I spent some time in Lowe’s yesterday afternoon. My primary purpose in going was to buy some hummingbird feeder hangers laced with permethrin; ants seem to adore the sugar-water mixture I prepare for the tiny flying dinosaurs and the little hangers seem to keep the insects at bay.
The other purpose was to investigate screen and spline. The screen on our back porch is laden with pollen that, despite power-washing and soap, I cannot get off. In addition, the fiberglass screen has been stretched beyond recovery. So, I need to replace the screen and spline. But as I looked at the options on aisle 18 in Lowe’s, I noticed pieces of metal and plastic that seem intended to replace parts on screens and post columns. None of them would be useful to me, but seeing them made me think: should I clean and paint the columns and cross-pieces on the porch? The white paint on the aluminum porch superstructure is chalky and badly marred. It needs something. Cleaning and paint, I say. And so I explored my options.
First, I need to clean the superstructure. Really clean it. As in, get all the chalk off the aluminum. Then, I need to sand the cleaned superstructure, clean it again, and then apply a self-etching primer, followed by at least one coat of paint. I’m thinking a nice light charcoal paint would improve the appearance dramatically and would coordinate well with the dark charcoal screen I intend to buy. My guess is that I would need to spend about $200 on paint and supplies just to get the superstructure in good shape. Then, I’ll need to spend another $200 (maximum) on screen and spline and related tools and supplies. So, for about $400 I should be able to make the porch look decent again. But then there’s the labor. My labor. A lot of it. In an ideal world, I’d be able to call a friend or two or three to help me out, in return for my eternal appreciation and plenty of beer or Maker’s Mark or some such liquid bribery. But I don’t have such friends to call, so it will be me. I’m sure I can do it, but probably not until I recover from my chemo, etc. So, it will be at least a month or two, maybe three.
And then there’s the deck that still desperately needs sanding and painting. Before the screened porch is addressed. Damn! I have too much to do and too little energy and health to do it. Paying someone to do all of what I want/need to have done is out of the question. First, I don’t know any handy people in whom I would feel comfortable putting my trust. Second, if I could find someone I could trust, the cost would be prohibitive. Ach! I guess I’ll just go slow. Get it done as my health and stamina permit.
And there’s the other stuff I need to do/have done around the house. I guess I’ll just have to engage a handy person and put the rest of the stuff off until I’m able. I’m coming around to the conclusion that this house is just too damn big for the two of us. My wife is not a handy person in the sense that she could help me do such stuff; plus, her health suggests she ought not to try. We just need a smaller place. But I don’t know whether to suggest that to her at this stage. Maybe later.