Outdoor staining has been knocked to the back of the line several times now, but this spring, we finally decided it was time. I borrowed a power washer from some lovely friends, somehow started it, used it for right about three minutes before a mechanically-minded neighbor decided he just couldn't take it anymore and marched over to fiddle with something magic on the side of the machine, yelling to me over the noise something about too much gas or something. I don't think his cigarette ever left his mouth, which Derek later pointed out was a teensy bit dangerous- something about gasoline and fires. Still, the engine went from sputtering and providing a weak stream of water to roaring and blasting dirt every which way. Step 1: Power washing front porch and back deck- complete. (And yes, I know they tell you not to power wash but to instead use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush on your fragile, easily offended outdoor wood. Or something. Rules, shmules.)
|Before I lost my mind|
Next came the fun part: Staining the front deck! I went out and got a gallon of stain (because surely a gallon would be more than enough, right? I mean, our front porch isn't that big), then came home and waited for it to stop raining. I set aside Monday afternoon for the job. I was so excited.
8 o'clock Monday night found me still staining the railings of the porch. Do you know how many spindles we have on there? EIGHTY. 80 fancy spindles that each sucked in noxious liquid like a Hollywood starlet just getting out of her court-appointed rehab. I felt like I was in that movie Groundhog Day, except instead of reliving the same day over and over I was reliving the same two minutes and Bill Murray was nowhere in sight for some much-needed comic relief.
Tuesday I got to finish the spindles, although not before some pretty specific fantasies about taking an axe to all 80 of them. I was afraid if I did that, though, their resultant spindle-splinters would come to life and pour buckets of water all over me 'til I drowned (no, the fumes were not getting to me; I just watched The Sorceror's Apprentice so many times during my childhood that I have very strong feelings about axes and broomsticks).
Wednesday I finally got to do the floorboards. Wednesday is also the day I began to lose my mind. I chose a reddish-brownish-colored stain for the porch, and while it dried just about the color advertised, when it went on, it looked pretty red. I began to wonder if passersby thought I was perhaps painting our front porch with blood. I wondered if they argued amongst themselves, "It can't be blood, it's not bright enough," "Well, it's obviously not arterial blood, Charlie; she probably picked a couple gallons up from the blood bank in Ames." Except instead of wondering these things in my head, it turns out I was muttering these imaginary conversations aloud as I was painting with not-blood, so perhaps our neighbors weren't discussing the paint so much as the painter.
Wednesday afternoon, though, I was finally done.
|After: The deck is stained and my mind is gone|
It took one more gallon of stain, two more days of work, and 99% more of my sanity than I had anticipated. So just about right for a home improvement project.
Next up: The back deck.
I am unable to look at this photo without whimpering. Oy.