Posted tagged ‘decks’

“I’m painting a blue square in my backyard. So that Google Earth thinks I have a pool.”

July 16, 2015

Glorious is the perfect description for today. The brightly shining sun is framed by a lovely blue sky. The breeze is strong and the humidity has disappeared. It will be in the 70’s. I can hear the deck whispering my name.

Most houses around here have decks. At night I can hear people talking. One of my neighbors at the other end of the street has a distinct laugh, and when those neighbors have company, I can hear that laugh all the way down the street from their deck. When I was a kid, nobody had decks. Some people had brick patios but not in my neighborhood. On my bike rides I’d see them in the backyards of houses. Most had a table, chairs and an umbrella, sold in stores as patio sets. My backyard had a clothes line and a hill. When my father barbecued, we’d eat inside. It didn’t seem at all strange. That’s what everyone did.

Even when we moved to our own house, we didn’t do much outside. My parents bought a few webbed lawn chairs and a chaise lounge for the backyard, but I seldom spent any time out there. When my dad cooked, he’d pull over one of the chairs. We still ate inside.

After they moved off cape, my dad spent more time outside where he’d sit to drink his coffee and read the newspaper. Once when their living room furniture was being redone, my dad brought the chaise lounge to the living room, and it became his spot to watch TV. Their backyard was filled with mosquitos so my sister would sit on the lawn chairs in the front on the grass. Those were the days when the darker the tan the more impressive it was.

My house when I bought it had a farmer’s deck, and I found the perfect size small table with two chairs so I could sit outside, but I really wanted a huge deck. I got my wish. This deck is as long as the back of my house. It has two sets of stairs and at one end is what I call the dining room and at the other end is the living room. I love my deck, and I need to finish here so I can get outside. I’ve got a good book and some limeade. I’m set for the day.

” It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

June 1, 2012

After the heat and humidity of yesterday in particular, today feels a might chilly. The sun is shining but there is a breeze, and the temperature is only 64°.

I love weekday mornings as they are always so quiet. The only sounds are the birds and an occasional car driving by. My get ready for summer activities are almost complete. All the deck window boxes are filled with herbs and the clay pots have flowers. The vegetable garden is full; a few squashes took the empty spaces. The deck has been swept for about the fourth time, and the only cleaning left is the table and a few spots on the chairs. I need to get tubing for my fountain then I can start it running. Once that is done the pageantry can begin. The final pieces will be taken to the deck to assume their rightful spots. First will come the plastic flamingo dressed for summer in its hula skirt and lei. Then the very last piece will be brought from his winter quarters. With flags and triumphant music accompanying this move, out will come the gnome, the Travelocity gnome, who will sit prominently on the deck by the fountain looking like a complete Ozymandias without the sneer. Then and only then can the deck season begin!

Tomorrow my friends Michelle and John will arrive. They live in Ohio and are driving here touring as they come. Michelle and I were in the Peace Corps together. I sometimes stayed with her in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, on my way north. I always felt like Country Mouse visiting City Mouse. I remember taking a shower in her apartment and finding two faucets: one was for hot water. I was amazed. She had hot water all the time with the turn of a faucet. My hot shower lasted until the flow of water in the pipes warmed by the sun was gone. I always tried to wash my hair under the warmed water as the first blast of cold water on my head was always a shock even though I knew what to expect. Michelle came to Bolga once, and her memory is of being wet from her shower and lying on the bed under the ceiling fan hoping to feel even the tiniest bit of a cool breeze. I always took my shower just before bed, never toweled off and went to bed still soaked from the shower. It was easier that way to fall asleep in the heat.

When I went back to Ghana last summer, I understood Michelle and the heat, but air conditioning had come to Bolga; however, I still didn’t have hot water. That came in a bucket.

“I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they now do.”

August 13, 2011

Being on the deck is tranquil. The neighbors left a day early, yesterday, and the only sounds I hear now are the birds, an occasional barking dog and the burbling of the fountain. Gracie is asleep in the shade at the corner of the deck. It is her favorite spot. She is stretched out along side the deck rail. I’m under the umbrella as the sun is warm, and here I can feel the breeze without the heat. Last night got cold, close the window in the den cold. I was up until the wee hours watching the Red Sox play Seattle. I just wasn’t tired and figured I might as well watch the game. They won.

August is spider month. My house is filled with webs. I clear them, and they return the next day in the same spots. Baby spiders are everywhere. I feel like a character from the end of Charlotte’s Web. I don’t like to kill spiders as I figure the bugs they catch and eat are for my benefit too, but I hate all the cobwebs. Miss Havisham, however, would feel quite at home.

Only once have I ever run into someone from my hometown here on the Cape. She and I graduated from St. Patrick’s together, and she recognized me right away, and I her. She was always the tallest girl in our classes from about the sixth grade through the eighth when we graduated. That was not a good thing as almost all the boys were shorter. She used to walk stooped a bit to minimize her height. Girls, when I was growing up, had little power and were considered lesser than boys in most things. I remember being told my friends and I couldn’t use any of the basketball courts on the school playground at recess. They were for the boys. It didn’t matter that we played CYO basketball. We were girls.

Expectations for behavior were quite different. Boys could be boisterous and playful; girls were expected to be more demure, at least in mixed company. Girls were never forward, not the right sort of girls. We were trained to sit always with our knees together though it was acceptable to cross our ankles and our legs, modestly when it came to the legs. It didn’t matter if we were wearing jeans or dresses. Gloves, especially white ones, were part of every young lady’s dressy ensemble. I remember a pair of mine with a pearl button on each glove to close it at the top.

When I was in Ghana, we had to wear dresses all the time as only yama yama girls wore pants. They were not the good girls. They were the ones with street corner evening jobs.

I couldn’t wear pants to classes in college until a freezing winter my sophomore year when permission was given for us to wear them, a humanitarian move. That opened the door, and it never closed.

“Celebrate Summer – Sun drenched days and starlit nights…”

June 28, 2011

Yesterday was the perfect day-sunny with a little breeze. Today is the same. I sat on the deck with my coffee and papers and chatted with my sister. Gracie played with her rubber chicken.

My company has gone to P-Town to sail on a whale watch. As tonight is movie night and I have a dinner to prepare, I stayed home. We’re having Thai Shrimp, chicken, a light lasagna and a couple of new recipes I’ve wanted to try. Muhammara is one of the appetizers-it’s a crowd favorite. I’m also trying something with dried figs, fruit and cheese. I have only the shrimp to buy.

It’s fun making new foods, and I don’t do it for myself. Tonight they’ll be six of us.  We’ll eat before the movie-yet to chosen.

Last night we went to a baseball game, a Cape Cod League game. It was a great night for baseball with warm temperatures and an occasional breeze. The games are fun to watch. The players are good, and we saw a pick-off at second and a home run. I love the sounds of baseball: the cracks of the bats and the thwumps as balls hit gloves, especially the catcher’s mitt. In the bleachers to the right of us, I noticed every time one of the pitchers threw the baseball, radar guns appeared. There must have been six or seven of them. The men would check the speed of the ball then write it down. Scouts, we all figured.

I have now a list of daily chores. I fill the oriole feeders, water the deck flowers and fill the fountain. Gracie thinks it’s her personal water fountain and drinks it dry a couple of times a day even though she has an outside water dish. I figure it’s because the fountain is exactly the right height for her and the water is constantly moving.

The yard was filled with fireflies last night. Colorado has none so my brother-in-law watched them for a while and so did I. Watching fireflies never becomes boring.

I’m looking forward to tonight. Having dinner and a movie on the deck is one of the great pleasures of summer, and best of all, we have ice cream for dessert!

“Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.”

May 3, 2011

Today is spring on Cape Cod, cool and sunny with a cloudy deep blue sky. Skip, my factotum, is here which is why I’m late. I have a day’s worth of stuff for him to do, and I was out on the deck for a long while with him explaining all the different chores. He took the covers off the furniture while we chatted and seeing the furniture again has made me itchy for warm days on the deck with a good book in hand. We checked the umbrellas to make sure they’d light. They did and then Skip started the fountain. My backyard haven is almost there, almost my summer paradise again. I can hardly wait to see all the candles hanging from the trees and lighting up the night.

When I was in elementary school, we had a May procession every year. We’d practice our songs in class until we knew all the words by heart. On that special day we wore our Sunday best. The second graders wore their first communion white dresses and suits. We were lined up by grade,  youngest to oldest. Walking at the end of the procession was the girl who would crown the statue of Mary in the grotto beside the church. We marched around the block from the school to the grotto. The block was a square and the procession ended almost at the same spot where it had started. Parents with Brownie cameras lined the route. You could hear names being called so pictures could be snapped. We walked as if we were in prayer with our hands in front. The nuns walked beside their classes making sure there was no talking between the songs. We managed to talk anyway. I remember when I was little I’d check out the crowds looking for my parents. The religious significance of the day was totally lost on me. When I was in the eighth grade, I did the crowning. I remember people snapping pictures of me on the route as I walked by them. I think I may have even posed a little. At the grotto, I had to climb a set of stairs and then put the crown on the statue. I was wearing my neighbor’s wedding dress, and I almost tripped on the train, but I managed to get up and down those stairs without falling, a major accomplishment for me. I remember the day was sunny, warm and beautiful.

“My neighbor has a circular driveway… he can’t get out. “

July 17, 2010

The back of my shirt is already soaked from sweat. I was working on the deck sweeping it, washing away evidence of birds dropping small gifts, watering the plants, cleaning the fountain and wiping the table. I’ve stopped to dry off a bit and write then I need to go fill the bird feeders and bring up the projector table and the popcorn machine. Tonight is movie night. The main feature is Casablanca, one of my all time favorite films. We’ll start our viewing with a cliffhanger, Gene Autry and The Phantom Empire.

The day is already far too humid to be comfortable. Once I’ve finished my pre-hosting chores, I’ll shower then sit on the deck and read. I’ll languidly turn the pages, sip my lemonade and eat bon bons.

My neighborhood is quiet this morning. I don’t hear a single lawn mower, unusual for a Saturday. Maybe the whole neighborhood is on their decks turning pages and eating bon bons.

Nobody had decks when I was a kid. The older houses had front porches. A few houses had brick patios, and I always thought they were the rich people. We had a small backyard which we shared with the neighbors so we spent our time on the side lawn where we used to run through the sprinkler then lie on our towels to dry. Two trees sat side by side on that lawn. They were fir trees and not very big. Once, when I went back to see the house, I was surprised to see how tall those trees had grown. They dwarfed the yard.

We knew our neighbors better back then. I knew the names of all the families up and down my street and the streets around. Their kids and I played together, and our parents socialized. They’d sit in the backyard on lawn chairs, have a few drinks and talk and laugh. Nobody needed an invitation. It was bring a chair and sit down. That doesn’t happen anymore.

I love my deck, but it insulates me. I sit on it in the back of my house oblivious to who goes by pushing a carriage or walking a dog. Nobody drops by to visit. Nobody joins me except by invitation. It’s the way of the world now.