August arrives, hot and humid. My legs are exhausted after my birthday half-marathon – it’s been months since I’ve run anything close to that distance. I find myself spending as much time as possible in my new hammock, thrilled with the arrival of the NHL playoffs. But summer is undeniably short – the work we can do outside can’t wait.

I order some paving stones to fill in the trench left behind by the removal of the chipped ones a few months ago. A friend picks me up in her SUV, and we take two trips to pick up the stones – they’re far too heavy for my friend’s SUV to carry home in one trip. My friend, my partner and I carry the stones one at a time from the back of the SUV into a pile on the lawn. The second trip concludes right as the rain starts falling. We hurriedly unload one, two, three, four, five stones, our clothes sticking against our skin and hair dripping wet. My friend drives away as the rain falls in curtains and drenches the ground, the bricks, the city.

* * *

I need to make my workspace my own. It still doesn’t feel like it’s truly mine, even though I’ve spend forty hours a week there for the past three months. Curtains! That’s something I can use to change the feeling of this room. Since the master bedroom needs curtains, why not get some for my office? My partner and I hang them when they and the new curtain rods arrive. I love the new curtains in the office, and I hope the blackout curtains we’ve purchased for the master bedroom will make sleeping through the night easier.

The next sunny Saturday, my partner and I place the paving stones into the trench. We have exactly the right amount, though there’s a small gap between the end of the new path and the old stones that never got moved. One of these days, the whole thing will be done, but having a path with a gap is better than having a massive hole in the middle of the yard.

This productivity has spurred us to action. The shed floor needs to be replaced – the idea of falling through it is not an unreasonable fear. I hold the boards together while my partner screws them in place. We like what we’ve done and how the frame is taking shape. Unfortunately, relocating it from the yard to the patio results in the entire frame coming apart. So we call it a night and have to start from scratch.

It takes three weekends – and enough screws and brackets to make my head spin – to put together the new shed floor. It’s only upon trying to relocate the frame (yet again) that we realize this new frame is HEAVY. We drag it from the patio into the middle of the lawn, proud of the work we’ve done but it’s become abundantly clear that we absolutely need another couple sets of hands to move the shed, put the new floor in place, then re-place the shed on top.

Mike, a neighbor, arrives on a cloudy Saturday in mid-September. My partner and I have already removed everything from the shed, placing tools and lawn implements in disorganized chaos on the lawn. He provides invaluable assistant in suggesting how we can relocate the shed, and adds an extension onto our frame since we apparently can’t measure accurately to save our lives. The three of us clear away the old shed floor, and are horrified by its condition – formerly large portions of sub-floor have rotted into five or six pieces in terrifyingly ominous colours. They are added to the Ecopile of doom that seems to be multiplying at frightening speed.

Mike tells us he has to take off as soon as the new floor has been put into place. Our next door neighbor pops by and offers to help place the shed on top, so the four of us make quick work of it. We need to re-situate things so that the shed is level, and while it’s not perfectly straight, it looks less like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And, most importantly, no one is in danger of falling through the floor. Our neighbors take off, but the same friend who helped pick up the paving stones has come by for a physically distanced coffee. The three of us make fairly quick work of putting the doors on the shed, and finally – after six weeks – it is all done.

* * *

Ca-thunk! Ca-thunk! Ca-thunk!

The dishwasher has started to make ominous sounds, and the dishes don’t seem to be getting clean. After a third time running the dishes through – making sure a dislocated tea ball isn’t causing a sprayer to get stuck – we call an appliance repair company. We’re able to get a spot the day I book the appointment. The technician come by and tells us that he can try and clean all the parts to see if that works, or he can replace the motor for the approximate cost of a new machine. We agree to the cleaning, cautiously optimistic that this might fix the problem… We are, unfortunately, quickly dispelled of that notion. It looks like we’re in the market for a new dishwasher. Things can’t be simple these days, can they?