I managed to get down the first coat of stain by 10 pm Sunday. I was very tempted to take the day off and just work on it, so that it would definitely be done. We are supposed to have several days without rain, though a bit more humid than ideal to cure the deck. One way or the other, I wanted to get done with staining today.
But I had promised to help out on a 4th of July themed party at work. I basically brought some food (2 apple pies, vanilla ice cream and potato chips) whereas another co-worker actually made a cake and decorated it as a flag. See below.
The party was quite a success (and her cake was delish), so I suppose it was worth turning up. Anyway, I left work just a tiny bit early (4:45) and can make up the time tomorrow. That meant I was able to get home by 5:30 and instruct the kids on the first part of the task, while I went off to get yet one more can of stain!
I wasn't going to stain the spindles a second time around (or I would still be out there!). We did the main crossbars and the posts, but the focus was just staining the deck a second time. The kids did help out a fair bit, and I did my best to clean up any of their drips. (Again, I decided several weeks ago to let go of the idea that this deck would be perfect.) They also can feel some pride in accomplishment this summer when lounging on the deck, and when their friends come over, they can say that they helped out. I think they will actually get a kick out of that. (Of course it doesn't hurt that I paid them as well.)
This is basically how it will look, though this is still showing the wet stain, and it will probably dry one shade lighter. It isn't too bad, all things considered, and I am so, so glad to be done. I can certainly live with it for a few years. Maybe I'll have more success sanding next time around, though I may also go with a darker colour each time I restain the deck. (Again, I'm hoping that is every Leap Year or so.)
I don't recall if I have mentioned my fear and loathing of raccoons yet on this blog. This is not a good neighbourhood to live in if one hates raccoons (or skunks for that matter). The raccoons have definitely gotten out
of hand. I have seen them several times up on the upper deck, and in fact trying to
figure out the screen door! They seem to have no fear of humans, and
will just look at me for a bit and saunter away.
As I was wrapping up the very last of the staining (roughly 8:30 pm), I saw two huge raccoons come out from the lower deck and start messing about, paying me no attention at all. So it appears that the raccoons have made a nest under my lower
deck and use that as a launching pad for forays into other yards for
food. (We're actually quite careful about our recycling and food scraps bins and have had very few tip-overs and break-ins.) I'm totally sick of it. Raccoons are so out of hand in Toronto
that City pest control won't respond at all, usually not even to reports
of a rabid raccoons! You are on your own to pay for private pest
control, but apparently the humane laws here say you can't remove a
raccoon to a new location more than 1 km from where it was picked up.* That makes no sense
to me, since you can't just drop it in someone else's yard. We do have
some train tracks nearby though...
If I could get away with it, I would definitely poison them, since the
ones in my yard are huge and have lost whatever fear of humans they had
or should have. I actually don't feel safe, and I thought they were
going to come up after me, as I was finishing up the upper deck this
What I have decided to do is to tear down the lower deck and flush out their nest. Then cover the backyard with
paving stones. (Honestly, this is not just about not wanted to stain the lower deck, as this paving stone thing is going to be another big job.) Most likely they will move on after that, though maybe only into another yard. If we manage to move them further down the street, then I will look into getting a hammock and perhaps a small grill by the fall. I don't feel confident enough to put that down there right now.
* This is probably the stupidest law I've yet seen regarding wildlife management. It is a shame we can't bring over Washington State's law where all trapped raccoons are automatically euthanized. Still, it may happen someday. Over 50% of Toronto residents want a legal way to euthanize raccoons, and I suspect that number will only creep up with time. Give it one severe rabies outbreak, and the laws will definitely change. At that point, I am buying a couple of huge traps.