Household Projects

Staining the Deck

Last Friday night while playing a game of Sorry, my husband and I discussed what we should do for the weekend … not the fun, adventurous sort of doing, but the work around the yard sort of doing. We settled on staining the deck. In my mind, he would do the essential pressure washing, it would dry, and we would quickly stain it. By the end of the day, Saturday, the project would be complete.

img_6469Well, not so much.

First came the decision making about what colours to paint where. Eventually, we settled on an ebony stain for the floorboards, and white for the stair and upper deck railings. Then, came a trip to town to purchase the essentials … $163 later we had what we needed (hopefully). Meanwhile, my husband began the important prep work of screwing down any screws that had started popping out and, of course, the pressure washing. Once he had started, we soon realized there was far more work to be done than either of us had anticipated. By 1:00 in the afternoon, he had one eight foot section of the deck prepped and ready to go along with the steps and handrail that lead up to our screen porch.


With other commitments starting at three, we were convinced that we could easily finish the railing.

Well, we didn’t.

In the two hour time slot, with both of us working at it, we were only able to finish one coat.

Neither of us realized how time-consuming taping and painting around every rung would be. In hindsight, I should have used black paint instead of white since the rungs are black and any little booboos would have easily been camouflaged. We ARE happy with how the white looks though, so we are committed to the project now.

That was Saturday … and the project hasn’t been touched since …

All week, I can’t seem to fight some pretty serious feelings of overwhelm and anxiousness. I hate half- (or less than half in this case) finished projects. I also hate trying to tackle these big overwhelming projects with the kids around. Looking ahead, I just don’t know how I will possibly be able to find the ridiculous number of hours I will need to complete this project, and that frightens me even more.

This is compounded by the fact that we are still recovering from our last adventure. I’ve been scrambling all week, but still haven’t completely finished the work of unpacking and putting everything away. And now, we are just five sleeps away from our next adventure.

It’s chaos around here, and really, all I want are easy days, a tidy home, and time to do the important stuff.

I really, really just want to hang out with my kids. I want to have time to exercise and visit with friends or family or both. I want to linger and enjoy and savour. I want to be present and patient and understanding … yet all of these things have just been SO challenging this week, because there is just … TOO … MUCH going on.

And I did it to myself.

I really want to hire someone to finish painting the deck. I even had someone come over to price it out. For $200, the job would be done. I told her I would think about it, but we’ve already invested $163. Hiring someone would bring our total up to $363 for a project I said I wouldn’t even do until our acreage sold. No money would be spent on the new house until the old house was sold. So far, I have done a very good job of sticking to this rule. I can justify $163 for painting supplies, but I am struggling with $363.

And, of course, what would I be teaching my kids about abandoning a project and simply hiring someone?

On one hand, I guess I could be showing them that giving up is okay (not exactly a lesson I want to instil). But on the other hand, I could also be teaching my children that sometimes projects are more than we can handle on our own (and it takes tackling it to realize this). Sometimes, projects are outside of our skill set (anyone can paint, but not everyone is brilliant at it like the lady I would hire). And sometimes, certain projects are not worth the time they steal from the more important things in our lives. I wish I would have thought of all of these things BEFORE deciding to stain the deck.

Talking it over a bit more with my husband, I think we have a plan going forward, but my concerns remain … hours and hours and hours spent distracted, accompanied by unfinished project clutter and feelings of overwhelm.

Anyone else loathe these big projects the way I do???

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