Jul 4, 2011

Does that star-spangled banner yet wave?

I'm proud to say yes it does wave here!

But that hasn't always been the case.

Our first house had a porch that would have lent itself to a flag and flagpole, but for some reason we never bought one in the nine years we lived there. Our other homes have not had a porch with posts, so mounting a flagpole would have required more creativity than I managed to muster. Now that we are moved and settled into this home with its huge wraparound porch, I was eager to get a flag  installed in time to celebrate the 235th birthday of these United States of America.

I am afraid I've probably taken this liberty for granted for far too long. But I have always been proud and grateful to be an American, and to be free to display my patriotism (or not) my entire life. I am indebted to the men and women whose blood has been shed for my freedom, and to those who today are in harm's way halfway across the world to keep us safe here at home. And so it was a really good feeling to unfurl this flag on a new flagpole yesterday and smile with pride as it waved in the breeze.

The plan is to leave it up through Labor Day, then replace it with a UT banner for fall (except for Veteran's Day when we'll fly Old Glory again.)

This flower bed is slowly starting to shape up!
The long holiday weekend has been a hard-working weekend:  I spent most of Saturday weeding and mulching flower beds while Swimmer Girl and Mr. Official started stained the fence.   When she finally gave up, I took up her paintbrush and helped out until it was too dark to see what we were doing.

(Side note:  Outdoor staining projects tend to inspire optimism in all of us.  We see the relaxed, tanned people in the commercials who buy stain, make a few graceful swipes with a brush and then sit in lawn chairs, sipping tea and admiring their handiwork.  How hard can it be?)

The reality is when we are done (and we WILL get done), we will have sprayed and brushed 16 gallons of sealer and stain on 42 8-foot picket panels.  To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen, a picket here, a picket there, pretty soon it adds up to a real big fence project.  We wore out the 20-year-old trusty Wagner power sprayer and we're breaking in a second one.

My arms and legs look like I got a bad spray-on tan at the Oompa Loompa tanning salon.  I will always adore Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka movie (and Johnny Depp's redux is surprisingly high on my hit list too) but I am not a fan of Oompa Loompa orange.


We hit the project for another round on Sunday afternoon, managing to get most of the longest side done.

The goal is to finish it by noon today, or at least get pretty close to done, and knock out the remainder in an evening sometime this week.

In years past, I would have voted to stay here today and finish it up no matter how long it takes.

But I have determined that long summer holiday weekends should have some R&R in them, even for over-scheduled over-achievers like us.  So this afternoon is reserved for a trip to my mother-in-law's with all my three "boys" for an afternoon of swimming and grilling and an evening of fireworks (and maybe some sparklers) to celebrate a holiday that  has slipped by too quickly for too many years.

Happy (and safe) celebrating!

P.S. A shout-out to my happy camper girl - I hope you have a totally awesome camp experience this week!