Saturday, April 16, 2011


This weekend, we are building the deck. My parents are graciously flying in from out of state to help us. Their help is so critical to our ability to do these kind of projects. It's frustrating and humbling at the same time. Somebody told us owning an old house was like having a(nother) child. At the time, I think this argument helped persuade us to buy a new house. But really? I think owning any house is like having a(nother) child. (Maybe a new house is less whiny?) At least, if you are me and like to have things exactly the way you decided after a few months of stewing, a house still requires attention.

The expanse of dirt to be replaced by a deck.
The soapstone counters in our kitchen were a pretty good example of how I decided on something and wanted nothing else. Well, wood counters would have been okay too, were it not for the "very practical" consideration that I felt the the island can't have wood, because the SINK is in the middle of it. And the counter can't have wood because the GAS STOVE is in the middle of it. Somehow, neither sink nor stove were an issue in Munich, where we DID have wood counters.  (Photo of Noah sitting on Munich counters at the end of this post.) But in Munich, soapstone wasn't available, and glass - my 3rd favorite, seemed really impractical. With piccolini, that is. Sigh. You know, whatever. Sometimes my mental gymnastics impress even me.

Anyway, the soapstone counters are great. Soapstone is what use to be used for laboratory counters. Maybe your high school chem lab had soapstone counters. It's a virtually indestructible material. Five months in, and I still love it. And soapstone was a third the price of headstone granite counters.

So, the deck. I have tried and tried and tried to like composites or PVC or whatever fake plastic-y (petroleum laden) material everyone tries to sell here in Denver. And I just can't like it. What I really want is wood. I like the way it feels when you step on it. I like the way it feels when you touch it. I like fact that it doesn't require a lot of decorative trim work to hide messy edges. It's honest. It's beautiful. I even like the splinters. (Okay, not really.) And it will grow old and fade to gray gracefully in my dream world. My friends, wood like this is ALL OVER GERMANY. But here in the US, we are stuck on tropical hardwoods (really expensive), or treated pine (doesn't hold up well in Colorado), or redwood (blah), or cedar (blah). I personally love the look of treated pine (BUT). That wood in Germany? A fair amount of it is larch. Old growth, light colored, with a very dense grain because of the short growing season, grown in Siberia...Siberian larch.

I want a larch deck.

And it's NOT easy to get your hands on larch here in Colorado. In fact, I've given up.

But a week ago, I still hadn't given up. And I was obsessing, when Mattias stuck his hands in the freshly poured concrete for the post.

Except, he didn't just stick his hands in the concrete, he was up to his elbows in concrete. And he was literally playing in the concrete, splashing it around, rubbing it in his hair. My one year old, covering himself in concrete, because I was too busy obsessing over the Lack of Larch situation.

I've seen enough episodes of CSI and Bones and Dexter to know that you don't let your piccolino stay covered in concrete. (Strangely, they don't teach that in architecture school!) So, no photo. I washed that stuff off him IMMEDIATELY.

So, fine, pay attention, Mommy. And the deck will be some Blah Wood.

This where I need to focus: I will be really, really happy when we are no longer playing in the dirt and tracking it directly into the dining room. And thank goodness for Grandpa, who has the technical knowledge to guide, while Grandma keeps the piccolini from splashing in the concrete. Or playing with nails and screws and drills and hammers...

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

House projects and little ones don't mix. It makes repairing and improving a little difficult. Good luck this weekend!