July 31, 2015 by Jean
This week, I succeeded in completing two projects that have been a source of some frustration (see Solo House Projects: Pavers and Gazebos). The frustration of the screened gazebo for my back deck was that (unlike all the previous gazebos I’ve had up on the deck over the years) I couldn’t do this by myself. I wasted a month trying to hire a local handyman to help me with this; and while he kept putting me off with vague promises of “next week,” the summer was slipping away. Finally, I figured out that he didn’t have time to do the job but was just too nice to give me a firm “no.” That was when I put out a call to friends for help. Last Saturday morning, friends Karen and Rich came over to help me get the gazebo assembled and up on the deck. I did as much pre-assembly as I could, and it only took us an hour to get the frame all assembled and standing on the deck. Although I could have done the rest by myself, they insisted on staying another half-hour to help get the canopy installed (which involves climbing on ladders). It is so satisfying to have this done and to finally be able to sit out and enjoy my back garden. (I’ve been having breakfast in the gazebo every day.)
The frustration of my paving stone project was not that I couldn’t do it myself but that I had to do it myself! Two months and 220 paving stones after I began, the job is done; and I have four walkways and a patio to show for my efforts. I’m glad I set myself an end-of-July deadline to finish this job because it kept me motivated to work through the hot, sticky weather of the past week. Late this afternoon, just under the wire of my deadline, I put the last paving stone in place, swept sand into the crevices of the last walkway, finished the last pea-stone decorative band, and put my tools away. Now that I’m done, I need to get out the weed-whacker and knock down all the weeds that surround my lovely stone-laying job.
The real satisfaction of completing this job is that it paves the way (pun intended) for beginning my new front garden. Next week, I can begin digging and planting four flower beds that will border these paved areas. That will take me another two months and will be just as physically demanding as laying paving stones – but I find the creative work of making gardens much more emotionally satisfying.