By Invitation Only

I invited 128 friends to an party at my house yesterday and no one came.  Even my wife refused to join the festivities.  Obviously the social fabric of my Facebook network of friends is torn.

It was a humbling experience of somewhat biblical proportions.  One friend was headed out for a Cubs game.  Two relatives claimed it was too far to travel.  Except for these 3 who said, “I wish I could come,” no one else responded to my gracious invitation.

Perhaps it was the event.  I invited my friends to come and help me stain my deck.  If I were smarter I would have invited them to come learn how to stain a deck, for FREE.  Tom Sawyer had luck with this scheme, but not I.

Last September when we purchased our home, I swooned over the deck and it’s grand sweeping view of the forest preserve behind the house.  I fell for it as quickly as my wife falls for anything pink on sale at Talbots.

It’s a great place to sit and watch the sunset, the moon rise, the stars shine, and the long distance planes fly overhead.  It’s a wildlife retreat.  From the deck we have seen red tail foxes, birds of most every feather, and a billion rabbits.  Surprisingly, we have yet to see a deer.  At night we can hear coyotes sing as they pounce upon their prey.

I am sure if I invited all 128 of my Facebook friends to a BBQ, to enjoy ribs cooked on my man-grill, and to watch the sunset, the moon, rise, and the stars shine.  Every one of them would have come, plus a few who saw the happy affair unfolding in my backyard.

But, alas, yesterday it was me and Thee.  God did not help with the staining, but at least He kept the temperature quite comfortable.

So, alone, as an army of one, I sat, stood, and stained.  Up and down went my hand, arms, knees, and legs.  Side to side we swayed this way and that, zigzagging from one horizon to the other.

After a while my teeny tiny deck began to grow.  As the day passed by it grew faster than corn on a hot July day after an evening of soaking rains.  By golly, I think the deck tripled in size between 8 AM when I began and 6 PM I raised my white flag in exhaustion.

This morning when I arose, my muscles ached and screeched like the coyotes.  My knees creaked like an old rusty screen door.  Words are lacking to describe the soreness in my buns and the bones upon which I sat all day long yesterday.

Yes, a year ago as a potential homebuyer, that deck looked like a mighty fine bargain, a blessing beyond compare, and the perfect site for many nights of star-gazing and deep thinking.

Now as the home-owner, that glorious deck has taken on new visions.  Yesterday I had hallucinations, imagining a nice stone patio in place of that deck.  But every time I wiped my brow and cleared my eyes, it was a mass of worn gray wood stretching as far as the eyes could see.

It was a most laborious Labor Day.

By now, you, my friend, must be filled with pity for me, having to party it alone on my deck all day.  I suspect those of you who ignored my gracious invitation are now weeping in puddles of guilt and shame.

But do not feel bad my friends.  I have a salve for your pain.  The deck is not done and I will begin anew today at 3 PM.  You are more than welcome to party with me, my stain, and Thee.

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5 Responses to By Invitation Only

  1. dh says:

    You should have offered free beer.

    • Rus Howard says:

      Dad, that was a given, but Illinois Law prohibits the advertising of “free beer.” My neighbor is a Rockford City Policeman and I did not want to risk being arrested. Of course, I had already offered him the free beer and he passed on the invite.

  2. E.Howard says:

    Dearest Rus,
    I too have stained a deck. That lovely one at the bch house. Hardy and I w/the breezes from the ocean to keep us cool despite the hot sun. (which I am not allowed to be in). Hardy and I vowed never to own another wood deck. If my beloved husband ever wants one, he is on his own to care for it. Here in Florida they must be stained once a yr because of the brutal sun. I hope you don’t have to do that.
    Once the project is done and you are sitting admiring the job and scenery, you will experience one of the ultimate senses of homeowners pride. Hayes’ project was finished early afternoon. And he was the first to use it.
    Love to you and Rori. Enjoy your favorite beverage when the stain has cured.

  3. Becky DeShazo says:

    A nice 4 inch small roller works wonderful for staining a deck. Wish Ron and I were on facebook and we would have come over to help. Another reason we should do facebook!

  4. Jennifer Wise says:

    Steve would commiserate with you as he has done the small deck we have. The solution we found was to screen it in – no more deck! Sorry not to have seen the invite til too late, but alas, I would have been a no-show also and not because there was no beer. Because I hate staining the deck. Did enjoy the details tho.

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