While most people spent their summer lounging, swimming, grilling or texting, I spent my stay-cation working — and I mean working.
All those little home projects that accumulated for the last few years finally met their match when I decided to go mano-y-mano.
The first project was a sunroom/back porch makeover. My dear momma, an absolute genius, had the wisdom 35 years ago to add a 10’x15’ enclosed porch to the north side of our house. It’s genius because it blocks out those freezing Blue Northern winds. But after three decades it was in need of an upgrade. I painted the walls white and then put in new indoor/outdoor carpeting in a medium beige.
Next came Venetian blinds on all four windows followed by new curtains. I furnished it with a round bistro table and chair and a walker exercise machine for my daily indoor stroll. Project numero uno done!
Installing new bathroom flooring was pretty easy since it’s a small bathroom. I opted for something different, not tile or linoleum, but the interlocking rubber tiles that you can put anywhere — in living rooms, hallways, etc. So, why not my little bathroom?
I chose the marble pattern and had to cut out a few shapes around the commode base and vanity, but no problem. And it’s so soft to step on. Ding dong, project number two was complete.
Feeling invigorated, I tackled the great outdoors, or my backyard. My house sits on a slope, so the west sidewalk, about 30 feet long, always floods when it rains and dirt pools on it, making it muddy; impassable.
After 35 years, enough was enough. I edged the heck out of it, including by hand, making a 2-inch-wide by 1-inch-deep trench along the entire sidewalk. Next, I put edging stones in the trench, making a mini dam to hold back the water and dirt.
Behind the stones, I added solar lights so the sidewalk is visible at night. The first test came last month when it rained for several days, and, lo and behold, the dam held! No more muddy sidewalk. Check off another task.
The last project was the toughest — an outdoor patio. I decided to follow the length of the porch, 15 feet, but only eight feet wide. I made a brick outline of that size and laid weed cloth at the bottom. After multiple trips to a garden center, I filled the space with a combination of red mulch and decorative stone, including a brick pad area for the grill.
Of course, I need a place to sit, so I added two mesh lawn chairs and a small waterproof table. Topping it all off is a white and green umbrella for shade. Number four done.
There you have it, my 2017 summer — a ton of work and two tons of sweat, plus about $1,000, but worth every bruise, backache, blister and penny.
My little hacienda is darn near perfect, and I hope to enjoy it for many years from the cushy bathroom floor, to cozy sunroom and dry, lit sidewalk to sipping morning coffee on the shaded patio.
Val Valdez is a Herald correspondent.