I can’t believe that summer has come and is almost gone! For once in my life, procrastination was not my first name. I am proud I actually accomplished some of the multitude of tasks that were on my to-do list. Especially when it came to my second-story deck.

I have been dreaming of a hanging chair. And when I found one I fell in love with, I was willing to drive to Madison, Wisconsin to get it. Because I found it on Facebook marketplace, I would send the seller a text every hour on the hour letting her know of my progress. Nothing is worse than getting somewhere that far out and have somebody tell you they sold it to someone else. Especially because it’s such a long drive.

I also spent a ton of time out on my deck this year. I spent more time outdoors on it this year than I did in the 20 years prior. I even bought a waterfall. I have always professed that the sound of waterfalls reminded me of running toilets, but I actually like the one I got. And it has been soothing to my soul.

I did get my garden planted. Best of all, I actually have a watermelon that grew and is almost ready to cut. I can’t wait to try it.

My ongoing battle with the rats who were trying to live under my garage seems to have me winning. The metal grating I purchased was supposed to be used to protect a tree. But it is lightweight enough for me to be able to cut it with decent scissors. And the rats cannot chew through it. So between laying it along the side of my garage and putting it inside the alley rat hole I found, I think I have won the battle. The war will be another story!

I did manage to paint my front security door. There’s nothing worse than a steel door that is allowed to rust and deteriorate. That thing cost a small fortune when I bought it 20 years ago. I should have done it last year, but I did the basement door and the back door. So the front door had to get done. I used an angle grinder to take off the loose paint, and then spray-painted the decorative wrought-iron work. I’ll finish up by using a can of paint, applying it with a brush. That thick coating should last at least another five years. 

I put a bunch of decorations out on the siding to my deck. There are special clips that basically fit in between the siding so that you don’t have to put a hole in it. I’ve already declared that I don’t want to spend more than two hours closing my deck down for the winter. I’m actually going to use a timer when I start because in my mind I pre-thought everything I need to bubble-wrap and store. The majority of things can then stay outdoors in a couple of outdoor bins. Anything that I think might get damaged by the cold, I will bring indoors.

I hope your summer was as marvelous as mine was. I cannot focus on all the shootings because it is just so depressing. So I have to do all I can to practice normalcy for my mental health.

Arlene Jones, who lives in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, writes a weekly column for our sister publication, the Austin Weekly News.

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