August 2, 2010

The Front Steps

It's amazing what a few days of cool weather will do to a "to-do" list.

Lately I've been feeling so worn out by the never ending heat that I haven't really had any interest in getting things done on the house. Between work, kids, heat and the craziness of the past two weeks, any plans we had had to get moving on the outside of the house went down the drain. But Thursday it was miraculously cool, and then Friday as well, and it continued on through the weekend. Even today I'm amazed to find myself sitting at my desk in a pair of pants and a (light weight and short sleeved, but still...) sweater.

It won't last. It's supposed to be back in the 90's by tomorrow. But while it was cool, we got busy and tackled a whole list of outdoor chores which has left me feeling more satisfied than I have in weeks. It's also made my hands look more like my hands, dirt stained and blotched with multiple colors of paint.

I wish I wasn't such a heat wimp. When we lived in Portland I spent whole days out in the yard. Digging, planting, mowing, harvesting. Hanging out with our chickens and the cat while Briton dug in his gravel pit (ie the fire pit that never was because he claimed it for his dump trucks) and Evelyn napped or rolled around with a few squeeky toys in her playpen. It felt wonderful. To be outside for hours without having to worry about sunstroke or tiger mosquitos (what is up with those? They are out in the day! Not nice!)

I miss that. I know Virginia has lovely springs and falls, and winters that aren't marked by 90 day stretches of rain. But the summers, at least this summer, well, the heat is a little too brutal for this northwest girl. Truthfully, this cool spell came just in time. When I was starting to day dream about Oregon, putter through real estate ads for Portland (not seriously, but just to torture myself a little) and think longinly about places where 90 degrees is not the low. So we put the cooler days to good use, topping up our outdoors-o-meter from it's below empty position.

Evelyn and I dug out all the potatoes at last which was hilarious because with each and every spud we unearthed she said "a potato!" as if she'd never seen one before. Actually she kept saying "A corn hot dog potato!" She's got a thing for corn dogs ever since she got one in Dallas and most of the potatoes I put in this spring were Russian Fingerlings which, I will admit, do look a lot like corn dogs, but it was still funny. We pulled out old bean plants and harvested a few ears of popcorn (now I have to figure out what to do with popcorn on the cob) and our very first fig, which I should have taken photos of but instead just ate right there next to the fig tree.

And we painted. Not the house (sigh, I'm so ready for the house to be painted I can't even tell you) but both the front and back steps into the house. The back deck got it's final (I hope) coat of paint and is looking much, much better than when it was ugly and red and the front steps got a coat of what I think is our official house color. I say I think because Will is still dithering a little. As it turns out, we didn't actually change colors, just sheen and quality of paint.

When I went in to buy paint after we had chosen a color, I decided to do something I never do with house paint, buy the good stuff. Generally I just go for the run of the mill, Lowes or Home depot paint. This is in part because we once bought Sherwin Williams paint and hated it, which turned us off to expensive paint in generally. And also because, well, it's always been easier to fit the standard house paint into the budget.

But this time I thought I'd be smart. I'd buy the fancy, primer and paint variety. We are going form white, crumbly paint to a very dark paint which means a lot of coats right? So the primer paint seemed like a good idea. Except it just didn't look the same. I think the fact that I'd chosen a satin sheen didn't help, but really, it looked like a different color altogether. Which just, ugg, was so frustrating. But low and behold when we picked up a quart of the color in flat paint, regular base, there was our color again.

I think Will is a little gun shy about the color now, he hasn't decided if he likes it or not. I painted the steps, which have always been an eye sore to me, in the hopes that after a few days he'll get used to it and we'll be set. But then again, we did repaint every single kitchen cabinet last summer when the color was not quite right. So I'd much rather he decide he wants a different color when just the steps are at stake than after the whole house is painted.

The funny thing to me, although maybe this isn't that odd, is that just having the front steps painted and the yard freshly mown makes me love my little house so much more. And just when I was starting to get frustrated with stalled projects and not quite strong enough air conditioners and stir-crazy, we-no-longer-have-a-playroom-and-it's-too-hot-outside nuttiness.

Now if it would only stay cool enough to get started on removing the siding. That, would really be fun.

(Did I just say removing siding would be fun?)