The sanding began, but the weather said, “No.”
I was no more than 30 minutes into sanding the deck with my newly purchased belt sander yesterday when the rain began. It was light rain, but it was rain…not the time for sanding the deck. So, after only half an hour, I stopped. I was covered in a fine muddy-grey dust, a combination of old grey paint, taupe paint, sawdust, and metal shavings, the latter from the nail heads I’d inadvertently sanded to a sparkling shine.
Just two minutes in, I’d abandoned my efforts temporarily to find an old t-shirt to serve as a make-shift dusk mask. I had no idea there would be so much dust, nor did I realize it would be so hard to breathe without filling my lungs with the stuff. By the time the light rain began, I had sanded only ten or twelve square feet, maybe less. I have hundreds and hundreds of square feet yet to sand. But yesterday was not the day for it.
I had forgotten about our lunchtime commitment to listen to a health-related presentation after a free lunch, so it was just as well the rain started. By the time I’d discarded my dust-logged clothes and showered and shaved, it was time to leave for the event. We drove to Hot Springs, attended the event (both the meal and the presentation left me unimpressed), then did some errands: returned a woven basket that did not quite work as a decorator piece; managed to cram a 6-foot aluminum ladder I’d bought into the Camry with the rear seats folded down; and bought groceries at the only grocery store in the area we’ve found really satisfactory.
By the time we got home, the rain had long since left us and the deck was dry. But there was an ominous look to the clouds, a surly cast that suggested storms were approaching. And approaching they were. In no time, the sky became almost as dark as night and the winds began to howl. Rain, hard rain, started falling. Thunder rumbled. Lightning flashed. Thunder CRACKED! Rain blew side-ways.
The alarm on the weather radio screamed, loudly, alerting us to news about to be transmitted. Twice in less than thirty minutes the weather radio alarm sounded, warning us of severe thunderstorms, capable of producing 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts, heavy rain, and damaging hail. While I saw no hail, I think 60 MPH might have been a little on the low side; the huge oaks and elms and hickories and pines behind the house were whipping furiously during the worst of it. Flashes of lightning were like a strobe, keeping time to simultaneously deafening cracks of thunder. And then it stopped. Except for the rain. The rain continued. It was heavy, but compared to what I had just seen, it was like a spring shower.
This morning, the humidity stands at 96 percent. The temperature when I got up around 5:00 a.m. was about 68 degrees. Not a morning for more sanding, I’m afraid.
But maybe it’s a day for the Farmers’ Market…if the rain holds off and my favorite spouse is agreeable to the idea.
The forecast for tomorrow is clear and hot, as is Saturday’s forecast. But Saturday we have guests coming for an early dinner, so I can’t spend the entire day sanding…the house (and I) should be clean for them. And, considering that I’m the one who’ll be preparing the meal (seared sea scallops, spinach, and risotto, alongside steamed asparagus), I’ll have to devote more attention to the kitchen than the deck. But Sunday promises heat and clear skies, too, so maybe the work I do tomorrow and Sunday will be sufficient to allow me to paint on Monday…but, no, there’s a 60 percent chance of rain for Monday.
I will finish the deck by October. I will.