Sunday, August 13, 2017

Not all hands on deck

We built a deck.

Let me correct that: we had a deck built. I had nothing to do with any hammering or digging or measuring. My job was to say what I wanted and pick out colors. My job was actually to decide to go ahead and build a deck at all. After that, I was pretty useless. Tim is the hero of this story.

We’ve lived in our house for 28 years. The concrete patio has been crumbly and broken for a while, but we’ve gotten by. Mostly, we don’t use it. Tim would say, “The stairs need work. I keep repairing them, but they need more work. We have to decide what to do about the patio.” I’d look but couldn’t decide where I’d want a deck, where there’d be the most sun, what about over there, and it always got too complicated.

But this summer, after visiting a friend’s deck, I said, “I’m ready for us to build a deck.” In Barbara language, that might have meant next year (and the us is definitely an inaccurate pronoun). In Tim language, it means decide on a design tomorrow, pick out materials, hire a contractor – can he start Monday?

He’s my husband – you can’t have him!

First off, he rented a jackhammer to break up the old, crumbly patio. He and Dillon, our friend’s son, banged away and hauled the rubble to the front of the house.

Tim loaded the truck. When it was all carted off to the dump, it was 16,000 POUNDS of concrete.
I’m keeping him!

When Lance, our marvelous, master-craftsman, deck builder, dug out the Sonotubes, he unearthed giant boulders. My job was to put them on Craig’s List and wait for everyone to fight over our free rocks. They did.
The deck is mostly finished. It’s spectacular. Friends say it will change my life. My Third Third life is going to involve spending a lot of time on that deck. It’s so sturdy that I figure in an earthquake, the deck will keep the house standing.

The lawn is littered with lumber that I wouldn’t let Lance or Tim haul away because it can be recycled. My friend Connie said it would be a crime not to recycle it, but Connie and I can be a bad influence on each other that way, and it’s not lying around on her lawn. If worse comes to worst, I’ll go back on Craig’s List.
Tim sorted the lumber for me, but I’m waiting for it to dry so it won’t get my car wet. Yesterday, he said, “I’ve ordered a load of topsoil to fill in the patio hole. They’ll be here in the morning.”

“Now?!” I panicked. “What’s the rush? We’ll have a pile of dirt that’ll turn into mud. I still have to dig up the baby tree that I’m donating. Why do you have to rush things?”

“Because I have to get seeding started to put the lawn back together. I’ve already found a kid to help me move the dirt.”

Just now, I looked out the window. The topsoil is raked and spread over the torn up spots. It’s done.

I can hear my friends yelling, “Yay! We’re on Team Tim!”

Now I have my big job: planning the deck warming party. It’s a little problematic because of the forecast for rain. I’m trying to dawdle a little to see what the weather does. Eventually, I’ll have to get around to finding some deck furniture. That’ll take some research.

How odd this is! I usually think of myself as a get-it-done, make-it-happen mover (who often has to prod her husband), but I’ve clearly been just watching from the peanut gallery while Tim handles, hauls, sweats, and gets dirty. It’s good to have our identities messed with a little, to reevaluate ourselves, to let a marriage shift around and rebalance itself. A little disconcerting, but interesting. I have to hope all my laziness is just premature deck lounging, but I’m thinking each of us just has different speeds depending on our different talents. (I wonder if Tim would accept this generous analysis.)

This deck is a gift for our Third Third, and I hope it means more enjoyment, socializing, and relaxation. I hope that every time I sit on it, eat on it, or lounge on it; I’ll remember whose sweat made it possible.

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