Our deck was not my late husband’s finest hour. I do not want to affix blame here, because he did do the job and I did not help, but the paint has not worn well. So this summer I am scraping my deck by hand because the old paint has come off in quite a few places – I have to make sure that what is left won’t peel when it is painted again. My deck cannot be stained because the wood is in bad shape, so it needs to be painted with special paint for old decks. Right now I am just trying to get it ready to paint.
I considered buying a paint stripper, but decided I did not want to deal with messy chemicals and could handle the job myself, with a lot of elbow grease. It is so difficult, however, that I can only work about an hour before I am exhausted. And I must work in the morning, when there is no sun, now that our weather has turned hot and humid. I showed the deck to my handyman (I have a handyman!) but he politely refused to do the scraping, reminding me that it would cost me a lot of money for him to do that. He is waiting in the wings to do the painting. As I scrape, I must confess that I love it when I find a patch that peels way up the board. The pleasures of peeling!
To keep my mind occupied while I scrape, I sometimes sing old favorite songs, or hymns. Some of the words to those hymns come right out of the Bible, and I feel like I am praying when I sing them. Sometimes I talk to God while engaged in this mindless work. To date I have not heard back from Him/Her but that doesn’t mean I won’t.
Here is another thought I had while scraping:
I have been thinking about all the little steps it takes to become the person I want to be, and how I am still trying. Each time I do a kind thing it makes it easier to do it the next time. My first inclination is still toward my own needs before I can do the right thing, however, or even imagine it. So maybe it would help to not care so much. Or maybe I do care about something, but it really doesn’t matter. I can care but I can keep it to myself. How much does it matter? is a question I need to ask myself. I guess what I am saying is, I need to get away from myself. If I can stop worrying about getting my needs met, I can be more accessible to others. That’s a tall order.
I try to think positive thoughts while I scrape. I imagine how nice the deck will look when it’s freshly painted, and how I will enjoy entertaining then. Or I think about my future travels, this summer with my sister, this fall with my daughter. I solve problems in my mind by talking them out with myself. I talk out loud to myself so much these days I am afraid I will get caught in the supermarket debating the merits of one vegetable over another!
As far as my deck project goes, I always keep in mind that this task has a finite end and then give myself the pep talk: I can do this! There will be more unpleasant jobs in my future, I suspect, but that doesn’t matter. I am just grateful that I am healthy enough to do it. Good for me!