Thursday, February 19, 2009

Forced into a Vacation on the Patio

Or is that, Reduction-in-Forced into a vacation? Yes, I've become a victim of the dreaded RIF (or Reduction-in-Force) that is plaguing many of the nation's companies in this scary economy. So I'm not working now. Except that I like to think of all this unrequested time off as an opportunity for an Everyday (or, every day) vacation. At least the time between scouring and working with my outplacement coach. :)

Although I do have a severance package, I do have to watch the expenses because who knows how long my situation will continue? So I try to keep it simple.

Here in north Texas, despite some crazy scary weather, we've been blessed with a reasonably mild winter. The past couple of days in particular have been just gorgeous, with lots of sunshine and wonderful low-60's - low-70's temperatures. What a perfect time to hang out on the patio!

One of my favorite things to do is to sit on my patio and watch the world go by. We live in an apartment, but we chose one that had a lovely (albeit small) patio with a nice view. We've outfitted it with a bench/table combination with some pretty cushions. I've put up a faux-ficus tree and adorned it with white twinkle-lights. I also added a small radio - an old one I had, that I could live without if the elements were to finally get to it.

In the evenings, especially at sunset, we love to enjoy a glass (or 3) of wine on our patio and listen to the radio. As it gets dark, the twinkle lights on the faux-ficus add a lovely ambience. When we have friends over, we like to all sit out on the patio and just relax. It's a nice, simple, inexpensive (or free, if you forego the wine) way to get away from it all.

Especially for you apartment-dwellers: don't forget your patio or balcony! Sometimes living in an apartment feels like you don't have enough space or enough rooms. Consider your patio an extra room! Get some reasonably-priced, comfortable outdoor furnishings and make it your own little oasis. Some wonderful ideas I've seen on other people's patios:
  • A small bistro table and two chairs set the scene for romantic al fresco dining
  • Bar-height directors' chairs set next to the railing allow for maximum people-watching in an urban-style apartment complex
  • Gauzy, flowy draperies add some privacy and create a Moroccan feel
  • Hanging ferns and potted plants create a lush, gardenesque environment
  • Chaise lounges with overstuffed cushions just like those in a swanky spa