Jeff Hutcheson

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If you’ve been reading this column since its inception two months ago, you’re more than aware I like to spend a lot of time in what I call my ‘happy place’, and that’s the back deck. I’ve talked several times about getting the back deck ‘ready’ for what is sure to be a lot of use, in this, the summer of stay-cations and staying home. I’m the kind of guy who likes everything to be just right, and so far it’s taken over six weeks, but now the back deck is just right. Finally.

Power washing the deck to give it that brand new look? Check.

Getting new lawn furniture, ordered, picked up and assembled? Check

Fixing the nasty sag in the deck from a post heaving over the winter? Check

Cutting those irritating tree limbs that hung over the deck? Check.

Dining table and chairs, umbrella, barbecue and new furniture in position? Check.

Arrival of Phase 2 to apply the finishing touches? Check.

With the arrival of Phase 2 last Friday, my favourite garden centre finally opened. Not that I do the same thing every year, but every year for at least the last seven, we’ve put two containers of pre-potted plants on the deck to add a splash of colour. Now I don’t know if it’s my desire to support local business more, if I was just feeling a bit whimsical or if I was just throwing caution to the wind, but this year, I upped the number of containers on the back deck from two, to three. Bold.

So I headed out last Friday and was pleasantly surprised to have missed the opening day early morning rush. However, with all the new measures in place, the normal entrance was closed, the dairy bar entrance was the exit and the side of the building was the new entrance. There was a very short line, and when I got to the area to pick up my cart, I noticed a bottle of disinfectant spray on a table nearby. So what’s the protocol here? At the supermarket, they’re giving me an already sprayed cart. Was I supposed to spray my own? Was the person in charge of spraying called away on another matter? Has this cart already been sprayed? Anyway, I decided to give it a couple of squirts and continued following the arrows to the indoor greenhouse.

You had to make your way through their outdoor plants to get there, you know, like always having to go through the cosmetic section first when you go to Shoppers Drug Mart. I quickly came to a T intersection and needed to make a right to get to the greenhouse, but another customer was making a beeline there from another direction. I treated the T intersection like a four way stop. She did not. There wasn’t a collision per say, but my six feet of space was violated for sure and I almost took out a Dwarf Alberta Spruce.

In past years, I’ve moseyed around the greenhouse taking stock of my various container options, sometimes doubling back several times to check and double check the inventory. Not this year. It’s like you’re in Ikea. Follow the arrows, and don’t turn back. I managed to follow the arrows right out. Without getting a single plant. So I had to go out, and come back in again, but at least I remembered my choices, picked out the THREE containers, loaded them up and took them home. They’re in position, and the deck is finally complete. It’s perfect.

I do feel guilty though about not spraying my cart the second go round.

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