Thursday, June 3, 2010

My favorite room

When I picture my mom at her most relaxed, I see her sitting on the deck of my parents house, her feet propped up on the rail, as she reads a book, a glass of  iced tea sweating nearby. She has always said the deck is her favorite room in the house.
It's one of my favorite places too. My parent's deck is large, with two seating areas and multiple levels. My dad built it himself in time for my high school graduation party. It's shaded by the tall trees that fill the backyard and provide a nice canopy. When I lived at home, the deck was a place to go to read a book, talk on the phone or just enjoy silence. Somehow meals outside on the deck are more memorable, perhaps because are fewer distractions.

Chris bought our current house five years ago and soon after brought me by to check it out. I toured the kitchen, the living room, the garage, and then he took me into the backyard. In that moment, I remember feeling for the first time like, "I could live here." The rest of the house was empty and needed some work. But when I saw the backyard, I just saw it's potential. I imagined what it would be like to throw parties in the backyard, grow a garden or lay on a blanket for a picnic.

It's a shady, mostly flat yard, with the exception of a rather jarring decline on one side that would be perfect for a slip and slide. It's not so great for mowing and makes that whole portion of the yard unusable.
It was the one, obvious flaw that stuck out to me.
"It would be a good place for a deck," Chris said, and we talked about the tpossibilities. Remove the three aluminum windows from the dining room, put in a sliding door, build a deck to cover up the slope.
It sounded so easy at the time.
Five years later, we've replaced those windows, drawn up plans and are now in the process of building a deck. And when I say we, I mean Chris spent hours reading books about deck building, consulting experts (guys at the hardware store, my dad), and making meticulous designs that even the St. Louis County Department of Public Works workers were impressed with.

This past weekend we started in earnest. My dad came over and helped Chris put up the ledger board on the house and the two of them used a power auger to drill 2 1/2 foot holes for the deck posts. Most nights during the past week, Chris has been using a shop vac to get the dirt out of the bottom of those holes. This is necessary, apparently, because the County inspectors don't allow dirt at the bottom of dirt holes. Go figure.
The slope makes it even more challenging, but Chris has been up to the challenge.  He has been persistent in figuring out answers, and making plans. He works at his own pace, which is slow and steady. But I am so glad I have a husband who is careful and thorough and willing to get his hands dirty to make our home a better place.
I've decided I have to chronicle the process. I want to always remember the creation of what will likely be my favorite room in the house.

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