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A cedar Cinderella

July 22nd, 2003 · 2 Comments

It seems I am actually learning to enjoy household projects, becoming a bit more confident and skilled in the process. Our big project of the summer is to re-stain our cedar deck. The elevated deck is at least 300 square feet of floor, extending along the back side of the house, with stairs and railings. When we bought our house and the lot, before the construction began, we had planned for a patio. However the hidden slope of the lot demanded a deck, so that we could safely exit the back doors (without needing a parachute for the eight foot drop).

The professionals who originally treated the deck two summers ago made some mistakes: months later it was still sticky in places and it aged easily, becoming gray and mildewy almost immediately in our wet winter. Last year, since Baby Elisabeth was arriving, we decided to put it off, but now the deck must be done. Since my husband is overbooked with work (ha!), I am taking lead on the project, so to speak, and actually enjoying it. At times staining the deck has intimidated me, but tonight I am quite content at the progress we made today. Ted helped me after dinner, and this morning a friend, Larry, came over and helped me strip and brighten the deck. And thanks too to Grandma for babysitting. More than 20 man-hours contributed so far, I count.

So what am I enjoying about this project? Certainly I am creative enough to think of better ways to spend 20 hours! Yet I’ll dare to say that learning to use a pressure washer has been fun – thanks to Larry for suggesting it, and Marc, my neighbor for offering his. My first power tool, I suppose, although the “gun” reminds me a bit of Rambo, from those 80’s movie posters.

And the washing is “my favorite part” as I told Larry this morning. Applying the stripper and brightener can be ho-hum work, boring but busy, lots of brushwork. Removing the stripper is suspenseful and dramatic: did it work? what color is beneath? I love washing away weathered wood to reveal bright cedar color. It appeals to the scientist in me (creating chemical reactions, a very practical laboratory) and also to my artistic side (creating something beautiful to enjoy).
For a while now, I have felt embarrassed, “ashamed” as I said to Larry, of our deck’s mildew and premature aging, making excuses when company came over. I had forgotten how lovely it was in its youth, the honey hues of yellows and oranges, the clean color of cedar. Wow – what transformation! From run-down to radiant. It’s like a Cinderella story. And I get to be Fairy Godmother with my bottles of magical paint-store potions. As I wash the wood I exclaim to it: “You were this beautiful all along!”

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Jul 25, 2003 at 7:39 am

    It’s all about what God has been doing to YOU in the past few years! You’ve been this beautiful all along, but oh, how it’s shining through now. In your words to the deck I hear God’s tender words to you.

  • 2 Patricia A. Taylor // Jul 25, 2003 at 1:39 pm

    I can almost see you smiling! But it sounds like 20 woman hours to me 🙂
    Courage! (that is in French, by the way!), and Katherine’s comment goes double for me!