Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Making the most of every inch...

We live in a townhouse. It's a nice townhouse, we have quiet friendly neighbors, and it's on a dead-end street that leads to a secret path and a field full of blackberry treasure and winter adventure walks. Someday we'll have a place with actual space around it, maybe a few acres to grow some food and build a treehouse or two. For now, it's awfully nice to never mow a lawn or worry about leaving our house empty with all our travels.

So, all that aside: it is feeling tiny lately. I wonder how well it will function with another little set of feet running around. I have always wanted the boys to be able to play outside but because our unit is at the entrance driveway of the complex, it's not possible for them to play freely in front.

The back, well, the back has been like this for 8 years:
This is actually the tidied-up version.
There were spider webs from the 80's up in there,
little spider VCRs plugged and set to record Cheers.

Hey, if you look past OUR deck, you can see that the neighbor's is pretty cute. 
That HOA-provided bark mulch on the ground is the stickery kind (that's my Eeyore voice right there).
So doing something with the porch has been a theme conversation in our house since the first day we walked through it. At one point when the boys were littler we had a rocket-shaped chicken-wire fort dug into the dirt. Another year we had a sand bin, but two year-old Isaac would not stop eating by the shovel-full it so we threw that out. After that, it pretty much became a lousy unused space for close to 3 years. Every once in a while I would raise my head, grumble a bit about it sucking back there, then get distracted and not do anything to make it better.

This summer, with a new kid coming to our space, I am finding my need to make every inch count has finally spurred me to action. Lots of action. I mean, I cleaned out the whole pantry cabinet, our big living room sideboard, re-did part of our homeschool. People, I taught the boys how to alphabetize using our whole kids dvd collection as the practice zone. I'm a little obsessed. The nesting has pushed out into the porch rather than into a specific room for her since she'll probably start out in our room anyway.

So adding to the chairs and an umbrella we had bought (but never put in a holder or raised), I found a cute outdoor rug at Walmart and a few other fun things at TJ Maxx.

The main porch is just about complete, and we have been using it every night. This is a great thing, a new space! Isaac in particular loves being out here.

I figured it was as good as it would get, since the part of the yard off the deck is a dirty weedy stickery mess slowly being washed away by lousy gutters when it rains. Then yesterday I made a great find at IKEA: they have plastic snap-together decking in packs of 9 for $25. It turns out I could have gotten away with one pack, but having two makes the space look better/larger.

Now that it's on the internet I realize the pattern is
not in keeping with my usual OCD tendencies.
And I'm not going to fix it. Well, not tonight, anyway. 

Those of you concerned with physics and flammable objects should know we haven't actually lit the BBQ in around 4 years so the ridiculously overgrown shrub and our A/C intake is in no danger... yet. I am thinking of ripping out the sadly hollow-backed bush (take that, Gwen Stefani!) so we can put the bbq in its spot and actually, y'know, cook stuff on it. Maybe we could even cultivate some grown-people friends to invite over. Anything is possible.

Clowns added for size comparison.

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