I'd say right now is the absolute prime for outdoor activities in Memphis. We've had a lot of sun, the temperatures are warm (not hot), and it isn't incredibly humid yet. The pollen is awful, unfortunately, but I'm not sure there's ever a time when it isn't, so we'll overlook that.
We decided a couple nights ago to get our deck furniture cleaned up for the season. Usually the first clean of the year (a glass dining table, 4 table chairs, a glass end table, and 2 "lounge" chairs) is awful. We don't have room in the house to store these things, so they stay out on the deck all winter. And by the time we do the first clean, they've been through all the elements and are saturated with pollen. Well, using our genius brains this year, when we closed up the deck for winter, we covered everything with a tarp. And it was awesome! The big clean took probably an hour, max! So now our deck is up & ready to go!
I was reminded during the clean, though, how much I wish we had a screened-in porch. Why? Because I got 2 mosquito bites - and it's only April. By midsummer, the deck is almost unusable because of the heat and the mosquitoes.
Thinking about decks and screened-in porches makes me so nostalgic for my parent's house in St. Louis. Actually, I think growing up, I sort of took the screened-in porch for granted. But it's this beautifully, well-constructed area (small deck, large porch) that was built to be an extension of our house. And we had nice outdoor furniture, and rugs, and a ceiling fan, and a ton of hanging candle wall sconces that you could light at night. And it connected to the house with a big sliding-glass door, so even if the door wasn't open, you had a view into this other room. We literally had dinner out there every night of Spring and Fall (and many nights in Summer if it wasn't too hot). Good call on building that, Michelle & Jed.
It's a great hope of mine that in our next house, we can build a similar structure. The lack of bugs is obviously number one, but having that ceiling fan really does cool things down.
I'm surprised by how many people in Memphis build patios (like, brick laid into the ground) instead of screened-in porches. Because like I said, the bugs are out of control. At my dad's various houses in Ohio, he's never had a screened-in area - it's always been a patio or an uncovered deck. So I guess the bugs aren't really an issue? Maybe mosquitoes just aren't that bad in Ohio? Because we definitely had all summer dinners outside at his houses as well (since Ohio has this wonderful, not-too-hot summer).
Anyway - as you can tell, I'm really excited about Spring (since the heat of summer nauseates me just to think about). Happy weekend, guys - and happy outdoor patio/grilling weather!