CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- From the time we bought our new old house three years ago, I've been dreaming about screening in the back porch.
And dreading how much work it would be.
One minute I'd be envisioning just where, on this new porch, I'd put a swing or a hanging bed. The next minute I'd be trying to figure out how to remove the porch ceiling without damaging it to locate a beam that would support the weight of the swing.
I'd picture white wainscoted walls replacing the cinderblock.
And calculate complexity and cost and the cranium aches that would surely accompany such an endeavor.
For every positive I could imagine, there was an equal and opposite potential pitfall.
I'd never dealt with a home-improvement project that would require working with cinderblock and concrete. I'd never worked with treated lumber or screening or this particular kind of wainscoting.
I began to think I'd never take the plunge, never actually start for fear of not getting it right. The only thing lower than my expectations was my budget -- half a shoestring.
But then it happened. The first mosquito sighting of spring -- a bruiser so big he likely required an airstrip. He was dragging a banner that advertised buffet night at Café Fuller, "Featuring even more tender and tasty thick thighs!"