall bits.  Then I sanded the whole back floor and started on the spindles, but there was still more to do.

On Wednesday I finished the spindles and sanded the hallway which leads to the porch and lays between the house and garage, and mopped and vacuumed everything, but there was still more to do.

On Thursday I washed all the walls (porch and hallway), researched how best to get up the rest of the stain from the porch floor which, in spite of all the sanding, was far too much in evidence, and ordered some deck stripper and wood brightener, but there was still more to do.

On Friday I finished washing the columns and header boards, sanded bits of flaking paint that had escaped the first time around and caulked a few seams, and said, ‘that is more than enough for this week’, but there was still more to do.

Unlike Mr. Caterpillar, who continued his feasting right through the weekend and ended up with a tummy ache, I outdid him by Friday with a body, not just a tummy, that was suffering in every molecule.

Saturday was cold and windy and miserable (snow on May 9th!)  Even if I had been capable, anything beyond lounging in fleecy pajamas and sipping hot tea seemed excessively zealous.  I had all I could do to straighten up and creak about the house.  Sunday, I embraced the long-neglected day of rest and did nothing more strenuous than enjoy a gin alongside a few potato chips.

In starting this project, I made the porch look as leprous as possible as quickly as possible so that there would be no turning back.  This strategy is necessary in many of my schemes because I am a master at talking myself out of what I don’t want to do.  We are now far beyond just “shabby chic.”

There is no turning back.  The deck stripper arrived yesterday.  Today, as soon as it warms up past 50 degrees, I will be floundering around in it and by Saturday, if all goes well, slapping the coats of white paint on the walls.  There is chance that all will not go well.  I am the Queen of attacking all home improvement projects with the tools I have on hand (hammer, screwdriver, sandpaper, sponge), rather than the tools I need (power washer, pump sprayer.)  In which case, I may have material shortly for a “how not to do this” post.

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