I’d planned it all so carefully and, you know me, I have to work reeeeeaaalllly hard at planning. I’d much rather pluck an idea from the naughty corner of my mind, mull it over for, oh all of a few minutes then take a huge leap into the land of the carefree and see what happens when I plough full steam ahead with it. Much more fun…..although I admit, planning and organisation are key to bringing ideas to fruition or else they can disappear without a trace. Hence why, up until now with the football project, I usually call on natural planners & organisers (you know, the people who get a real kick out of doing all that stuff) to join me in getting my more “creative and innovative” ideas off the ground. Don’t you just love diverse teams? Anyway, I digress….again…feel free to read more on what I think about diversity and inclusion another time.
Anyhooooo, back to my cunning plan. Sitting out in my garden in the recent pleasant weather, I’ve noticed that the decking’s looking a little uncared for. It’s all well & good having a natural wildflower area which the birdies love and a pond that’s organically creating its own ecosystem (many pondskaters – still no return of last year’s frog) but timber has this tendency to look dilapidated with the tiniest bit of moss, algae or sun-fade. Where and how should I start? I pondered as I soaked up the sun last week.
I remembered lessons learned from last year when I decided to clean and treat the decking one evening after a whole day basking in gorgeous, warm rays. How hard can it be? I thought at the time. How long can it possibly take to slap a bit of decking stain on? Who was I kidding?! The slight perfectionist in me had to apply it streak-free, no visual drips and as evenly as possible. Fast forward four hours and I was still at it, by the light of swiftly fading solar powered lights which I’d forgotten to put outside to “charge up” for a few days. I didn’t give up, I stuck at it to the last plank but I wasn’t exactly whooping with joy at the great job I’d done when I saw it the next morning!
So this time, I planned this procedure, with just the slightest trace of reluctance.
- Check 5 day weather forecast for any days with less than 5% chance of rain – check
- Synchronise work schedule – check
- Synchronise football project schedule – check
- Set a date for go-live tranche 1 (deck cleaning) – check
- Set a date for go-live tranche 2 (deck staining) – check
- Stock of deck cleaner – check
- Stock of decking oil stain – check
- Paint roller tray – check
- Deck stain applicator brush – che….uh-oh, why did I think wrapping last year’s brush in a plastic bag without cleaning it thoroughly would keep the bristles supple for a whole year?!
- Dispose of last year’s rock hard deck stain applicator brush – check
- Ask son nicely to purchase a new deck stain applicator brush – check
Tranche 1 was relatively uneventful. Pour on undiluted deck cleaner, scrub, leave for 10-15 minutes then wash off. Somehow I don’t think I was supposed to pour on the contents of the whole container (I couldn’t remember what I did last year so I just threw it all on & scrubbed away!). Try as I might, no matter how much water I tried to wash it down with, the foam showed no signs of diminishing. All I needed was some dance music and I could’ve been at a club foam party! In the end I decided to let the imminent light rain shower wash it away and wait a couple of days before go-live of the next tranche.
Tranche 2 With more than a trace of excitement, I rushed home after work feeling quite virtuous that I was going to give the decking some more tender, loving care (I really must get out more!). I hurriedly dropped my bags in the hall, rushed upstairs to get changed out of my formal clothes and into more appropriate deck staining attire. Unwrapped the newly purchased deck stain applicator brush (oooh! I love getting presents!) and off I went, merrily applying stain in an even, streak-free, non-drip fashion. All I had to do was beat the sunset, nooooo problem!
90 minutes in, a tentative alert from my son as my daughter unsuccessfully tried to stifle her giggles. “Muuuuuum, have you seen the sky recently?” I looked up and replied, “Oh it’s just a bit overcast, there’s less than 5% of rain forecast. I’ll just crack on.” A few minutes later, he tried again with a little more urgency in his voice, “Mum, I really think you ought to come and have a look out the front window.” Oh well, it’s time for a break anyway, I thought as I put down my brush and headed round to the front……”WHAAAAAT! Where did those dark clouds come from?! Which way are they blowing? Maybe they’ll blow around the house and completely miss the decking area” my voice increasing in shrillness and desperation with each word.
Stubbornly, I decided to carry on….well, it says on the decking oil tin that it’s rainproof in 90 minutes. The clouds were moving really slowly. Maybe they’d just stop where they were for 90 minutes! My children exchanged knowing glances along the lines of “This is going to be fun!”. Sure enough, 10 minutes later, I felt incy wincy raindrops leave their trace on my bare arms. Was that really rain or is it just extra humidity? My hope quickly surrendered to resignation as the raindrops became fatter and faster. I packed up my equipment and headed indoors to my home-cooked meal of spaghetti and meatballs. That was a last minute addition to my plan by the way. I knew I’d be very hungry when I’d finished my task so I’d cooked a meal ready to eat straight after.
As I looked forlornly out the window at the rain and my “not even 1/4 dry coat of decking oil”, my son comfortingly offered that the rain might stop soon and proceeded to check the weather app. Needless to say, we both found this extremely funny and cracked up with laughter before having a highly scientific conversation about how the rain droplets wouldn’t mix with the oil but would evaporate in the warm air once the shower stopped. I’ll wait to see what it looks like tomorrow.
Now, I could’ve let this episode get me down. A plan that went wrong, a weather app that gave me duff info, the money I’d spent on the decking oil that was being washed away in the decking grooves before my very eyes. I very nearly did have more than a trace of a sulk. However, I chose to recognise that there are just some things I have absolutely no control or influence over. If I waste time and energy thinking about stuff I can’t control, how will I have enough mental and physical resources to influence things that I can change or positively impact.
What are your circles of influence? What can you control and influence that will make the change and difference that you would like to see in your life and those of others?