Power Wash

I would like to bake a pie for whomever invented the power washer.

That’s what I was thinking at about the fifteen minute mark of power washing the stamped concrete deck in my backyard.

Power washing is the most satisfying of all yard work tasks.

For about the first hour.

It is the perfect example of the yin and yang of chores. The jet-stream of water cuts through the accumulated grime, restoring former glory and making you feel like you’re really accomplishing something. It also points out, with laser-like clarity, that you are a neglectful, lazy A-hole for allowing so much grime to accumulate.

How does so much dirt wind up on a surface that is virtually never covered in dirt?

From the cement deck, I moved on to the wooden deck. The stain is lifting and flaking and I need to re-do it this year. Of course I ended up blasting soggy bits of wood stain all over the cement that I’d just spent the last two hours cleaning. The water from the power washer comes out with enough force that it actually cut into the wood in some places. Yet, amazingly, there are still chunks of peeling stain all over the stupid deck, regardless of the fact that I probably drove my poor neighbours to distraction with my compulsive back and forth out there – going through three tanks of gas and deafening everyone within a one mile radius.

How does that happen? It’s like when you’re trying to cut a tomato. You know that the knife you are wielding could, in fact, be used to separate your hand from your wrist, but apparently, when it comes to slicing tomatoes, you might as well be using a sledge hammer. The power washer has enough pressure behind it that it could blast flesh from bone, but that flake of cheap wood stain is just not budging.

I am almost positive that I am selling my house next year. As I labour through the yard work: cleaning, maintaining, weeding, planting, etc, etc, I am tossed between two opinions. One: I will miss this lovely garden that I have created all by myself over these last years. There are a lot of good memories here, and I will be sad to leave this place. And, two: I hate every minute of this stupid yard work that never frigging ends, and I cannot wait until the whole mess is someone else’s responsibility.

Yard work, not unlike housework, is fundamentally pointless. It will never be done. Literally as you are doing the work, you are creating more work. When you re-paint the deck, you are laying down a layer of paint that will inevitably peel off and require you to go through the whole power wash-sand-sweep-crawl-around and do it all over again routine. When you plant something, you are expecting it to grow and therefore require work to maintain it. As you go through your house dusting, you are, in fact, creating a whole new batch of dust behind you. We run around our homes, madly cleaning before guests arrive, only so they can come in and make a mess. It seems kind of crazy.

If you’re one of those maniacs that actually finds fulfilment in cleaning, well then, more power to you and send me a private message about when you can stop by – my garage is frightening: it’s like a moment from the past, frozen in time, like Pompeii, if Pompeii were a garbage dump for unfinished projects and things that you’re absolutely sure you will need someday.

I don’t like to clean. I like to be in clean surroundings. I don’t like to maintain stuff. I like to have stuff. Maybe that’s why power washing is so appealing to me. The satisfaction of cutting through that layer of grime cannot exist unless there is grime. You cannot sit in your pretty garden without getting your hands dirty once in a while – I mean, unless you’re Oprah or some spoiled suburban diva – which I am not.

Life is dichotomy. We know when something is good, because it is not bad. Something is clean, because it is not dirty. Sometimes things feel like a hassle, but that is only because we have known ease.

That is something I will endeavour to remember as I paint the deck this week. Crawling around on it with a paint-brush only seems like a pain in the ass because I have been lucky enough to spend so much time relaxing on it, in the sun, celebrating this good life with people I love.


2 thoughts on “Power Wash

  1. Oh so so true!!! You said it all and in such a funny way. I love it!! Think I’ll go now out on my deck with a glass of wine and look at the sky above and not those irritating, never ending, nagging tasks surrounding me. Thanks! 🍷😎🏡

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