Reclaiming the Back Porch

It’s time to unplug.

The first summer we owned Hilltop was probably our best. (Hilltop is the name of the house upstate.  What?  Martha Stewart isn’t the only person who likes to name her houses.)

We closed on a Friday morning in early May 2012 and moved in with 2 beach chairs, an air-mattress, and a ton of cleaning supplies.  The house and yard had been neglected for a couple years and was filthy, over-grown and in a number of places being held together by tape.  Literally.  The p-trap under the sink in the downstairs bathroom was taped together with electrical tape.  Not a choice I would have made but I guess it was working….kinda.

We spent the first weekend sweeping and vacuuming mouse poop and scrubbing every room and surface like our lives depended on it.  We’ve both done a lot of long distance running and no long run I’ve ever accomplished was as exhausting or lactic acid producing as that first weekend of scouring turned out to be.

Each subsequent weekend that summer was filled with projects to reclaim the house and epic trips to the hardware store and eventually furniture stores. What it wasn’t filled with was screen time.  With no internet or cable we were blissfully cut off from the world from Friday night through Monday morning.

We created a makeshift living room / dinning room on the back porch with our 2 beach chairs and an empty card board box between them.  We’d work ourselves silly all day and then enjoy a cold beer (or three) on the back porch before collapsing into bed at night.  Towards the middle of the summer we bought an inexpensive outdoor table and chair set and it was like our entire world changed.  We typically woke up around 6:30 or 7AM and now with our new luxury table we enjoyed iced coffee and game of cribbage on the back porch before getting started with the day’s to-do list.  Simply put, it was awesome.

Flash-forward.  We now have internet, computers, TVs, streaming Netflix, and all the comforts of home in the house.  Saturday mornings still involve iced coffee but usually what accompanies it is checking work emails or watching an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters.  We still enjoy time on the porch but it is not the same.  We’ve gotten sucked into too many modern conveniences, aka: distractions.  I think it is time to dial it all back.

Somehow it felt like we had more hours in the day that first summer.  I know a lot of it was the excitement of something new and I know we can’t get that back.  But what we can get back is time away from the flickering glow of a TV screen or the rabbit-hole of internet searches.  Because I don’t really need to know half of the things I “google” and we all know there really isn’t anything good on TV!

So this coming weekend I will pull out the cribbage and turn off the computer. I will set the table outside for dinner rather than sitting with a plate on the coffee table in front of the couch and turning to Shawn to ask, “What do you want to watch?”

This weekend I will reclaim our back porch.



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