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Spring cleaning

Started: 2012-01-24 08:12:28

Submitted: 2012-01-24 08:43:28

Visibility: World-readable

It's not really spring yet, but our pending move to Boulder means we have a long list of things to clean up and organize and fix in the house before trying to put it on the market. Kiesa has been painting the badly-scuffed baseboards and trim inside the house, and I spent the weekend outside, taking advantage of the La Niña-inspired warm and dry weather to work on two projects.

The first was easy enough: replace the picket boards on the garden gate. The ground and the gate had shifted since we bought the house, and the bottom of the boards rubbed against the ground and eventually broke off, creating an ugly toddler-sized hole in the gate. (Kiesa had been worried that Calvin might exploit that hole to gain access to the front yard, but these days Calvin can simply unlatch the gate and walk out anyway.)

The Old Gate

Kiesa did the leg work to discover that they are French Gothic pickets and picked up eight boards at a fencing store somewhere in the greater Longmont area. (When she identified the specific style of the pickets the fencers asked if she was from Wolf Creek, because apparently our subdivision is the only subdivision in the area using this style.) Not all of the boards on the gate were really beyond repair, but I wanted to replace all of the boards to make it look somewhat consistent.

The New Gate

The second project was somewhat more involved. Last spring I discovered that I ought to have been staining the deck every couple of years and undertook a major project to do so. My first pass involved a few missteps on the leftmost section of railing: I tried to fill the (gaping) cracks in the boards with putty, and painted only one coat of stain, which left the railing with large pink splotches of partially-stained putty. I finally decided to stop worrying and love the cracks in the wood, because there was really nothing I could realistically do about it, and left most of the rest of the cracks in the other sections of deck unfilled.

That still left the improperly-stained railing to deal with, which had the disadvantage of being quite visible as the first section of deck one sees from the dining room. I picked up a container of stain stripper at my local big-box home improvement store and set out to strip the stain and the putty it protected. This took longer than I expected, but I ended up removing most of the stain and almost all of the putty. I ran out of spring-like La Niña days before I could finish the cleaning and re-staining but the weather forecast leaves me optimistic that I'll be able to finish it off this month, especially if I can convince Kiesa to help me.