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    And The Winner Is . . .

    Readers ask me all the time, “what happened to Valley Echoes?”

    To be honest, early deadlines and holidays schedules don’t mix. There simply isn’t enough time to get everything finished. I like to think I’m a pretty fair example of a person who prioritizes his duties to the optime level of success. But, when holidays come, I simply run out of time.

    For example: Ginger had our last holiday mixed up. She thought it was Labor day, when in fact it was Memorial Day. Her “to do” cup was more than half full. In fact, it was over flowing.

    She decided our 20+ year old deck needed restrained again. I guess this makes over 10 times we’ve stained the deck since inception. I was reading a magazine that showed a new way to refurbish your deck. They called it Deckover. It was cited to fill cracks, and make your deck like new in just two coats of thick, porcelain paint. “I’ll help cut in the edges, and do the end caps and sides, and you can roll the deck floor,” she explained.

    “I hate to paint!” I mumbled to myself, but knew I couldn’t get out of jail free.

    So, we went to the nearest box store, and purchased the new paint. The clerk was very knowledgable, and explained everything we needed to know. $300 later, I was loading the back of our truck. I couldn’t have loaded this by myself, but Ginger gave me a good, helping hand as she got into the way.

    After reading the brochure the helpful clerk gave me, I decided to get this job started. Ginger was in the house working on another project. Oh! I forgot to mention the old deck needed power washed before the paint could opened. This project only took most of our Sunday to finish and sweep clean of old paint chips. I also replaced several old deck boards that had seen their days. This doesn’t sound like a tough job, but when I investigated — I found that the deck had been nailed, not screwed down. Have you ever tried removing 20 year old deck nails from 16 foot planks? It’s not pretty. I first tried my antique nail puller, but I didn’t have enough muscle to pull the nail out. So I went to my trusty crow-bar and chisel routine. In between watching portions of the golf match, looking for a pair of gloves, and applying bandaids, it only took me one Sunday to finish.

    Monday was a different story. Applying the new paint was no problem, compared to the pulling of deck nails. At one point in the project, I called for Ginger, but she wasn’t home. So I took on the cut-in job and finished the deck with two wonderful coats. When Ginger returned she marveled at the new paint job. “It looks great,” she bragged. “What do you think?”

    “It’s really not what I expected. I thought it would be like painting a garage floor. New sparkling surface with sprinkled specks,” I revealed. “Are you going to finish the sides?” I asked truthfully.

    “I can’t right now,”she divulged. “I’m meeting a friend in 10 minutes. Why don’t you go inside and finish watching the golf match.”

    I took Ginger’s advice and headed for my recliner. I turned on the TV. Clicked in the golf channel, and then remembered it was Monday. Thanks a lot my love!

    This week’s bottom line: It seems to me that there are two kinds of trickery: the ”fronts” people assume before one another’s eyes, and the ”front” a writer puts on the face of reality.
    ~ Françoise Sagan.

    I guess this contest was a draw . . .

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