My approach to home projects is to think about them for several years and then suddenly burst forth with a flurry of work, seemingly out of no-where. Such is the case with my arch nemesis, my back deck. I think about it... sizing it up... figuring out the scope... the hurdles.. the necessary equipment. And then without warning I stormed the beaches and began ripping the old one apart. "When did you decide to do that?" my daughter asked. "2006" I answered truthfully.
The problem with fix it projects is that they never take the course that you think they will. In my mind, it was a simple process of replacing the decking. A weekend project, at best. Up it comes, down it goes... and voila. A new deck on which to drink my Mojitos.
But when I ripped down the railing.. I realized how bad the wood was. Rotten. The hardware rusted almost throughout. So that would need to be redone as well adding an extra week the timeline.
Then came the footers... which were now in the wrong place to do what I needed to do with the new railing. So now I'm digging three foot holes in my backyard to pull the current cement footers out to be replaced and swearing under my breathe.
The wife comes by to tell me that the backyard looks like "White Trash Ville" and suggests that maybe we should get an old car on blocks back there to complete the set.
All fix it projects are the same. Even self-fix-it programs. You start in one place... with one goal... but as you pull out the roots and memories and past transgressions in one area... you realize that whole other pieces of you are rotten through as well. And so we leave it all well enough alone, knowing that someday it could all collapse, the rotten wood and rusted hardware finally giving up the ghost. It takes enormous effort to undertake any of these projects. They are physically and emotionally wearing. There is a risk that I will get caught in a never ending process of tearing down and rebuilding... and will become a permanent Casa De la Basura Blanca. On the other hand... the reverse is also a risk... leaving well enough alone will result in a shaggier, rotten version of myself that will eventually collapse.
I suppose we all collapse in the end. But the process of taking down and rebuilding better than before is rewarding. Yes... it is exhausting. But the longer you wait the more there is to work on.
For now... I will finish my deck. Then I will sit on it and drink my drinks... and ponder what to work on next. The list of possibilities is endless.
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