Best spiderwebs

Nothing kills my spook-mojo like cheap, inelastic fiberwebs. I spent the extra .50 cents, thinking, in my marketing mind, that it would be better than the cheaper brand (see below), I sprung for BooBatts at Lowes, and have been cursing at myself, throughout my house, ever since. How this product ever passed inspection, consumer tests or the buying manager at Lowes, let alone any retail is beyond me. It tears. It rips. It does NOT stretch. It’s the anti-stretch. It’s like glorified cotton balls packaged together and marketed as “Super Stretch Web.” False advertising claim. If I was a lawsuit oriented gal, I’d join a calss action.

Product review grade: F+. It gets the + because it’s white.

On the other hand, The CelebrateIt Halloween spider web is awesome. No link because the store where I bought it–Michaels— web site is so lame it doesn’t list it as an item. It stretches and holds together, creating the amazing sheer look. I have stretched this stuff five feet, and that’s after cutting it up a bit. LOVE IT.

Yes, it’s actually less expensive and oh, so much better. Grade: A+. The plus is because the price point is $2.49.

Jilted Brides make my Halloween

The final product–but she has windblown hair
need to put a clip in that
The mask- 4 bucks at Goodwill. Looks like Michael Jackson
met up with the joker. Looks like a jilted bride to me

Nothing like writing an entire blog, just to have it lost upon saving. The upside is the mind-popping, blood-vessel bursting anger can now be focused in to an infinitely shorter blog (past readers know I feel of the 5-paragraph-limit ages ago. Maybe this will put me back into recovery. dare to dream).

Step 1- wrap the cotton with
clear tape. Attach the
mask to ensure it fits.

The backstory. I have halloween envy. It’s all my cousin Nancy’s fault. She’s a spooky-time goddess who happens to sew better than anyone I know, and that’s saying something (ok, maybe she is on par with my aunts, but I don’t think they’ve made a 9 foot witch). Hence, the envy.

Step 2-attach the $4.95 wig,
also courtesy of Goodwill

“Go to Fabricland–” Nance starts.

“Full stop,” I interrupt, reminding her Rog sews a hemline better than I do. Nance regroups.

“OK. Right. Go to Goodwill and pick up the witches costume, a wig, some PVC tubing and you’re on your way.”

Couldn’t help myself. It
looked like a size 6, so
I put it on, feeling sort of
gross, like an interloper
on someone’s day of
happiness gone awry

Later that day,  I show up, nary a witches costume in site, but a lovely, armpit stained bridal dress with a three foot rain for the bargain basement price of $19.95. I’m in love all over again, ready to don garters and pumps.

I go home, grab Rog’s disgusting mop, some tape, spraypaint, a few hangers and I’m ready to rock. Here goes the pics. (see, I almost made the 5 paragraphs. We should all thank the buggy-save feature on blogspot).

Step 3- attach the hangers
to the clear tape.
Step 4- attach the bra and undershirt
Step 4- I had to McGyver and use a safety pin,
no bubble gum.

This is right before the paint.
Step 5- use the primer

Step 6- add the reds and the grey

Save the lawsuit- use a an author release form

Out of the blue, I was contacted by a former sports star who is writing about about the travails of bad money management, for lack of a better phrase. The story is the same: elite athlete rises to fame, makes loads of dough (American slang for money, dear Russian readers, who come to this site in droves) for a period of time and then poof. It’s gone. The mysteries of why athletes go broke tend to be the same: blown on wine, women and song (well, exotic cars and way too many babies with different wives (the most famous being 9 babies by 9 woman. whoa. that’s a lot of action), but I digress).

It’s not just America. It’s everywhere. Athletic and entertainment money managers don’t do much good if they are ignored or fired or never hired in the first place. So after a career, the athlete inevitably bemoans that reality of poor money management and repossessed cars. The stats are harsh. 78 percent of NFL players go broke within a few TWO years of retirement, and 60 percent on NBA players w/in 6 yrs. But it’s not just athletes. Entertainers follow the same trent.

When I was told of the story, the athlete also indicated he’d lined up lots athletes so speak on the record, as well as coaches and those in the entourage. His own advisor recommended she have those going on record to sign an author release form, ensuring that she does not get sued by a broke athlete or money manager for a share of the profits of the book, should she be so lucky.

Thus, it was my pleasure to contact my own editor, who used this release form for many of her own projects. These are a little hard to come by (most internet searches produce nada), so if you are going to be writing a book, interviewing folks and don’t want to share a piece of the profits (even to Grandma Nila), then use this author release form. And I must give a plug to the filefactory. It’s fast and free. Two things I appreciate.

Saying goodbye: Our beloved P-dog

Tonight at 8:03 pm, we said goodbye to our beloved family member Penelope, aka P-dog, or, as my brother always called her, ‘nelps.’ It was so fast. I went from arguing with Roger at 3:30 about whether or not to take her in, to putting her down five hours later.

Since my blog on the subject a few days ago, she stopped barking when I came home, her loud, booming hellos strong enough to be heard from the street, quite a distance off. Rog noticed it first; I thought she was asleep. It was only after we left the vets that Rog apologized.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, through agonized bursts of tears. “I knew the truth and I couldn’t face it.”

At 5 pm, I’d been dealing with four and a half hours of my youngest daughter being sick on the toilet. Between crying, agonized fits of pain and the subsequent horrid aftermath, I was ready (and willing) to take Penelope to the vet. Rog fought with me, then insisted. When he called, around 5 pm, he said the vet confirmed I’d been right for the last few weeks. Something was indeed wrong– her spleen was swollen, and that wasn’t good news. She’d come in on her day off to take a look, and would do the x-rays in the morning, along with the exploratory surgery.

When he returned, I left. I’d been crying, and wanted to be alone. Crying is best done by oneself. After two hours of driving aimlessly, I got the impression to call Jane.

“Jane, if you are going to do surgery, and it’s bad…I guess what I’m saying is…do we need to come over to say our goodbyes.”

A hesitation. “Sarah, it’s not looking good.”

In all the years I’ve been going to Dr. Jane (the vet) for one dog, two cats and a myriad of stray animals, she’s never used those words. It was always “we can do X or Y.” Then she gave me the news.

Enlarged liver. Tumors in both lungs. Enlarged kidney- actually, it had stopped functioning entirely. Her spleen was non-functioning. Her stomach, instead of being empty, was completely full of blood. In short, opening her up would do no good. On top of all that, the blood work came back and showed that the bad cells had taken over the good cells (don’t ask me to recall the medical jargon). In a matter of days, or hours even, one or more of her organs were going to stop functioning.

I tried to keep focused on the road. Rog had made me promise to drive careful, not get distracted or injure myself.

“Can we come tonight?”

“That would be best,” she said, telling me she’d wait for us at the back door.

That last picture set with Penelope: family photos
a month ago in prep for our christmas card.
She was already dying, but we didn’t know.

By 7:30, my two daughters, already in their pajamas, were giving Penelope loves from the large, blanket-covered kennel. She was slightly sedated, her eyes trying to come alive, her tail wagging- but just. She could barely lift up her head, but did so as I approached her to cradle her muscular jowels in my hands, rubbing either side of her jaws in the way she so enjoyed. The girls stroked her. When it was Rog’s turn, he took her head in both hands and murmured to her, words of appreciation for keeping his family safe, for the trips, the runs, for chasing the frogs by the pond. She was our first kid, he told her, before we had the girls. He asked that if there was a God, that he would take care of her.

He carefully, lovingly placed her head back on the blanket as she looked up at the four of us. I couldn’t help it. I went back one more time and kissed her forehead. Her tail wagged three times then stopped. Her head was on her paws, her eyes dark and tired. Rog left first, out the door and to the car. I could hear his sobs on the way out. I carried the girls.

Tomorrow morning, she’ll be sedated, then injected with a serum that will stop her vital functions. We’ve spent the last few hours recalling memories, laughing and crying. Rog being Rog, he already went online to the shelters, seeking out a new dog. He found a three month old with similar facial features and a darker coat.

“The house already seems empty,” he said. “She would want us to be protected and love another animal.” I did little more than nod my head, my throat still too choked to talk, my head hurting from hours of crying.

Fun Fall Find- Purse hangers

A special place in my heart exists for Janaye, known around my household as Nay-nay, a nickname bequeathed upon her by my daughter, who had the benefit of Nay-nay being around the house from before Porsche was in embryo. Now, Nay-nay is married and she is home for a few months, living with her family as she and her husband prepare to embark on the journey that is med school.

It is from a visit this evening that this blog was born. As a repayment for Janaye helping me out this evening so I could attend a board meeting, I took her in to my closet and started foraging. For some, clothing is sustenance, and Janaye, a fellow clothes horse like myself, was ravenous.

As I’m pulling out jacket after jacket (I think my shoulders have grown), she takes a look around.

“I’ve always loved your closet,” the twenty-two year-old says, “but what you really need is something for your purses.” My purses? Other than shelf space? I ask.

“Haven’t you seen those hanging clips?” I have no idea what she’s talking about and I say so. “It’s soo cool,” she gushes, managing to still sound intelligent. She then describes metal contraptions that resemble a shower curtain, but are meant for purses.

“You just clip them on, and then you can scroll through your purses. You have to get one!”

The adjustable rhinestone hangers

 to look at and from the description, more durable. Of course, the price at $58 and change will set you back, but after all the coinage that’s been dropped on the purses, who cares? The person who shares your closet will be ever-so grateful that you are finally getting your purses off the ground, off the shelf and hung up all nice and neat, exactly where they should be. The first thing I do is a search on purse hangers. The cheapies come up, no style. Twenty bucks will hold a forty pound purse, which isn’t bad. Still, it’s ugly. Why have an ugly item hold a beautiful purse? Next up is a musical-themed handbag holder, but this isn’t a clip. It hangs over a shelf, which is a good alternative if you don’t have the room in your closet. I’m not down with the style, but it’s half the price. On the third search result, I hit the jackpot. Rhinestone detailed purse hangers, cool

You know the other reason I like this product? These babies are portable. They are designed to open, clip on and off and take with you (apparently to avoid the nasty germs from other hangers. Talk about marketing). And at SEARS of all places. Who knew?

The tackier, yet more versatile

Last but not least, the honorable mention goes to the other portable hanger in the shape of a heart. I personally think its a bit tacky-girly, but no one will ever accuse you of mixing up your purse with theirs. Can you imagine whipping this out when you come over to my house…”No, Sarah, I don’t need to use your coat rack for my purse. I’ve got my own,” and you whip out this dandy little contraption and put in on a table, dresser, or bookshelf.

When that happens, I for one, will all stand amazed.

Dying for love – the human-to-animal connection

As I was pondering whether or not to spring for a new iphone 5 (Rog already said no. I have two more years on my existing plan, but one can dare to dream), cousin Nance’s voice rang in my ears.

“I know it’s been a hard three weeks when you don’t blog for nearly a month.”

She had to call you see, to find out. That’s the downside of blogging. Once relatives and friends realize the forum is the outlet for all things crazy in my life, phone calls become obsolete. Worse, when those very people start blogging themselves about their own lives, the actual act of communication is unecessary.

But that’s not what’s on my mind. I’m thinking about my dog and cancer and the notion of “cancer transference.” Ever heard of that? It’s the notion that the animal takes (absorbs) the illness for the owner. The vets in my life swear by this phenomena. “It’s not an American philosophy,” says one very well traveled vet, who is called all over the world to speak at events on mainstream topics. “But we see it all the time.”

An owner gets a tumor. The dog develops a tumor, and while the dogs tumor grows, the owners tumor diminishes and then leaves. The dogs has grown, and dies. This actually happened to a close friend of mine. She’s a native American woman, and has seen it her whole life.

“They are there in spirit for us,” she says, invoking the world view through the eyes of one who sees all living creatures as connected, intertwined spirits. Trees grow to provide shelter (our homes), warmth (wood), nurishment (the ground) and protection (from wind). Animals are created to give us food, transportation (horses/camels etc are still used around the world). Her rhetorical question to me is: if an animal is loved and loves in return, would they not give their very life for us, so that we may live, just as we give our kidney and sometimes, our lives protecting another?

Not to make this about me (but that does tend to happen in a personal blog), my dog has gotten cancer over the years as I have. Then, when mine left, (about 9 years ago), my dog started developing these fast-growing mass-cells. Each one gnarly, red spots that spread so deep and wide that they must be excised as soon as possible. She’s had 5. I’ve had none. Periodically, the tissue on either side of my armpits hurt, and then…she gets a mass cell.

Now, today, my dog is not doing well. In the last two weeks, her stomach has expanded. She’s lost her appetite. She’s listless. Her zeal for life is gone. Her eyes convey an emptyness that breaks my heart. For the first time in six years, she urinated on the carpet downstairs. It was dark yellow, evidence of her disinterest in even getting up from the couch to drink water.

To say I’m worried is stupid. I’m grieved that somehow I could be different, could express my emotions in such a way that didn’t cause me to internalize it all, ball up my own cells and poof, create a mass cell that my dog is taking from me. (To admit the truth, my swami homeopath told my sister years ago that my dogs was going to die for me. That sucked). My native american friend Susan (not her Indian name. I have to check if I can share that with the world), tells me it is natures way, and this is her role in life. As nice as that sounds, its like I’m giving her a death sentence and can’t stop it. We are walking the plank together, but I can to remain on deck while she hurls herself off.

This week, I have to bite the bullet and take her in the above referenced vet. We’ve got to know. Until then, I’m trying to push and pull out my anxiety and my bad energy, replacing it with good. Yet I suspect its futile. Her labored groaning is what lulls me to sleep, sadly comforted by the fact she’s loving me to the end, and that love will most likely kill her.

Uncertainty and marital strife

Its Saturday, time I suppose for a light-hearted post on why Kanye and Kim shouldn’t get married (better yet, why reporters think this is news), or perhaps the uplifting tidbit I read on the bank president who rewarded the 13 yr old girl who found, and returned, $4,000 dollars to a recent immigrant who’d lost it in the parking lot.

Instead, I’m stuck on the stress caused by uncertainty and what this does to my marriage. It didn’t occur to me until my right hand seized up like an engine suddenly choking from a gallon of sugar poured in the gas tank (former sister in law to brother) that I realized the hits uncertainty take on a marriage. Here’s my personal list.

Anticipation of change.
Since we learned that a certain event might happen (I can’t reveal this, one of the few things I’m legally obligated not to share), we have been dealing with a lot of uncertainty. I’m not a shrink, but uncertainty that life will change, a move may happen, along with a change of schools, social structure and church and babysitters and shopping, can cause a bit of stress in a relationship.

New purchases
At the same time, the same event that can produce change can also provide the opportunity to have fun. Purchasing a recreational vehicle, a new car or other non essential items that to this point have been the stuff of dreams, not reality.  Can this uncertainty really cause marital strife? Yes. It has caused more fights between me and Rog than the schools our children will attend.

Helping others

Our big “fatty-daddy” as Porsche calls him, will soon
go back in to his underground lair

As I was  emotionally vomiting black ink all over the page, it became evident that Rog and I had/have, a lot of pent up excitement over the prospect of helping others on a bigger scale that what we are able to do today. Providing for those in need, be it financial or doing good deeds or service, is great in theory, then one must execute. Rog and I started a row over how we’d find the time (e.g. what we were willing to give up) consider the recipients (what made one person/group more worthy than another, our criteria being completely subjective) etc. Here again, this intention results/resulted in all sorts of stressful conversations. By the end of another circular argument, the goods feelings have all but evaporated in the tactical mechanics of doing said deed. Bummer.

Emotional removal
Perhaps the biggest collateral damage of uncertainty is that Rog goes in to his world, and even when he’s with me, I can be talking and he’s looking right through me. Don’t get me wrong; the man has the mind of an elephant, and can tell me word for word what I’ve just said. But he’s completely devoid of emotion and the connection is gone. With every passing week, the seeping cancer rooted in uncertainty has infected him and our relationship.

By the time I couldn’t write, my palm locked up like a vice-grip, I knew the madness had to end. Put the lid on uncertainty. I’m going to pretend said event is not going to happen. We are going to live life. Forget the potential purchases, the possible move. Enjoy the space of my house, the surroundings, the frogs in the pond today, because in the coming weeks, they will go into hibernation and next year, we may not be around to see them. I was reminded of Rev. Leroy Allison’s quote: “We spend too much time living in the “what if” and need to learn to live in the “what is.”

When Rog came home from his early morning meeting today, I gave him a hug, and suggested we just enjoy being. He was caught off guard (I suspect by both hug and comment) but got it. We have it pretty good. Time to enjoy it. And that’s one thing that is for certain.

Mini-Mart Millionaire: Real life opportunity for financial prosperity

So boring. So profitable.

Ever wonder about the lives of those behind the counter at your local mini-mart? These corner stores are a familiar site in our great land, and provide the convenience of a late-night source of headache-reducing substances equally well as ensuring I have the organic Tillamook sweet-cream, salted butter that is a staple in most of my recipes.

Behind the counters are a mix of people. At my local convenience store stands a young woman in her twenties, who dated a meth-head addict until he wound up in jail, she pregnant, and this was the impetus for her to quit using her own preferred illegal substances (pot) and turn to a healthier lifestyle. Beyond recognizing me (for she can’t quite remember my name, although she’s been clean for nearly six months), she’s even stopped dying her hair rainbow colors and let it go to a natural, dirty brown, so she can continue her incubation in the healthiest manner possible.

Not far down the road is another mini-mart. This is less convenient (for it lacks the country feel), it’s been around for decades. The old man behind the counter reminds me of Methusela, for he must be at least 900 years old. He’s matter-of-fact, but in a kind, old-school type of a way, that bespeaks of a person who’s seen it all, but doesn’t suffer from the cynicism that afflicts many older folks (age is only a number right? I’ve seen 25 yr olds with enough cynicism for a fleet of younger, less encumbered seniors). At the same time, he’s got this don’t-mess-with-me air, that conjures images of him serving in the military.

It turns out that he’s a multi-millionaire, and the convenience store was his first business venture. When he was young and married, he opened the joint, raised two sons with his wife and started diversifying. First it was storage units, then it was more corner-store marts, then more storage units. You get the picture. Two businesses that will always be necessary. He also started buying land, bit by bit. Back in those days, land was plentiful, since the great migratory push from California hadn’t yet started. By the time the eighties came around, and Californian’s (and Europeans for that matter) realized that Washington is blessed with lots of water and no state income tax, this man and his wife owned several mountains outside Seattle, past Bellevue.

As one of my friends from England told me “it’s clear, beautiful and reminds me of our vacation home. It’s the perfect place in the world.” On a lark, my English friend had vacationed here 16 years ago and moved permanently when the school year ended.

This last month, my mini-mart friend (who I still mentally refer to as Methusala), sold yet another hillside for….$285Million (yes, with an M) to a batch of developers.

“I had to,” he told me. In a bit of irony, what he had acquired had increased in value to dramatically that he couldn’t afford to pay the taxes, which increased every year. He’d tried to hold on to the land for a nature preserve, but isn’t “blessed with the deep pockets of Bill and Melinda.” Bit by bit, he’d sold off land, and finally, he gave up the entire lot.

“I’ll always have my mini-mart,” he said. The thing profits (and I mean, profits) about $5M a year, he told me. (Thus, the eternal question of all car-driving people is answered “why is it two cents a gallon right across the street??” The answer, my dear friends, is that every two cents adds up to hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars. The end).

Because I’m an inquisitive kind of gal, I ask him: “do you have any other wealth-producing tips?”

He smirks. I’m sure he wants to tell me he’s cheap and works hard, that he’ll go to his grave with the till ringing (because men of that era believe that retirement is an dirty word). But he must see I’m sincere, and proffers a few nuggets of wisdom for my future financial prosperity.

1. buy used. Let someone else eat the depreciation of a car. “But get the extended warranty.”
2. do it yourself. Time is money, “if you have money,” he said wrily. “Adults today waste more money they don’t have by getting someone else to do it because they think their time is so valuable. It’s not. It’s money that stays in your pocket instead of going into someone else’s.
3. go discount. That includes the movie theatre. My husband knows all about this. He only (and I mean only) goes to the $3 dollar showtimes. Not so great for date-nights, but then I don’t even know what that is, so I guess I’m not missing anything.
4. Just start. Ah. As an author, my favorite adage. It’s what my movie producer says. It’s what my voice teacher says. Just start. Results (e.g. money) will come. And if you apply the above rules “you can’t help but save,” said Mr. MMM (mini-mart-millionaire).
5. Hold on as long as you can. He did that with his land, and even then, it was painful for him to watch his hard-earned asset leave his hands.

With that wisdom stuck in my head, I grabbed my M & M’s and went to the other gas station that was 2 cents cheaper.

No-effort slim waist

Today I’m introducing you to two friends. Donita and Lei. These are my workout buddies, who, just this morning, sandwiched me as we made our rounds of cardio machines and weights for three, count ’em, three hours. Donita as a blond-haired Amazonian real-estate agent, who’s former husband co-founded and sold one of the few successful Internet ventures (that I happen to use all the time; if you cook, chances are, so do you). Lei on the other hand, is a 38-year old brain surgeon. Serious. She graduated top of her class, did her externship and no has offers from all over the country. Lei’s also a mother of two, and, get this, a Maxim model. (Why Maxim you may ask. Her husband challenged her to pay for her med school by modeling. By golly. She took that challenge and raised him. Little did he know she was going to do it wearing itty-bitty bikinis).

Now, I’m all for the notion that God gave us all different talents and gifts. But did he have to combine so many in one little dark-haired-hot-bodied-Asian-hawaiian-something else- chick? But I digress. I’ve been fortunate enough to workout alongside these two gym-queens. This morning started at 6 am (which meant I got my sorry-butt out of bed at 5) and ended at 9:15.

Some highlights:

1. “Bikini season is starting.” Huh? It’s over. “Not for me,” she says. Magazines go all crazy in the winter to motivate people. Fitness models like her “take the summer off,” and don’t do anything. When the end of August hits, she has two weeks to get it in to gear. I suppose this is good for those of us who have aspirations to vaca in the winter.

2. “It’s all about the —.” Yes, Lei was blunt. Maxim “is all about the —,” she reconfirms as she points to her derriere. You see, all the angles want a rock-hard, shiny-like-a-new-car, high, lifted fanny. That translates in to most of the movements, be it on machine, free weights or torturous movements like Plios, are geared to lift the largest muscle in the body that has a propensity to sag over time. Amen!

3. “100 reps of everything.” Egads. That means any circuit has five rounds of 15-25 reps. Most of the time 25. One word. Pain.

4. “Soft, non-muscular stomachs.” What the..? “Maxim doesn’t like the muscles to look defined. They aren’t feminine.” Ok. High and tight butts are okay, but this soft, lean stomachs are good. As I thought about it, I saw the light. When I 18, my fan-fan was high and tight, my stomach flat and soft. Oh. I got it.
That’s the easy part, she went on to say, and this is actually the punch line of this blog. “Get a belt,” she says to me, then lifts up my shirt. “Oh, you don’t really need it,” she says, with what I hope was a bit of grumpiness, for I pretty much carried up the rear on all the reps today.
“The belt is a no-effort way to lose inches during your cardio,” she says in a professional, hot-maxim-body-brain-surgeon type of weight-side manner. “$12 bucks. Target. $6 bucks at other places, like Amazon. Get two,” she continued. “They start to stink after a while.”
By 9:30, I was at Target. Bought three. Two for me and one for Rog. When I got home, I showed Rog. “Return it,” he said. “I already have one.” I giggled. He’s just never used it. 
“It makes me sweat.” That’s the point. Lei promised it will take off inches without additional effort ot work. “An hour of cardio will take off a half inch to an inch. All the models use them.” 
I’m sold. 

$400 Facelift- The perfect deck

The deck-before

Fall is upon us here in the Northwest. The leaves are now orange-reddish and the first ones fell this last week. From one day to the next, the temperature dropped fifteen degrees, the spiderwebs have appeared and my pumpkins are getting large.

To me, fall means one thing: Entertaining.

That means I look around the house, in a bit of a panic, and make a list of improvements. The dings in the walls I created over the summer (primarily on the stairway), the slate floor that needs to be acid washed and reglossed, but the biggest site for sore eyes? My deck.

The deck chair before staining

One must walk up the stairs, (over our little stream), to reach the front doors. The same is true for the back door (even friends must walk the deck). It wraps most of the house and when it’s clean and stained, it’s beautiful. But in the winter, it gets saturated, then moss-covered, making it treacherous for even our sure-footed four-legged beasty of a dog.

The biggest bang for the buck

This is the second coat of stain

Twice a year, Rog must whip out the pressure washer and go inch-by-inch across the entire thing. It takes him a solid six hours, usually done in the rain, (it is, after all, Seattle). Then we wait for the sun to come out. To apply stain, it can’t be too hot nor too cold. (Between 70-80 degrees). Rog purchases a sprayer (about $20) and the weatherproof stain (in cherry). Oh, for those men who want to know, we have ironwood on our deck, Ipe variety from South America. It’s increadibly heavy and durable, with screw-down nails. The good news is spraying the deck is very fast. For a deck our size (approximately 1,500 square feet) it takes him a mere 30 minutes, if that.

After 8 years of trying out different deck stains, he came to rely upon Preserva Wood Products (we use the Redwood color). It’s about $400 all in for the materials and well worth it.

Hint: the first 10 minutes of spray is always a bit thicker-he’s not sure why. He takes an old rag/shirt, and wipes it down (all the while, wearing rubber boots. ah, my sexy man).

A side note: The deck furniture

And this is after the 3rd coat has dried

As Rog was slaving away on the deck, I decided to upgrade the furniture. Here again, we purchased quality products that we leave out during the winter. It fades to a grey, and while I don’t mind it, I like to preserve the wood from splitting. Because me and the girls scraped and coated the chairs and table last year, this years application was much faster.

We used: 3 sponge paintbrushes and last year’s can of Cherry stain gloss. Placing the chairs on a tarp, it took us less than an hour to stain the 6 chairs and table.

Hint: It took 3 coats for the chairs and stable. The first layer soaked in quickly, making the furniture look black, but it was because the wood was very pourus. The second layer gave the wood a reddish and the final coat gave us the color I want

Now, two hours later, the deck looks new, the table and chairs look new, and we are ready to entertain through the Labor Day holiday, September and the fall. Once I was done with my labor, I sat back and enjoyed three cooking and entertainment magazines- on the grass of course. The stain hadn’t quite dried- allow a few hours or a day if you can.

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