Monday, July 28, 2014

Before and Afters - Outdoor Spaces

One of the things I really wanted to change about my house when I moved in was the two dirt patches which adorned both sides of the stairs up to the front porch (see the lovely top picture, below). So we headed to Home Depot one day to get some ideas. Ideas only. But as we were walking into HD we passed a pallet of pavers (see the bottom photo, below) that had been used and returned. So they had some glue on them, but they were also only $50. For the entire pallet. We originally passed it up and headed to the garden department. For ideas. Until A said, "You know, if you're thinking about those, we need to go back and get them. Now. Or someone else will." You know the end of the story. What you don't know is that the $50 dollar pallet was over 3,000 lbs. of pavers and, as we later calculated, worth over $500. I have some flowers on order, so I can't fill the beds yet, but look at the improvement!

 The entire porch got an overhaul, and probably cost about as much as those pavers. I painted the loveseat a darker brown and covered those hideous cushions with covers I found at the thrift store. Also from the thrift store are the bamboo vases, the curtain, and the few items you can see on the wall on the right in the top right photo. The hanging planters are from Ikea and the teal table is a recent sale find from World Market.
(I feel like I'm going to cave in on myself, looking at these two pictures (above). I really don't know how they ended up tilted in opposite directions like that, but I'm too lazy to do anything about it).

Finally, a quick shot of what the upper deck looks like as well. Quite different from when I bought the place. Of course, summer and full, green trees help a bit, too. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Over the Crux

My man and I headed to my favorite climbing locale last week. Finally, for the first time since we started climbing outside a couple months ago, I felt good. I don't know what was previously going on, but every time I'd climb something (except for a run up Montezuma's Tower in the Garden a couple weeks ago) I was terrified on every single route I started up. But on this day I finally felt on top of my game again, even though I'd not climbed anything yet. It was just a feeling I had - partly because I was sick of feeling freaked out for no good reason and had given myself a good pep talk. 

After leading a climb I'd done many times, I scouted around for a couple others we could do. We headed toward the right side of the rock face and found one that Mountain Project said was a 5.9. I looked at it, said, "I can do that," and started roping up. I noticed that halfway up there was a bail-biner - a carebiner someone had left there because they couldn't finish the route for some reason.

When I got to that point, I understood why the previous climber had bailed. It was definitely the crux of the climb. Mountain Project said there was an undercling, but after looking at it, I knew there was no way I could hold onto what was there. It's happened before, me climbing a route differently than intended. I'm sure others do it, too. I hung there at the bolt the previous climber had bailed on and looked and looked at the next move. My man was holding me tight (at my request), while I maneuvered my feet over and over, trying to find the perfect stance. After probably six or seven "attempts" (still being held taut), I called, "Give me slack, give me slack!" And then I was up. I don't even really know how it happened. It was like my body decided my brain was a hindrance, took over for a few seconds, and completed it with sheer physicality. Without really consciously realizing what was happening, I was over the crux. And yes, definitely back on top of my game.

While I have no idea why I'd been so freaked out about climbing for so long, what really concerned me was that I was and I didn't know if the feeling was permanent. I'd actually even debated whether or not I should climb anymore (when it comes down to it, I'm too stubborn to give up, though). Glad I kept at it, because there are other things in life that scare me, and it's a good lesson learned - if I just keep trying, at some point I'll be over the crux without hardly realizing how I did it.