I officially went over the edge, determined to screen in the porch before skeeter skool let out for the summer. Advance preparation, research and knowledge be damned! I'd jump in with both feet and see where I landed.
(I tried not to be discouraged by those wagering my landing would involve a visit to Thomas Hospital, allowing that they had reasons for placing such bets.)
After my first of 43 visits to Lowe's, I began with what seemed at the time like the simplest section of porch. I soon discovered this particular section had been built with a different type of cinderblock than the rest. Based on the quantity of masonry bits these blocks soon devoured, I suspect Kryptonite reinforcement.
Tempted as I was to throw in the trowel, I pushed myself to keep going. That first section took ages, with parts having to be disassembled, cursed at, sprinkled with cash, then rebuilt. And then ... something miraculous happened. My project began to click.
I was cutting and assembling sections so professionally I was wishing for witnesses, though most remained too afraid of another encounter with the randomly potty-mouthed Ty Pennington wannabe and were avoiding the back half of the house.
Many weekends and evenings were consumed by my project. And now, as my dream porch nears completion (having reached the 90 percent mark, which generally means I move on to something else), I'm all swollen with pride.
My porch isn't perfect. I know every place where I pounded bent nails deep into the wood since I couldn't pry them back out. I know where the crooked cuts are, and how I disguised them. I made many mistakes, but didn't let my fear of making them stop me. That's sort of a new thing for me.
I'm glad I didn't know when to quit, because if I had, I would've. And I didn't.
My porch is far from meeting the standards of a professional carpenter, but I can't imagine I'd enjoy it near as much if I hadn't done it myself.