The Deck ... by Cindy Beck

© Cindy Beck, 2008
(Keywords: Cindy Beck, deck, paint, redwood stain, cats, KitKat, Pretty Kitty, humor, Latter-day Saints, LDS, yourLDSNeighborhood.com)

The deck needed staining. Either that or it needed to be ripped off and used for firewood. Since we don’t have a fireplace, we decided staining was a viable alternative. And so, bright and early last Saturday, my husband, Russ, and I stepped out into the chilly air and began cleaning dust and leaves off the wooden planks. Minutes after starting, I watched Russ give a particularly vigorous shove with the push broom.

“Are you having trouble with those two spots?” I asked.

“Uggg,” Russ replied. I assumed that was primitive male-speak for yes. Or maybe no.

Never one to lightly offer my brilliant-but-unasked-for opinion, I tilted my head to one side and said, “That’s not debris, you know.”

Russ stopped pushing, looked at me, and raised one eyebrow. “Oh, really? Then just what is it?”

“Our two cats,” I said, shooing the orange and white one, KitKat, off the deck.

The other cat—the dark tiger-striped—continued sitting there, washing his face. We'd befriended him years ago and named him Pretty Kitty. If it weren’t for the fact that his left ear is half gone and his tail is broken, the name would really fit.

I reached over, patted Pretty Kitty's head, and continued not offering my opinion. “You know what happens when you try to push a cat—it just pushes back.” I hated to state the obvious, but I didn’t want him trying to clean Pretty Kitty off the deck with the broom again.

Russ gently reached down to pick the cat up and Pretty Kitty rewarded him with a swat. One that, had a surgeon performed it, would have been a $200, twenty-stitch incision. Instead, Russ got it for free.

Russ lightly tossed the cat onto the grass as blood dripped onto the wooden planks. Knowing that I’m fastidious about such things as bodily fluids on my deck, Russ said, “Don’t worry about those few droplets. We’re staining the deck red. None of it will show.”

After he patted the cut dry with his shirttail, we picked up paint brushes, popped open the gallon of redwood stain, and started applying the thin, oil-based paint to the edges of the wood. “We should be done in no time,” Russ said, as paint from his brush splattered onto the deck’s white vinyl posts.

“Oops,” I said, as red stain raced in rivulets onto the white, lattice trim below. Drops splattered onto KitKat, who sat sunning himself by the lattice.

“Don’t worry about those few droplets on the cat,” Russ said, as he raced to the garage for gasoline to clean off the dripping and splattered paint. “It’s red stain. He’s orange. None of it will show.”

In a matter of seconds ... or perhaps more like fifteen minutes ... Russ returned with the six-gallon gas can. I waved my paintbrush at him and said, “Hurry, hurry, or the paint will dry and the lattice will look like it has copious wounds.”

As I gestured, a shower of paint flew from my brush. It was just too bad Russ's face happened to be in the way, because otherwise the paint would have made an interesting pattern when it hit the sidewalk.

“Don’t worry about those few droplets on your face,” I said. “It’s red stain, and with all the sun you’ve gotten this morning, none of it will show.”

Russ wiped his brow with his sleeve—which gave him a decidedly war-painted look—then he tapped the deck with his foot and said, "I have a great idea for getting this done quickly, and with a lot less splattering ..."

(To be continued.)

What's playing in my head: Lady in Red (by Phil Collins).

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