The deck is 15 years old, which I think is old for a deck that isn't cedar, but rather just pressure treated wood, that was slapped up as a condition of sale when we bought the house in 1998.
There was a deck with a tacky cover that was in terrible condition, so we asked that it be replaced and the previous owner replaced it.
We were terribly naive at the time and didn't realize that we could do such things and we had a terrible realtor, and it was only when the inspector pointed out the dangerous nature of the old deck that we took action.
It was the one good thing the inspector did.
He wasn't much of an inspector; he missed many other dangerous things.
I had no idea.
I was pregnant and overwhelmed by the notion of buying a house.
I thought home inspections were done by some kind of ethical governmental agency and everyone was equally good.
That's how dumb I was.
A real babe in the housing inspector woods.
So there we were, two of the most ill-equipped housemates in the world, for home ownership, buying a house together.
The deal was Rolf and I would buy the house, and Mark would come live with me there.
We would have our baby and live in this large house, collectively, because I had lived with Rolf my entire adult life and my heart might break without him.
I had only known Mark for months.
I liked him.
I loved him, but I am not one to throw out the housemate with the bathwater.
None of the three of us is very yard workery, or terribly sensible, or knowledgeable about housey things, so we were like sitting ducks, real schnooks waiting to be taken advantage of over bad wiring and the lack of a shut off valve for the kitchen sink.
So the deck guy built a new deck, and on the way out the door mentioned that he hadn't sealed the new deck.
We bought the house in October, so the rain was already an issue.
Had I been slightly more tuned in at the time, I would have demanded that he seal the deck, but I wasn't, and I didn't, so there I was with this unsealed deck, in the rainy season.
So we sealed it ourselves with toxic stinky stuff, on a Saturday.
And almost every year since, we seal it.
Twice we have had it done for us, by a deck guy.
Once my friend Brian sealed it for us, when he built a little roof over half the deck.
It was his little gift.
This year we borrowed a pressure washer from our friend M.
M is very handy and sensible and owns a pressure washer and a truck.
We are constantly asking him for help with this, or that.
I pay him back with dinners; buttery noodles, pork, salad, roast chicken and mashed potatoes, glasses of plum brandy and PBR on ice, coffee with sugar, cheap red wine, cookies and pieces of cake.
It's not what anyone would call a square deal.
Not by a long shot.
He was very anti-pressure washing of the deck.
Clearly, he had never scrubbed a 300 square-foot deck by hand with a brush.
We washed the deck very nicely, taking turns.
Both Rolf and I sprayed our feet, which hurts.
Mark was smart enough to wear sneakers.
It was a very messy process.
The very last thing that we needed to do was the roof of the deck.
It is a type of corrugated plastic that was very dirty and mossy.
Mark, being the lightest went up on the roof of the house and sprayed one side, but it was terribly HOT out and he needed to come down after a while.
Mark is afraid of heights, so when it was time to come down he asked that we adjust the ladder so the incline was not so steep.
For some reason he had used the flimsy extension ladder, rather than the regular ladder. I started to say something, but thought better of it, because who wants to be criticized for his choice of ladders?
I went up and sprayed for a while, but the ladder was stretched out far and it was swaying a lot and making me dizzy.
I have been very dizzy in general because of the anemia, so I asked Rolf if he would finish up.
Rolf climbed up the ladder and was spraying away the very last bits of moss, when the ladder slid across the wet deck stopping only when it hit the railing.
One rail was knocked off, but it held steady enough for Rolf to climb down.
Later in the evening he noticed that his ribs were bruised.
He could have been badly hurt, but he wasn't, thank goodness.
He was much less hurt than the time he stepped on the rung of the other ladder, the one that has "do not step" printed right on it.
The one intended for putting your can of paint on.
That time the ladder collapsed and he fell off, and into a rose bush.
This time he just slid down a few rungs.