Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deck Restore

We bought our house 5 years ago, and we love many things about it. One of the horrible things, however, is the fact that the previous owners painted the wooden decks. Yes, that's right: painted. For those unfamiliar with why that would be a problem here in New York State where we have months of dark wet weather, months of frigid temperatures and snow, and months of scorching hot sun, well I'll summarize it in one word: maintenance. Oh yes, a freshly painted deck is really beautiful, but soon it becomes a peeling wreck. Combine that with the fact that I loathe painting (well, actually the surface prep more than the actual painting) and it becomes apparent why painted decks make me shiver.

So. My decks were peeling and disgusting as I have only repainted them once since moving in, about three years ago. The time had come. A couple of weeks ago my son and I repainted the black metal on alllll of the patio furniture with a satin RustOleum which really came out beautifully, despite the nightmare of using an oil-based paint with a teenager. To begin, we removed all of the furniture from the deck and painted it on the lawn, so then it made sense to suck it up and remove the fountain and all the flowers from the deck and to get scraping. We also had our patio door replaced at that same time so it just made sense follow through with everything. So here's a visual: furniture, flowers, rolled up carpet all surrounding the deck. It is chaos and getting the deck painted was the only way to relieve that chaos - good incentive to get things rolling. Then the heat wave hit. Temps near 100 plus high humidity is not only something I run indoors for but it's also not good for painting, so that delayed me until this week.

My front "deck", which is really an 8'x8' platform in front of my main entrance, seems to peel the most. The Home Depot guy told me about a product that people have been raving about - Deck Restore - and suggested I try it. It wasn't cheap, but I used it on the front deck and it looks like it will do the trick. It was a pain to apply because the roller that comes with the kit is this huge waffly thing, and the stuff splattered everywhere, but it scrapes off skin easily, and washing the roller and pan was very easy with the garden hose. It contains some sort of sand or silica, so it creates a rough and textured surface that seems like it will hold up well. I'm very pleased with the appearance, too.

From the Synta's website:
If your deck is old and ugly but still structurally sound, don't replace it. DECK RESTORE™ is a durable coating product formulated to resurface most wooden and composite decks while providing lasting protection against moisture and the damaging effects of the sun. It also provides excellent slip resistance and locks down splinters. Designed for a variety of applications, it is the most cost effective, and environmentally conscious way to revitalize wood surfaces. Available in 20 colors.

I realized I did not want to apply the same product on the back deck, though, given the application challenges, so I just scraped my heart out yesterday and gave that deck a coat of Behr paint today. I'll wait a few days to give it a second coat, but it already looks beautiful, too. My body is aching, but I am feeling like I have accomplished a lot. Hopefully my deck will be back together by mid next week, and can switch my focus from home projects to getting ready for school. Gulp.

the kit, which they say covers a 10'x10' area with 2 coats, and I think that's pretty accurate

"Timberline", the color I used
the type of RustOleum I used on the patio furniture

Monday, July 25, 2011

Post Reunion Thoughts

*You can spend years (decades!) away from true friends and immediately feel comfortable with them when you reunite. We had so many laughs!

*Mike was insanely generous to host this event at his sports bar Archer's End Zone. (find them on facebook)

*I only had a couple of early drinks and then switched to water. It was a smart move in many ways, except I overdid the water: I was up every hour during the few hours I had to sleep!

*I was disappointed my high school bff couldn't be there, but in a way that created more opportunity to spend time with folks I might have missed.

*I went to school with some really special people.

*Some of the guys are clearly working out and they look amazing.

*Parish, my hometown, and Pulaski have changed so much that I nearly didn't recognize anything.

*For the first time in many years I went by the house in which I grew up and it does not even resemble "home". Red? Really??? In a way I am glad they ruined it. It's still perfect in my memories.

*Talking to some of our teachers who were able to attend was one of the highlights for me. How sweet of them to stop by.

*The hotel was a pleasant surprise. The staff was friendly, the room was nice, the exterior had just been remodeled so it looked brand new. I was concerned about how clean my sheets were because they did not smell like bleach nor were they crisp ... did they forget to change them? ... is it just a low thread count? ... a polyester blend? .... so I was a little more eeked out than usual as even swanky hotels give me a bit of pause. So, I switched the pillow nearest the clock and lamp with the furthest one, thinking it would have been used less. Who knows, but I was so tired by the time I flopped in that I didn't care at that point.

Super Duper!
Pulaski NY is all about fishermen :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Tonight is my high school class's 25 Year Reunion, and I'm feeling a little nervous, I think. I'm not sure why -- I will know lots of people there (duh) and I know it will be interesting and fun, yet I am procrastinating about packing my bag. I think I know what I'm going to wear ... why am I writing this instead of getting my butt in gear, getting my stuff together, and heading out of here??

I wish I were 15 lbs. lighter.

I wish my husband was going (although it would be torture for him so I'm also glad he's not going).

I wish my best friend was going but she will be out of town.

I wish I didn't have to drive more than 3 hours to get there (although it beats a plane ticket).

I wish I wish I wish whatever. I'm going to post this and hit the shower.

~ Basketball Game ~
Senior Prom :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011


This song appeals to me, partly because it has an 80's flair. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Learner's Permit

It's official: I am oldish.

My son turned 16 today so we went to the NYS DMV for his Learner's Permit. It's been said that "you can hide your own age but you cannot hide your child's age" and boy is that ever true. We stopped at our church parking lot for some practice, and I have to say I was very patient and calm. Basically I went into "teacher mode" and avoided dishing sarcastic commentary, at least until he was back in the passenger seat. He did end up driving part of the way home on a quiet country road, and he really did well for his first drive.

Time is funny because I cannot believe my baby is 16, yet I also cannot really remember much about my life before he was born. I suppose someday when I am an elderly wrinkly peach-fuzzy old lady I'll be saying the same thing, about how fast time flies and how life just cruises along, especially if you don't pay attention.

I dug around for some digital pics in my files, and I found these photos of my elementary-age little boy who now towers over me. Sigh.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Zen ~ Be

"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. 
Otherwise you will miss most of your life."

pond garden and sycamore tree as seen from the deck

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fawn Twin

A doe and her twins frequent the orchard behind our house. Recently I had the honor of watching the babies nurse ... I don't think there is a more peaceful image in the universe.

The fawns are like dogs that run in circles doing what we refer to as "mad dog": they race around and play "mad fawn" while the mom just nibbles on greens. Yesterday morning I happened to have my camera so I was able to catch a shot of one of the babies when it stopped to check me out. I had to zoom, and of course I was tri-pod-less, so it's pretty blurry. How lucky am I to live where I do??

Bumble seems to think he is our guard dog, protecting us from
the horrible bunnies, birds and baby deer that dare come close to his perimeter. He's so silly.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Music Improv, Starring the Gray Catbird

We have catbirds around our yard, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I realized how beautiful their song is. I just thought they made the "meow" sound, but no: they have this cool improvisational song that never seems to repeat itself and is really impressive, at least to me.

The first time I heard the song I had to figure out who it was singing. After narrowing down the tree, my eyes scanned for what had to be some colorful bird - certainly some species I had never seen before. That's when I saw a catbird. They are pretty, but no one would consider them flashy. Regardless of appearance, their song is a lovely addition to the concert in our yard.

Gray Catbird
Dumetella carolinensis
The Catbird is named for its cat-like meow call, which is given when predators are present and during agressive encounters between birds. The Catbird's song is a long series of many phrases including imitations of other birds. The Gray Catbird is not as gifted a mimic as the Northern Mockingbird.
Habitat: Tangles, shrubbery, wood edges. Suburban and rural.

Catbird: Meow Call (image from

Catbird: Song (image from
(and I had difficulties uploading a higher quality version of this ... Blogger didn't like the large file. 'Guess I'll stick to uploading videos on YouTube in the future)

~ Audubon's Catbird ~

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Let it Be

Simply a perfect song by the Beatles. It came on the radio last night and I felt as moved as I always do when I hear it ... very few pieces of art have that kind of power over me.

Paul McCartney was inspired by his mother, Mary, who died when he was 14, although many people thought "Mother Mary" was a biblical reference when they heard it. McCartney had a dream one night when he was paranoid and anxious, and he saw his mom who had been dead for ten years or so; she came to him in his time of trouble, speaking words of wisdom. This brought him much peace when he needed it, and it was this sweet dream that got him to begin writing the song. (See this link for more details) Despite this fact, I will continue to picture the Virgin Mary. That's what makes legit art so beautiful and so powerful: you can choose your own imagery and make it your own personal experience.

Let It Be
When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the brokenhearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be

For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be

I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Yeah, let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be