Remember last week, when I lost the will to get the screened porch ready? Well, today, it is done!

It is a two-person job. The accordionist (for those of you who don’t know me that well, he’s my husband) and I worked together. Here is what it takes to achieve a Martha-Stewart quality porch for your cats to use more than you do:

  • Vacuum the floor. It is covered with dirt and dust. Your back hurts already.
  • Lug two brooms, Spic and Span, and a huge bucket upstairs.
  • Look around for the cats, because you have to shut them out of this wing of the house so they don’t track dirty footprints all over the place once you start washing the porch in earnest.
  • You can only find one out of four cats. You close off that part of the house (calling it a “wing” is a bit pretentious–it consists of the master bedroom and an adjoining bedroom and bath) anyway.
  • Open up the porch and move all the furniture to one side. Your back now is shouting “you are way too old for this sort of activity!”
  • Fill the bucket with water and Spic and Span.
  • Open one porch screen so you can haul up the hose from the deck, which the accordionist has tied to a rope. He looks sort of pale.
  • Start scrubbing the floor. Three cats show up from under your bed.
  • Chase the cats out of the area, screaming “Out, out!” One of them dashes across your bare foot, leaving big punctures with his back claws. You contemplate Googling cat scratch fever, but figure you can do that later, when this job is done; the incubation period must be at least a couple of days.
  • As you scrub, the accordionist flushes with the hose. Move furniture around as you work, in order to get the entire floor clean.  A lot of bending. Then you both sweep the dirty water towards the drain hole, onto the deck (which, by the way, you had to clear of all the furniture down there before you got started, so the dirty water wouldn’t get all over that stuff.
  • It takes about a half hour, but the porch floor is clean.
  • Have a cup of coffee while the floor dries and the accordionist mows the lawn. While he finishes that, lug two (what seem like forty pound) ferns up to the porch. Oh, incidentally, did I mention this porch is on the second floor?
  • Rest and groan while floor dries.
  • Ok. Now, get trash bags and take the covers off the furniture, putting them in the bags and carrying those up to the attic for the time when if you survive this, you will need them to cover the porch furniture for the winter.
  • Haul the furniture into place. Put on the cushions. Realize that they are covered with cat hair from last fall, when using the tape roller was just too much work.
  • There are also mysterious stains on the cushions. The accordionist is helpless in this department, and so he is dismissed to wander around the neighborhood with a beer.
  •  Use an entire tape roller on the furniture, then try to remove stains. Futile. Turn cushions over, vowing not to spill on the “B” side.
  • Open the cupboard and get out all the accessories: the lamps, the coasters, the bowl of seashells, the little frog candle holder.
  • Windex the tabletops. Arrange the accessories. Take two Excedrin.
  • It looks great! The cats will love it!

And next week, it will probably get so hot that you will have to close off the porch and turn on the central air conditioning.

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