So Karen moved in, looked around, and said, "Why don't you use your backyard?" I said, I dunno. Because I love my front porch and always choose that? Because I have to walk through two doors to get to the backyard? Because I never see it?
This, incidentally, is a sore spot. My house has two back porches, the outermost along the entire back of my house. Which means that when I stand at my kitchen sink, I look into the back wall of a back porch, like so.
Those are my treasures, on the ledge. Tiles from a trip to Spain with Anand. A jar with garlic in it. Little rocks from a trip to the Marin Headlands with my family. My stripe-y rocks, because a girl can't have enough stripe-y things. Anyway, I don't want to get too heavily into gender roles, but I will say that the person who chose to put additional closed storage that covered a kitchen window is not the same person who generally cooks or does the dishes. Considering how much of my time I spend at that sink, the fact that the window looks into a dark wall detracts pretty heavily from my quality of life.
I had talked about taking down part of the exterior siding, but Chris said he would help me, and that was five years ago and it was never a good time and I didn't have the motivation to do it myself, despite resenting my kitchen sink view. So anyway, late yesterday afternoon, Karen was all, "OK, let's get started!" I was all, huh, wha? And she was all, "Let's do it! Siding comes down from the back porch?" So I said, um, OK. Less than an hour later, it was done. Five years after contemplating this task, it was easily done and fun. Now I have boards I can use to frame my front yard, turning pointless untended grass into beds that I will garden. Now I look out my kitchen window at a plain back yard.
The plain backyard isn't great. But now that I see it many times a day, I'm sure I'll solve that. Planting under redwoods is a real problem; they make the soil so acidic that even the ferns don't take. I don't love rhododendrons, but I think I like them better than the stucco wall of an apartment building. So I might go with those. Except they want a lot of water, which is not the direction I want to take my yard. I kindof want to hang window frames inside the open space, because I've seen that before and loved it.
Anyway, the lesson is: task done! Task done easily, even though I was too intimidated to do it by myself and it makes my life much better. I love, love, love having motivated people around me. I love living with people who think that projects are fun. Next, Karen wants us to re-upholsher the rocking chair.