Sometimes I make things harder on myself than need be; the more difficult route seems to call my name. Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon and most of the evening working on my patio. I’ve had visions in my head of a cozy place to sit outside and relax. Easy enough right? Well, apparently my visions have expensive taste. The furniture I pictured, well, let’s just say, was slightly out of my already-tight budget.
Plan B. Wooden pallets. I watch too much HGTV and peruse Pinterest too much. The wheels in my head start churning and I mentally start making all these plans to do this and that without really thinking through how I will actually do this and that. Searching “wooden pallet projects” on Pinterest is like opening the DYI’ers closet of dreams. I thought to myself, “I’ve used pallets successfully in the past so why not again?”
This time however, the pallets seemed heavier and bigger. After lugging them up a hill and onto my patio, I had trouble moving them around. Their sizes were slightly different, they weren’t conforming to the idea in my head and I was one short. I flipped them, moved them around and finally decided other things had to be changed on the patio first, which lead to digging up the flower bed, potting a gardenia and moving the table. Finally able to get the pallets into a configuration that worked, they had to be sanded; they were a splintery mess. As I sanded and the sweat dripped from my nose, I thought about my last experience with pallets. Conveniently, I had not recalled the work that went into it. I just remembered how pleased I was when it was completed. I sanded some more, stopped to pull out a splinter and mumbled to myself, “Should have just plopped some patio furniture on the credit card, ugh.”
Back aching and getting a little sunburned, I was finally ready to paint; just plain white and only the parts that showed. At this point, I wasn’t going for perfection. “I’ll shoot for the bohemian, shabby look…”
Painting complete, I spent the next 10 minutes scrubbing paint off my hands and arms. I’m a messy painter. Then I moved potted plants around from here to there and fiddled with the table trying to get it to sit correctly in the now defunct flower bed. “Great, now I need to get pavers so the table will sit level.”
I had intended to get this far and stop for the day; I would go later in the week to buy cushions. However, when I get on a roll, I can’t sit until it’s done. So, at 6:00 pm I headed out to buy cushions. I found some on sale and considered what sizes would work best. I shopped around and found some solar lanterns on sale (I have a thing for lanterns) and headed home. Anxious to see how they looked, I didn’t even go inside first. I pulled them out and started placing them and of course something wasn’t quite right. Now 8:00 pm, I headed back to the store, returning one cushion and buying three others. They worked. Finally, the cozy little area I had hoped for was reality. Tired, bruised, back aching, I took a deep breath and exhaled. Except for some tweaking I will no doubt do later, I was done and it looked pretty damn good.
Yes, my frugality and my “sure, I can do that” attitude may kill me one day, but I doubt the feeling of accomplishment would have been there had I just gone out and bought the standard patio furniture. There aren’t many things I do on a daily basis that make me feel accomplished. Like most people, my job is just that, a job. It pays the bills. I love the people I work with, but I push paper all day and stare at a computer. There’s no creative process. Maybe I subconsciously look for projects that challenge me a bit. I use my brain and my hands to create something. I have something to show for my day of work. Do I bite off more than I can chew sometimes? Well, all I can say is every project I’ve started, from tiling a back splash to faux painting a living room with a vaulted ceiling, I’ve completed. It’s an awesome feeling saying, “Yes, I did that.”
Now.. If I just had power tools….