426083_3914863384259_1973449270_nAfter spending four hours last weekend at a car wash raising money for a non-profit, I came home to find my husband in the middle of a project on our screened in porch. Two years ago, he decided to turn that porch into a greenhouse so that he could grow vegetables from seed and have them ready to plant in the spring. He covered the entire space with plastic sheeting, got a space heater and planted tomatoes, peppers and squash in red solo cups. For two months, these tender plants flourished until one night he forgot to turn on the space heater. All of that work gone to waste was disheartening and he abandoned the greenhouse plan, but the plastic sheeting remained. The space became the favorite haven for our cats and many a morning we discovered the prey they had captured and killed during the night. My kids likened the space to Dexter’s killing room and the porch became a family joke. I would not even enter the area, but it was in full view from the breakfast table and hard to ignore.

382146_4680223157775_263381546_nWhen I got home this past weekend, my husband had gotten rid of the plastic sheeting, removed the old screens and was just finishing up sweeping the space. That left us with a perfectly blank template. I love to refinish furniture and have also refinished our hardwood floors in the house. Looking at all of that virgin, unstained wood, I shook off the fatigue of four hours of car washing and gathered up my trusty refinishing materials. By the time I came in for the night I had stained about one third of the upright portion of the porch a rich mahogany and the next day I stained the rest of the walls and applied polyurethane. I am now working on the floor. Once I finish, I will then have to paint the wicker and sew new covers for the pillows.

546593_4144744491143_505444374_nThere is something about taking an object or space that is old or dated and transforming it into something beautiful again. There is also something mentally relaxing about engaging in home improvement projects, even if they might be physically taxing.  When I am stripping furniture or painting a wall I have to keep a portion of my mind engaged on what I am doing so I don’t accidentally gouge the wood or paint the carpet.  The rest of my mind just seems to go into a Zen like state where worries and troubles disappear.  What types of projects do you do for mental enjoyment?

– Mary AAR