Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A deck is changing my life

I bought my house, circa 1922, almost 20 years ago and have always joked I bought it for the front porch, which is wonderful and spacious, partly roofed. I grow herbs and other plants on its wide concrete railings and have served many a glass of wine and dinners out there. I've long been a proponent of front porches, arguing that you are part of the neighborhood on the porch--people walk by, wave and greet you. You can see a wild variety of dogs--tonight we saw a man walking three dogs and a cat--no, the cat was not on a leash.
But the thought of a deck in the back of the house lingered in my mind. I kept it in the back of my mind because the yard was essentially a dog yard, devoid of deliberate beautification, thanks to dogs and the city who dug it up for a sewer line and replaced old flourishing plants with small news ones which the male dogs I had at the time promptly killed by peeing on them.
But then Elizabeth moved into my guest house and began to put flowers and statues around the corner of her little house, bird feeders in the trees, and then a table and chairs in the back under the trees. The idea of a deck looked better. (Someone said the other night they heard she told me to build a deck; she was appalled and explained she doesn't "tell" me to do anything!) I talked to the contractors who keep my house together, and we sashayed around the idea until I asked, "Which one of us is not talking about the deck," and they said, "Not us!"
The results is I have a beautiful deck, 10 x 12, just the right size for my yard, with one of those toppings that will never weather, and my children bought a table and six matching chairs for my birthday. We had a grand party Saturday night, and Sunday morning I read the paper, with coffee, on the deck and talked to the son and daughter-in-law who spent the night (they sent their children with all the other cousins to my daughter's house--so peaceful). I have been having supper out there, a drink, reading, and just sitting. And I love it. It's quiet and peaceful, and close to the kitchen.
The effect on my dog Sophie is great--she can be out there with us, which she can't on the front porch because she'd go exploring the world at a fast clip. And whereas I've always had trouble getting her in late at night after her final potty outing, I've now learned to go sit on the deck, enjoy the quiet, and wait for her to come to me, which she does fairly quickly. Much less frustration for me.
My oldest son told someone Saturday night that in all the years I've lived here he's never hung out in the back yard (he and his brother lived in the guest house at first) and now he loved it.
I think my way of life will change, all because of a deck.

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