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Jewish World Review
July 28, 2006
/ 3 Menachem-Av, 5766
Out-houses for modern living
Outdoor rooms are all the rage right now. To create one, you basically move the contents of your family room - your couch, chairs, cushions, end tables, maybe even a rug - along with the bulk of your kitchen - your table, chairs, dishes and the like - all outside to a porch or patio.
Now you will be able to do the same things out of doors that you once did indoors, only without benefit of a roof, walls, lights, running water or protection from the elements.
Those minor hindrances aside, I like the concept of an outdoor room.
I recently gave it a shot and kept an activity log so you could determine whether you would like to create one of your own:
I have brought a laptop with me to my outdoor room (formerly known as the patio). If I hunch my shoulders tight against my neck, my body casts enough shade on the monitor that I can do a little work. Aside from the throbbing muscle spasm in my neck, the outdoor room is quite comfortable.
After scribbling some notes on a yellow legal pad, I rip the page from the tablet and am about to lob it into the trash can, when I discover there is no trash can.
Oh well. Sometimes you have to live a situation to know all of your needs.
I return from the house with a large brown grocery bag that will make do as wastebasket.
With a soft breeze blowing, now is a perfect time to read my book. Just as soon as I run inside and find my reading glasses.
My book, chair, pad and pen, and laptop are in position when I sense it is growing rather warm in the outdoor room. What would really fit the bill is a tall glass of iced tea.
I dash to the kitchen and retrieve iced tea, cheese and crackers and fruit.
I'm not hungry, but it's a long hike to the 'fridge from the outdoor room, so I might as well be prepared.
I settle back into the outdoor room with my nose in my book when the phone rings. I should have brought it out when I went in for the trash can. And the reading glasses. And the iced tea. And the cheese and crackers.
Gabbing away on the phone, surrounded by lush foliage, I am keenly aware of birds singing, squirrels chattering and the backs of my legs webbing themselves to the mesh pattern of the wrought iron chair.
Naturally, the cushions are in the garage.
Back in the chair (with a cushion), the phone, the pen and pad, the trash can, iced tea and reading glasses, I pick up my book and am attacked by a squadron of blood-sucking mosquitoes. I smack the varmints with the yellow legal pad and send the cheese and crackers flying.
I've never seen a magazine picture of an outdoor room with cheese and crackers strewn across the floor. Not in the room titled Pacific Rim, the room christened Hawaiian Delight or even the one labeled Casual Modern.
I retrieve the broom. The broom, dirty from cleaning gutters, leaves big black streaks on the outdoor room floor.
I retrieve the hose to clean the mess left by the broom.
I have now broken into a light perspiration. Oh, light perspiration nothing, great beads of sweat are running down my face, my chest and my back like a weightlifter who just dropped a barbell with 500 pounds.
I knew an outdoor room would be relaxing. I just didn't know relaxing would be such hard work.
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© 2006, Lori Borgman
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