1.  Have you ever rolled the dice on your ability to adult your way through something new? When the stakes are high and the learning curve is steep and there’s a sharp wind blowing in from the north? Welcome to our weekend.

2.  Push had come to shove. We were on a deadline for the home inspection and hadn’t dealt with what can only be called The Tragic Front Door Mauling of 2013. (Just kidding. The dogs have been mauling that door for years.) Phoebe is what one might politely call frantic when strangers friends neighbors anybody sets foot on the porch so she’s our frequent offender. Gracie’s more of an exuberant pawer, but her sheer size and weight dig deeper grooves because wood doesn’t care if you’re happy or enraged. Let’s just say it looked suspiciously like we’d been holding werewolves hostage.

3.  So we did some research. And talked to a neighbor. And did some more research. And I told myself I CAN DO HARD THINGS…but man, if I eff this up there’s no going back. No pressure.

4.  There was sanding. So much of the sanding. And because I’m stubborn when I’m on a deadline I was only willing to search for breathing masks for half an hour. And if I was only willing to search for half an hour then I damn sure wasn’t driving to the store to buy the masks that I know we have in the house. Commence day one of sucking in project gunk.

5.  After vacuuming up all the dust I hadn’t inhaled it was time to apply wood conditioner. This stuff looks like skim milk and comes with a very helpful panic inducing warning on the label: DO NOT ALLOW EXCESS CONDITIONER TO DRY ON WOOD. This resulted in me watching my timer like a hawk then swooping in with a rag to swipe off drips before they could presumably ruin my virgin attempt at wood staining. I’m sure there’s a wood/virginity joke in there somewhere but we’re moving on.

6.  It turns out staining is an extremely slow process – Apply. Let sit for 5-15 minutes. Wipe off. (Insert same panic inducing warning.) Wait four hours before another application. – but I was in it for the long haul. I didn’t freak until three hours in when I thought huh…that doesn’t really look like the right color. 

7.  Cue frantic texting of photos to BrightSide and his calm response that no, it just needed more stain. Oh. Okay. Repeat steps above.

8.  Late that night the assessment was clear: three of the four sections looked great. One was decidedly not. I won’t repeat here the thoughts running through my head, let’s just say a lot of them rhymed with cluck and spit. Google told me I had one option: strip and neutralize the area, scrub with steel wool, then start the whole process again with a different stain. BrightSide told me I had another: sand down the rest of the board and stain it to match. My husband is a brilliant man and excellent under pressure.

9.  Enter another day of sanding, vacuuming, conditioning, staining, and waiting. So much of the waiting. But by the end of the day we were there – a section with a few visible scratches, yes, but with consistent color.

10.  I am badass.