Russ arrived at 9 o’clock Saturday morning. As I had done nearly every single weekend since March, and Russ probably a dozen or more times himself, we set about working on the deck. It started out just like so many deck-building days before it: drag tools out of the garage, review goals for the day, laugh mightily at naive ambition, reduce goals by 70%, commence sweating.
Over the course of this project, we learned it is best to accomplish as much work as possible before 1PM. The reason for this should be fairly obvious. The rear of Tall Brown faces East and is heavily wooded. During the morning, it is actually quite pleasant in the backyard. However, at approximately 1PM during the summer, the sun comes over the trees, and you suddenly realize how all of those poor ants and G.I. Joes felt under the terror of your magnifying glass.
I started this project in early March (March 6th, but who’s counting) specifically so it would be finished before the weather became Georgiarific. I thought it would probably take all of March and a couple weekends in April. Rather than have me do all of the work for you, please look at today’s date on a calendar and insert your own joke about my life. I’ll wait.
Seriously, it has been so hot out there I just want to crawl into a storm sewer and weep softly. Many days I wore only gym shorts and shoes while I worked. Yes, gross. This was my routine while installing the actual deck boards:
Armed with this knowledge, Russ and I hit it hard right when he arrived. The job for the day was to install the 2×2 balusters on the railing. There were a helluva lot of them (204 total, but who’s counting), and, while I wanted to get them all installed that day, I also knew this step could drag into the following day. You know, just like every single step before it.
We worked hard (and smart), and around 11:30AM, something very strange happened.
The deck was finished.
Wait, what? I mean, I know the system we designed for measuring, cutting, spacing, and attaching the balusters was genius, and it allowed us to knock out one baluster every ten seconds or so, but that’s it? Just like that?
The finish line kind of came out of nowhere, and it’s passing was actually rather anticlimactic. Russ held the last baluster in place against our brilliantly designed spacing mechanism (a 2×4), I fired the final two nails–POP! sssss POP! sssss, and all of a sudden it was like, Oh, hey, the deck’s done. Huh, I guess you’re right. Neat.
Naturally, there is a list of outstanding tasks that still need to be completed before I can really get to work burying this project deep in my subconscious, but the construction part is OVER and not a day too soon. Next Saturday, August 6th, would have marked the 5-month anniversary of demolishing the old deck. Turns out I am more sensitive about this than even I might have realized. Earlier today, Gia was saying something about something, probably using the really low, dumb voice she uses to impersonate me, and she finished a comment about the deck with, “Yeah, and now it’s August,” to which I snapped, “IT IS NOT AUGUST. IT IS JULY. TODAY IS JULY 31st.”
Leave it on the court, Tony.