Today was “Be Glad You Have a Deck” day in the Common Household.
For starters, the weather was gorgeous. After dropping Youngest Daughter off at a bat mitzvah, the Husband and I headed to the Home Improvement store for mulch, deck stain and a toilet seat, because those things are necessary for our own daughter’s bat mitzvah.
People generally know that to chant Torah, the bat mitzvah student must spend years studying. What people don’t know is that to prepare the Common Household for the bat mitzvah event, a jillion things need to be fixed. We feel compelled to paint the front door, seal the deck, replace the toilet seat in the children’s bathroom, and weed the garden regularly. Today was our day to start these tasks.
When we got home I said to my Son, “Here is your project. Install this in your bathroom,” and pointed to the new toilet seat. He looked at the picture on the box and said, “Why do we need a new toilet?” I told him it was a toilet seat, not a toilet, but I did not stick around to hear his objections. Of course, he paid no attention to his assignment, despite the fact that he has the Plumbing merit badge, and instead went back into his room.
I asked my husband if he wanted my help painting the deck. He said, “It’s up to you. If you want to help, it would be fine with me. But there is one rule. No complaining.” I accepted this supreme challenge because otherwise I would have to weed the hillside, and I am very afraid of weeding the hillside.
I put on my scungy clothes, and started brush-painting the top of the railings. “It’s really sunny out here!” I said, not complaining. I sat down to paint some wood close to the wall of the house, and said cheerfully, “It’s too hot to sit down on the deck surface!” It became clear that in order not to break the One Rule I would have to focus on the positives that would come from painting the deck with noxious substances:
- the deck won’t fall down as soon.
- fewer splinters.
- we can use the grill.
- moon-gazing from the deck on a summer night. Ahhh!
- we can entertain family after the bat mitzvah.
- the deck itself is a Developed World privilege. Having the time and energy to paint it
means that we have adequate food, shelter and safety.
- we won’t have to do this again for two years.
As we progressed, I became further grateful. My son has his driver’s license, so we sent him to buy new painting poles for the rollers when the old pole broke. I was grateful that last year’s sunscreen was still effective.
Tomorrow I must continue the bat mitzvah prep by weeding the garden. But for today, I am grateful that we have a deck. And even more grateful that we finished painting it.