The year 2020 is just about over and for most, the end could not come soon enough. With the pandemic raging to new heights it is more important than ever to protect yourself and loved ones by staying home. Looking back, 2020 was not a complete loss as people took this opportunity to change gears and do things, they normally wouldn’t find the time. While it is easy to focus on what was lost, it is now more important to look at what was gained.
When the virus first showed up in March and states around the country shut down, many homeowners took the opportunity to do improvements around the house. Retail spending dropped over 50% in clothing and department stores but rose in building materials and gardening stores. According to Yahoo Finance, the average homeowner spent $17,140 on improvements during the pandemic. Secondhand stores became overwhelmed with donations and even the city dump was having trouble keeping up with everyone who was cleaning out their garage.
The Carson household was not without its own silver lining home improvement. Back in March, what started as an attempt to control weeds in the side yard turned into an epic pandemic project. We felt like we never had time to tackle it before and it was a source of frustration as the dogs would get covered in burrs and the whole area was unsightly. We planned this time to clear out the area and put landscaping cloth down with gravel on top. After about a week of clearing the weeds, our neighbor came over and said, “Looks like you’re building a Bocce Ball court.” Since we rarely played before, the idea hadn’t occurred to us. With a little more consultation from our neighbor it sounded like a great use of the space. Afterall, with a stay-at-home order in place, we needed to start creating ways to have fun without going anywhere. With a little research, we found the “Club” court with its 76’ length could fit perfectly.
The engineering feat that followed lasted past the initial shutdown, through the long summer months and was only just recently completed. To create a level field of 76 feet over gently sloping terrain took numerous trips to Home Depot and Montano’s Sand and Gravel. We even had a huge dump truck stuck in our driveway overnight. It went way over budget but with sore backs and calloused hands from shoveling 40 tons of sand and crusher fines, we finished our Bocce Ball court. Our neighbor was correct; we have come to love the game. It’s simple yet devilishly complex and competitive. It’s a fun time with our kids and the dogs love chasing the balls. Without the stay-at-home order we never would have done something that ambitious and what was once a wild weed infested area has transformed into something that looks remarkably civilized.
Now as we look outside and the days grow shorter, our bocce court lays silent in the darkness. We cannot wait for the time to come when we can have friends and family over again and simply enjoy being together. With Spring and a vaccine just around the corner, we are surely in the home stretch. If you did not get to all the things on your honey-do list, the good news is you still have time. Whatever your heart yearns for, now is the time to dive in. Make yourself the bright light that shines this winter and have a blessed Holiday Season.