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As Long as the Mosquitoes Stay Away …

May 17, 2010

We are renters, and based on the median home price in our town, coupled with college tuition barreling down on us, we probably will be for a very long time.

Our first apartment after we came back east was a tiny 2 bedroom with no outdoor space to speak of (although we had an awesome park just across the driveway, where many picnics were had).  Once grad school ended for me, we [finally] moved to a bigger place.

We now live in a duplex on an awesome little street.  And it has a large deck/balcony.

We moved in during the summer 2 years ago, and had to buy a lot of furniture to fill our much bigger home, and outdoor furniture didn’t make it to that list.

Last year, I dreamed of nice outdoor furniture for the deck, but it never hit the top of the priority list.

This year, however!!  It was on my list of priorities.  And this weekend was the weekend to Make It Happen!

Writer-Dude and I have been looking at what’s out there since February, which is when outdoor furniture showed up in stores.  Turns out that by waiting until May, we almost were unable to purchase anything.  (Ridiculous.)

And, as per usual, we found ourselves at IKEA.  I keep saying I’m done there, that I’ve grown up and moved on.  But then I go back!  And getting a real wood table (i.e., not  press board) that seats up to 10 people for $99?  I mean, come on.  It’s hard to insist that I should go buy something similar from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn for $3,000 (I was going to say $999, but then I went to their website to check that I wasn’t exaggerating.  Ha!  Their sets are on sale!  For $2,999!!)

So I spent the afternoon on Saturday putting furniture together, while WD did the grocery shopping.  We had kids (ours & not-ours) in and out of the house, and so I took a few breaks to make them food.  We finally set everything up, including our sun umbrella purchased to block the direct sun while we sat & chatted & ate … but it didn’t block the sun.  It was too high, and didn’t quite work.  The umbrella we chose wasn’t adjustable in any direction, and so, we just sat there with the sun coming in UNDER the umbrella, feeling frustrated, and a little sad.

But then the sun went down, and we were happier.  We sat on our deck at our lovely table in our lovely chairs, and looked out at the other 2/3rds of the deck that sat barren & empty.  Hmpf.

“We need recliners.”  I said.  “And flower boxes.”  WD kind of glared at me.  “We don’t have to do everything at once!” he said.  I think that’s what he said.  But I’m not really sure, because my brain didn’t compute anything other than “I will give you what you want right now.”   He then pulled out his iPhone, on which he snapped a picture of some Adirondack chairs on sale at Home Depot.  They were unfinished, but $30.  Weeee!!

So we got in the car (at 8:30 p.m.*) and went to Home Depot.  They had 2 Adirondack chairs left.  The exact number we were looking for!  We spent some time looking at stains and finishing instructions.  Then we wandered.  Guess what we saw?  A sun umbrella – just like the frustrating one already at our house – that tilts!  It was $100 more than the one we bought, but with none of the frustration!  Hooray!  So we bought that, too.

I then spent my Sunday staining the Adirondack chairs and prepping for dinner company that night.  Dinner company that was invited 3 weeks ago to have dinner with us on our deck in our new deck furniture!  S~ laughed at me and said, “you invited them just to force the new furniture, didn’t you???”  That kid knows me.  Maybe too well.

Company was due at 5:30, and so at 5, I started prepping the table.  I put up the umbrella, and tilted it to block the setting infernal sun.  Then I went to the kitchen to make a salad.

WD came into the kitchen, a wee frantic.  “The wind blew the umbrella so hard that it moved the table!  [the table has a hole in the middle for the umbrella] I don’t think we can leave it tilted like that if we’re not outside, it catches the wind too much.”  So I finished the salad and went back outside.  I wasn’t out there for 5 minutes when another breeze came and grabbed the umbrella and tipped it (and it’s 10,000 pound stand) so hard that the table was on 2 legs.

Despite the blazing sun, we were forced to take the umbrella down, deciding it really only worked on non-windy days. Even if we put extra weight on the base, the strain on the joints and the ribbing from the wind would be too much.

As a result, we spent the first half of our dinner squinting through the sun and watching each other’s skin turn pink, and the second half freezing cold, because when the sun went down, the temperature instantly dropped 20 degrees (or so it felt).

Regardless, I love my new deck furniture.  I can’t wait to finish the Adirondack chairs, and to get my flowers and flower boxes.

Two scenes from the weekend:

Scene 1

Sitting on the deck at the new tables on Saturday night – Citronella candles flickering, a fantastic adult dinner of grilled swordfish and salad, with a nice glass of wine.

Me:  I love it out here.

WD:  Yes, it is shaping up nicely.  the only thing I don’t like about it, though, is that I know that you are going to want to do more entertaining.  I don’t really like entertaining.

Whaaaa?  How did we end up together?

_________________________

Scene 2:

Earlier in the day, L~ & a friend sitting [where else?] on the deck, eating dinner while I am sitting on the floor, struggling to build an IKEA chair.  I am using my thighs to close the folding chair just so, in order to line up the holes on 3 different pieces…

Me:  Ugh.  I cannot get this thing into the hole!  It just won’t line up!

L~:  Heh heh.  That’s what she said.

[both girls, plus mom, snicker]

Whaaaa?  She’s 11!!

____________________________________

* This is a new freedom for us.  The girls are now old enough that we can just, on a whim, get up and leave the house.  S~ was watching a movie with a friend in the living room, and L~ had gone out to see a play with our across-the-street neighbor.  It is quite lovely.

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