Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the simplest method

I originally wrote this post as a detailed account of how I waterproofed the deck.  Then, I realized that waterproofing a deck is kind of boring.  Really, what I had to say boiled down to one point.

(our deck before cleaning and waterproofing - can you tell where the doormat was?)

Since I had never used a waterproofing product before, I read the directions in the store to make sure I had all the equipment I would need. The "application" instructions say: "Apply by brush, roller, dipping, or sprayer. A garden 'pump-up' style sprayer is the simplest method." Alright then. I dutifully bought a pump-up style garden sprayer.  I was all for the simplest method.

 (the deck scrubbed clean)

After I had cleaned the deck, I was ready to spray the water sealer on the deck with my pump-up style garden sprayer.  I put the sprayer together, filled it up, and pumped.  I set it to spray a "fine mist," but all that came out was a thick stream, which actually mostly landed on an azalea, rather than on the deck.  I took the sprayer apart, put it back together, and went to it.  Still, thick stream.  When I tried to turn the nozzle clockwise to get a finer mist, it fell off.  When I turned it the other direction, it still projected a thick stream, but just a more forceful and less accurate thick stream.  Which hit the window of the house, and had to be removed with paint thinner.  I took the sprayer apart again, and it leaked waterproofer all over the deck, so I had to sort of swish that around and rub it in, but there was still a big oily patch (fortunately, underneath where our grill goes).  This went on and on, until I finally gave up.  I got a cheap paint brush and an old dishrag.  I painted it on, and wiped it off -- similar to how you would apply stain to wood.  I used half the amount of water sealer, and it took half the time. 

It was good that I read the directions, but a little common sense would also have helped.  When applying an unfamiliar product, using unfamiliar equipment is rarely going to be the "simplest method."  Maybe it would have been faster, had I already known how to use the garden sprayer, or had I gotten one that could handle the viscous, oily waterproofer (the one I had was designed for weed killer or something).  But as it stood, it was anything but simple.  I also ran out of  waterproofer before I was completely done, due to the fact that, when trying to use the simplest method, I had waterproofed some compost, a window, and an azalea, rather than the deck -- so I had to make a second trip to the store for more waterproofer.  Trying to "simplify" things actually made a one-day project into a two-day project, and required me to buy about $30 worth of equipment and supplies I didn't need.

(progress after the the first day)

And such is life.  Buying extra equipment is not simple.  Spending a lot of money on kitchen gadgets that do only one thing and organizational systems that don't fit with your personality is not simple.  Multi-tasking during your morning routine so you can put your makeup, make the kids' lunches, and eat breakfast simultaneously, thereby saving 5 minutes, is not simple.  What's simple is getting up a little earlier, throwing away the crap you don't have room for in your life anymore, and using a 50 cent paintbrush to apply the waterproofer. 

I asked Kathy if she thought that the next time we needed to waterproof the deck, we would be rich enough to pay someone else to do it.  She laughed.  I think that means yes?

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