Getcha Shade On

As regular readers will recall, there has been an ongoing hunt for a backyard shade solution for longer than I care to admit. We have explored retractable awnings, stand-alone pagodas, pavilions, rigged up sail cloths, shade cloths, trellises, and more. ( We’ve discussed a variety of umbrella solutions but none seemed adequate in terms of shaded area or aesthetics. The larger, sturdier models were both ugly and obscenely expensive. The reasonably priced models had reviews to the effect of, “don’t buy this ever.” So we have, for years now, taken cover inside or gotten sunburned during the middle part of the day.

This past weekend we hosted a couple of families and all stayed outside all day. We wore sunscreen, but it seems we did not reapply adequately. Mike’s neck is hot pink and my shoulders are itchy and tight with sunburn too. For some reason Ax seems okay. I think it’s because he went inside to build spaceships for a few hours.

Anyway, my perfectionism, frugality, and indecisiveness have now visibly affected the health and well-being of my family. So I’ve given up on finding the perfect solution and settled on the best solution, the one readily available that will allow us to play outside, in the middle of the day, in the shade, as soon as possible.

Our elephantine cantilever umbrella arrives today. It looked about the size of my Prius in the store, so with its angling and swiveling and retracting features it should, if properly placed, shade most of our space most of the time.

I’ve been thinking about the right spot to put it fairly constantly since I ordered it. Once the base is filled with sand it will weigh over 250 pounds so it’s not like the rest of our furniture that I get to rearrange on a fairly regular basis. Placement is going to be critical to both function and look.

Sometimes I wish I were one of those people who could just be happy it’s coming, could know that it will probably work out regardless of where I put it, could feel grateful for the fact that buying this behemoth umbrella will not render us unable to afford food for the next month or more. Could feel serene about doing something so splurge-y.

There’s no wrong spot for it, only different right spots. When I think about it that way, I can feel myself getting a little smiley and excited. It’s actually a kind of wonderful contraption. And it’s going to be awesome, wherever it goes. Yes. That’s the ticket. I can do it. I’m doing it. We get to enjoy this yard, this house, this life. I get to. It’s okay. It’s wonderful.