Editor’s note: This column originally published Feb. 3, 2017.
It’s officially official... hubby and I are boring.
I can tell you the exact moment it happened. It was a few weeks ago, on a Monday, when we received the book “National Geographic Backyard Guide to the Birds of North America” in the mail from Avery.
Let me bring you up to speed...
We have a four-seasons room on the back of our house that opens on to our deck. We spend a great deal of time in that room most every day enjoying the views to the east, north and west.
When our kids were younger, we had an above-ground pool just off the deck. Gosh, our family spent a lot of time out there in that pool. In those days, the room was basically a screened-in porch with a ‘beachy’ theme — our ‘lanai’ — wicker furniture, fishing net draped around the ceiling, ornamental lighthouses, ceramic sea-creatures, pirate flags, tropical plants. It always had swim towels, pool toys and wet foot prints on the floor.
As the kids grew and their lives involved more activities away from the homestead, the pool was used less and less (although the upkeep remained the same). Eventually the kids moved out, the pool came down and the lanai was enclosed with three walls of windows. We were gladly slowing down, stepping back and appreciating a more tranquil lifestyle.
Once we added heat and A/C to the room we used the lanai more often, and last summer, I told hubby he could consider it his ‘man cave’ and move his John Wayne and racing memorabilia from the shelves in the basement to his very own space.
He’d made it as far as putting his recline out there, before we moved my mom in for what we thought would be a convalescing period. She loved that room, and would spend her days out there watching television, reading her Kindle, enjoying autumn’s fresh country air, watching wildlife and napping in hubby’s recliner while I was at work.
Eventually, we decided to make her move permanent, which meant combining two households into one. Timing couldn’t have been better, as my oldest son, Josh, and his family had purchased a home and would be starting from scratch, so they needed to furnish a 3-bedroom house. We managed to disperse most of her furnishings my kids.
However, mom asked if we would mind putting her nice living room furniture on the lanai, replacing the eclectic combination of seating we had accumulated. Absolutely!
So much for the man cave. Poor hubby — he’d even purchased a TV and sound bar for his westerns and racing, and the Duke, Dale Jarrett and Carl Edwards collections never had a chance.
It’s now a beautiful, cozy and calming room, a complete 180 from a man cave. Unfortunately, mom was only able to enjoy it briefly before she died.
We’ve always appreciated nature and wildlife, and although the current season isn’t conducive to sitting outdoors in our porch swing or rocking chairs, we still do our fair share of bird watching from the comfort of our lanai and its open views, especially after hubby put up several bird feeders. It’s cerebral.
I remember rolling my eyes when we’d visit my in-law’s house years ago, with the bird feeders they had hanging in front of their picture windows. I figured those people had terribly boring lives if they found any sort of entertainment watching a bunch of dirty, nasty birds. If I only knew.
Guess who now relaxes on the lanai and can identify four varieties of woodpeckers and watches chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, finches and dark-eyed juncos populating the feeders on the deck? And guess who can’t wait for the weather to warm up so we can fill our variety of specialized feeders with red nectar for the hummingbirds?
Yep... it’s officially official... we’re those boring people with an oft-used bird book on the coffee table. And loving every minute of it.
Contact Dana King at firstname.lastname@example.org