I would like a weekend from my weekend

By Mir
May 4, 2015

Traditionally the weekend is a time to relax and unwind, to sleep in and do Super Fun Things. I mean… I assume that’s a tradition for some people? We’re terrible at that in general, though I do hold the whole “sleep in” part pretty sacred. (As I said to Otto just last night, it’s not so much that I view getting up early and packing lunches all school year long as a burden, it’s just that by May I am completely OVER it.) Anyway, sometimes we aren’t so great with the whole “Super Fun Things” notion, what with the kids’ various activities and need to be with people other than us, GOD, MOM, because we’re so terrible, plus the whole thing where Duncan has to eat every few hours, and of course the problem of me being a hermit.

All of this is preamble to say that we had a very busy weekend and I am EXHAUSTED. Delicate flowers are sturdier than me. I managed to combine two things in the most stupid way possible, but it all worked out okay in the end.

Thing the first: You may recall that a long, long time ago, we replaced our deck and added a screened-in portion and then I commenced freaking out about furniture for it for… ummm… forever. We did finally buy a table and chairs, followed a bit later by a Craigslist adventure wherein we eventually drove nearly an hour to purchase a dubious wicker seating set that was not so much “indoor/outdoor” as it was “indoor but look, put it outdoors and now it’s outdoor!” This set was… not ideal… but the price was right, you understand.

Three years later, said wicker set is looking particularly sad. The cushions are flat and faded, plus the paint is flaking off the wicker. Otto spends a lot of time out on the porch. When we entertain (I like to say it like that, “when we entertain,” as if we’re fancy and not the sort of people who text friends randomly and say, “Beer and snacks on the porch?”) we tend to hang out on the porch, and although it is happening verrrrry slowwwwwwwly, over time we are trying to make our house look like stable grown-ups live here and not a couple of grad students.

[Sidebar: Lest you get too carried away thinking we’re getting all high-falutin’ or anything, Otto is still using sawhorses and an unfinished door for a desk, and Monkey’s dresser in his room is… the dresser I bought for $50 when I started grad school in 1993. This whole turning-our-house-into-something-appropriate thing is a process.]

Once we made the decision to sell the camping trailer, of course there were discussions that followed about what we’d do with the proceeds. I immediately cast a vote for using some of the money for new patio seating. Otto thought that was a fine idea. Then, because I am me, I started looking for furniture RIGHT AWAY because we not only haven’t sold the camper, we haven’t even listed it yet, and I’m logical like that. But it was also partially because…

Thing the second: Every spring, Otto throws a barbecue for some of his students. Generally speaking, they are so delighted to go to an actual house instead of someone’s cramped apartment and eat REAL FOOD that I think they’re happy with whatever, but as the state of our janky porch furniture irritated me more and more and I realized the student barbecue was coming up, I became CONVINCED I could find us new furniture before the party.

Spoiler: I was incorrect.

Actually, I wasn’t entirely incorrect. I did, indeed, find us some furniture. On Craigslist (because of course). Just as birds go through an elaborate mating dance with one another, I, too, began the Craigslist Dance wherein I emailed this person about her furniture and she emailed me back, and then I emailed her again, and then from there we tried to figure out a time to meet and I asked for the furniture dimensions and commenced Googling for original prices and then she called me but I missed it and I texted her but she didn’t respond and so on. We did not manage to figure out getting the furniture before the barbecue.

To compensate, I cleaned my office. True, no one was sitting in my office, but my office leads out to the porch and the last time I cleaned my desk was… ummmm… well, look, that’s not really important. The thing is, life has been kind of hectic, and I have a large L-shaped desk, and it had become covered with all manner of stuff. Also my office is where the kids leave their jackets and backpacks and where we keep the shoe rack and basically everything was exploding. I cleared off my desk, I pulled approximately eleven billion pairs of shoes which no one wears from the shoesplosion pile for donation, I made the kids tidy up their piles, and I vacuumed and dusted. (In related news: Now no one is allowed to touch anything in my office, ever.)

The barbecue was fine, and if the students were offended by our furniture, no one said anything, probably because my office looked so great. Or because Otto made them burgers and I made them chocolate-chip banana bread (details!) and also because they are very polite. I love having the students over because I have very few hobbies, but one of them is telling embarrassing stories about my husband to his students. It’s great fun. Also they’re so GRATEFUL, totally unlike my own children who believe that I am just SUPPOSED to feed them or whatever.

One young woman arrived late, and when Otto introduced us she turned to him and said, “Oh, she’s so pretty!” I don’t know if I was supposed to be a wizened crone or what, but I immediately declared her to be my favorite. Hey, I’ll take what I can get.

So that all happened on Saturday, and despite Craigslist Lady having offered that maybe we could come Saturday morning BEFORE the barbecue, timing was tight what with the barbecue and needing to get the kids to/from Saturday School (’tis the season for AP exams and HOOBOY I am ready for those particular OH GOD I SHOULD’VE STUDIED MORE I SHOULD’VE TAKEN MORE PRACTICE EXAMS freak-outs to be over) and we, instead, arranged to go on Sunday morning.

Saturday we’d been up early getting the kids to their practice exam, and then Sunday we got up early and drove 90 minutes to the nicest lake house I have ever seen, and instead of buying this woman’s furniture I wanted to ask her to adopt me, because HOLY HELL I didn’t know normal humans lived in houses that fancy. Like, their outdoor patio area had a cooking area with a built-in grill, fridge, smoker, and granite countertops. OUTSIDE. Their patio was 1000x nicer than our actual kitchen inside our house. Also, to access said patio we had to walk down a set of stone steps which curved around the various levels of this amazing house and its multiple outdoor terraces and I felt very plebeian, but then I remembered that I had an envelope full of cash and I decided that probably this woman cared a lot more about THAT than the fact that I kept admiring her house with my mouth agape.

There was no negotiation; the ad had said she was firm on the price, and the set was in great shape and about half what it would cost us new, so I gave her the money and then we commenced carrying all the pieces back up the stone steps to our truck for a rousing game of Furniture Jenga.

I had my doubts, but my husband is A WIZARD.


Somehow he made it all fit. Then we drove home a lot slower than we’d driven there, and then the real fun began. Otto took pictures of the old furniture (for Craigslist, natch—it’s the CIIIIIIRCLE of LIIIIIFE!), then we took it all off the porch and put it in the garage, then we unloaded the truck and hosed down all of the new furniture, then Otto vacuumed and scrubbed the whole screen porch because he is a rockstar. (While he was doing that, I went grocery shopping AND I let Chickadee drive, so really, I am a hero as well.) Later we assembled the whole shebang and spent the rest of the evening lounging around out there on our ACTUALLY FOR THE OUTDOORS furniture which is super-comfy and weather-resistant and all that jazz. I feel fancy!


Of course, the real test was Duncan. Licorice is happy to roll with the punches, but Duncan was Highly Concerned about the flurry of activity and also we rearranged everything (the new furniture did not fit where the old furniture had been, so we moved the table to the opposite corner and the seating to where the table used to be) and remember, Duncan is mostly blind. He kept wandering out onto the porch and walking in tiny, hesitant circles, like, Hey, um, nothing is where I remember it being, what is going on here?

In the end, though, I think we got his stamp of approval. Or more accurately, his snore of approval.


In conclusion: Clean office. New furniture. We had a party. Would you like to buy a crappy wicker furniture set? And I am tired.


  1. Diane

    Very pretty furniture for a very pretty Mir! It is indeed amazing that Otto got all of that in the truck for one trip. Remind me if I ever do Survivor and need someone to do those challenge puzzles, to make sure he is on my team.

  2. Stacy

    The furniture is gorgeous, and your porch thinging is way nicer than the one we got for “free” when we built our house.

  3. beth s

    Love the new furniture and your porch. Quick question about it. Is it completely enclosed with screens only? Asking cause the floor looks like it might be decking (not sealed for weather) but the walls look like interior ones. Just wondering how it has held up and if you have any issues with it. I’d love to enclose our balcony but afraid there is no way to seal it enough to keep out the bugs and weather.

    • Mir

      Beth, the floor is decking (with screen underneath to keep the bugs out). The walls are plain ol’ pressure-treated posts with wooden sheeting (not sure that’s the right word…) between. Everything’s heavily painted to seal out the moisture (but yay Georgia humidity, we get creeping mildew… we just wash it every so often to remove that). The wall you don’t see is actually the side of the house, which is brick, but the rest is just wood and screens. Definitely not an all-season affair, but our weather is mild enough here that we can use it about 9 months of the year.

      • dad

        as the daughter of an Architect you should know that the surface you are eluding to is “sheathing,” not “sheeting.”

        The porch looks great regardless of what you call it.

        • Mir

          YES! That!! Thank you, Dad. Now come test out the furniture. :)

          • Kim

            Your dad rocks. Just saying.

  4. JennyA

    I am about to (against the judgment of the tiny voices in my head screaming HOW LONNNG WILL IT TAAAAKE and GOSH THAT IS A LOT OF MONNEEEEYYY) embark on The Great Back Yardening of 2015 in an to make our rather small and shabby back yard into an Oasis of Peace and Calm and Entertaining Glory that will be the envy of all our neighbors and friends who live in giant fancy houses. So I am on the hunt for outdoor seating options. Is that that stuff that looks like wicker but isn’t? I like the looks of it.

    • Mir

      Yeah, it’s aluminum framing covered with a resin weave that looks like wicker. It’s this.

  5. Aimee

    Jeez. I thought *I* had a busy weekend. The furniture is beautiful, though!

  6. Amanda

    Our new house has a 3 season porch (which up here means everything but insulation and heating/cooling)…and this post reminds me that I wanted to find some furniture for it.

    That furniture sure is purty…not sure I’m prepared to start the Craigslist dancing yet though.

    I love going to rich people’s houses for Craigslist stuff. Totally the best stuff at like half off! and often rarely used :)

  7. Karen

    It’s beautiful! Awesome find, congrats!

  8. My Kids Mom

    I’ve just heard the month of May described as “Mayhem.” I plan to stick with it.

  9. Mary K. in Rockport

    Thanks, but I have my own set of crappy faux wicker lawn furniture. It is very comfy though. See, up here in New England, as you probably remember, it’s classy to be shabby…..

  10. Jeanie

    Now that is some nice outdoor furniture! God love Duncan, the little sweetie.

  11. Mary

    I need something similar for my outdoor area. I just fell into the craigslist pit… Oy. Almost as bad as looking at Pinterest. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.Thanks, Mir! :-P

  12. 12tequilas

    The “wizened crone” remark made my day
    And that is all I have to say.

    (Except: congrats on the snore of approval!)

  13. Brigitte

    Ooh, yes, it was great fun getting to see a rich person’s house and property when answering a Craigslist ad once. They were moving, so I looked up the property on some real estate site. Asking price: 10.5 million!

  14. Chris

    It makes me nervous to think about listing anything on Craigslist. I just am too much of a worrier to go there – we are likely to trade in our car to dealer versus potentially dealing with crazies. And I could never see myself giving out our address (but we also live in NY which has a potential for having a higher proportion of scammers trolling the lists).

    Love, love the new furniture though!

  15. Full Spectrum Mama

    Perfect phrase. It fits what I was trying to think as I drove and cleaned and cooked all day yesterday on “Mother’s Day,” but was unable to conceive of as too burnt out. Now at work.
    I need a Mother’s Mother’s Day? A Mother’s Weekend? A NON-Mother’s Weekend.
    I dunno. You know.

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