Friday, May 17, 2013

What Happens When Outdoor Design Magazines Collide With French Philosophers.

I don't know, but I kinda think now that we have temperatures near 90 degrees, the faux snow covered sticks I have in pots by the front door aren't really getting the job done anymore.  It's time to make the seasonal transition over here and get the house ready for summer.  Considering the sticks have been in the pots for more than half a year, no one can accuse me of jumping the gun.  Although, while we haven't taken a lot of action recently to prep the house for the warmer months, we've spent vast amounts of time planning grand improvements to our backyard.

Oh, the plans we made.  There would be a patio extension, a stone covered fire pit and, the piece de resistance, an in-ground hot tub. Surfaces would be covered in stone and stamped concrete and the hot tub would be designed to look like a natural hot springs.  I'd even imagined an opening ceremony for our fabulous outdoor space - we'd invite people over and our family would act out a scene as Native Americans happening upon a magical hot springs (good times, huh?).  There would be speeches given and lots of champagne - maybe I'd create a commemorative t-shirt.  Perhaps, I'd gone a bit far with the introduction, but for a non-actress I am strangely drawn to creating public events.

During a family visualization session over dinner on the back patio, one of the kids asked about the timeline for completion.  We thought about it and realized, if  we were going to finish the projects inside our house, play sports year round, and enjoy a lot of family travel, the backyard project would be wrapped up just in time for college graduations.  The whole goal of creating a space we can enjoy with family and friends was years off.  Our ideal backyard suddenly seemed like an impossibility.

That's when this quote by Voltaire pushed itself to the top of my consciousness:  "Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good."

The whole point of the backyard plan was to create a space we could enjoy together.   The fancy-schmancy factor was just for aesthetic purposes.  So we drilled down to find out what the important elements would be - for us it was a fire pit (this appears to be how the teen crowd likes to spend their evenings - certainly better than playing quarters), some sun/shade control, and a consistent color palette (that was my request).  We researched options to meet each need within a reasonable budget and came up with a great solution that used a lot of what we already had and added a few new things that would be considered "good deals" rather than top-of-the-line items.

And now, for a fraction of the cost and in a matter of weeks rather than years, we'll be able to have a beautiful, comfortable space to enjoy.  It's not the Disney quality recreation of a perfect mountain hideaway, but it'll look great and provide us all with exactly what we really want.  And, what we really want is something to enjoy NOW, because the days are flying by.

This whole focus on good rather than perfect is also a great reminder about how to live every day.  The clock is ticking, so don't wait for your house to look perfect before you have people over.  Light some candles, pour some wine and throw a hunk of cheese on a board.  It's the togetherness that people remember not the spotless countertops.  And we should all remind ourselves that we don't need to be perfect people either.  As long as we try to do our best and admit when we haven't, we'll be good.  And  good is really pretty great.

I'm wearing this for drinks tonight:

I'm digging the loose, black summer dresses I see out there.  This little number was found at Old Navy on sale for less than $20.  It's really versatile and can be worn with a flat sandal or a pair of Converse sneakers, belted, or even tossed on over a skinny jean for the cooler months.  Cost per wear is mere pennies.

gratitude:  time to weed the garden, lacrosse tournaments, Sunday golf, brie

thanks and love.

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