My husband has always enjoyed yard work. He says it is his time for himself. Our neighbors in Clear Lake would joke that Corey would never make it as a yard guy because he was too meticulous. I love my him 'till death do us part' but he mows twice a week and it takes him about three hours to finish! It was even longer at our last house when we redid all the landscaping ourselves! I'm not sure if you do your own landscaping or not, but when you spend hours in the yard making it look pleasing to your eye, it is nice to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor every now and again.
So when we moved here a few years ago it drove Corey nuts that there was nothing in our backyard...not even a tree. We rarely went back there because it was so hot and not too appealing. When we moved in I was still in school and neither one of us had the time to maintain anything. Last summer I had our second child, so planting was out of the question! Our goal was to do something this year. Nothing what would take hours to maintain, just something small, pretty and comfortable. With the help of my uncle we spent the first weekend in April planting. We extended our patio, put down slate and bought outdoor furniture. It looked beautiful. We ate lunch and dinner out there often and I would go out there to do work as well when the weather allowed for it.
This is where The Great Umbrella Drama of 2010 began! We bought an amazing umbrella with a tilt feature and it was thick enough that no UV rays would penetrate the fabric. I LOVED IT! A week later, it broke. I was so upset. We waited two years for our back yard to be a place of peace and tranquility and now it was suddenly too hot to sit back there again. Corey went to exchange it but they didn't have that style of umbrella in stock. He came home with a much smaller one and the sun leaked through so even in the shade you had to squint your eyes. It was horrible. So, my sweet husband searched all the stores in the area and and found the exact same umbrella (as the original) and drove all the way to The Woodlands to pick it up for me. He surprised me with it one afternoon and I was super excited. Seriously, it was AWESOME! A week later, it broke. No joke. It broke in the exact same place as the first super duper umbrella with extraordinary UV protection! I was so mad. Corey took it all the way back to The Woodlands and got a full refund. We shopped like ravenous beasts for an umbrella to fit all of my qualifications and there wasn't one to be found in a 50 mile radius! I know some of you may say I am too picky, and perhaps I am, but I know what I want and I wanted a super duper umbrella with extraordinary UV protection! Two weeks later Corey came home with the biggest umbrella ever constructed by mankind. He had to ask our neighbor to help him carry it to the backyard! Surely this big ol' mamma-jamma was the answer to all of our umbrella drama!
I was beyond excited the next morning when we opened the box to assemble it. The directions said it should take an hour to put it all together and bask in the glory of its shade....ummm...it took us three. The base alone was a mess. We bought sand to fill the base and there wasn't enough, so we had to make another trip to the store to buy more. Then, we over bought sand, so we had to go back to the store to return the extra! I was laughing so hard while trying to help Corey install the silly thing that I couldn't even hold my end up straight! Three hours later Corey was so red from sunburn he looked like a lobster, but we had the mother of all umbrellas shading our back patio and it was glorious! It moved 360 degrees and was 11 feet in diameter. It was beyond great; it was fabulous! Today I went outside to do some work and I opened the umbrella. I walked inside to get my things and I heard a loud noise; it sounded sort of like a bow and arrow flying through the air! My son looked at me and I looked at him and we both said outloud, "the umbrella!" The silly thing had snapped! There were poles and pieces everywhere! All I could do was laugh.
It took us two years to enjoy our backyard and now we have decided to hold off on the umbrella and save our money to build a pergola. Who knows maybe some of the landscaping we planted will grow tall enough to provide so much shade that we won't even need an pergola or umbrella!