Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Up a Ladder. Up a Creek.

I am going to whine just a bit. You've been warned.

Work on the front face of the house continues. I wish I could tell you that every weekend has been a long satisfying solid blitz of hours of work. They haven't been.

At first I felt guilty about this. I mean, if you're going to tackle a project, tackle it, right?

But it's not that simple. While my conscience has been trying to punish me for not keeping a grueling pace on the project, I haven't exactly been spending my time off the scaffold getting pedicures and shopping for cute shoes. My children all still want things like meals, clean underwear, bedtime stories. I have to grocery shop, sleep, and pay bills. Oh and WORK. You know, that thing which pays the bills.

Then there's been the super-rainy month of June, and the 100+ heat index days of July.

The enormity of the task paired with the finite nature of summer means I'm anxious. It seems to magnify every little thing that goes wrong around here. The light bulb breaking off in the microwave oven, the hand towel ring falling off the bathroom wall--- instead of being minor annoyances they become looming complications--- I don't have time for this crap. 

I am worried about the prep work. Everywhere you go for exterior painting advice they say if you don't do it right, the paint won't last. So I am aware I'm agonizing over this step. How much is enough?

I'm a deliberately slow worker on a ladder, because I'm a bit nervous about heights. I keep eyeballing the peak of the roof on the south side, and wondering if I'll have the courage for it. There's no reason I can't with the right safety equipment. Still, it's another thing to be anxious about.

I had a carpenter come in and look at my dry-rotted soffit. He'll be back in a few weeks to start the job. In the meantime, we talked siding.

Mine was cedar, he said. Good stuff. And it's not as sensitive to weathering when it's bare as pine and poplar are. It's a relief to know that a few weeks without paint won't do any harm.

He also told me I wasn't refinishing fine furniture. Get the loose stuff off and move on.

I probably needed to hear both of those things. Because I think I was beginning to lose my mind one paint flake at a time.

I am pretty well obligated to finish at least the front and the driveway (south) side of the house before it's too cold to paint this fall. That gives me until about mid-October unless we have an unseasonably warm fall. I am about 2/3 of the way done prepping the front, which doesn't include washing it down and caulking and filling holes and cracks.

I'll keep plugging away, but if my blog readers could make a little pagan offering (80 grit) to the Our Lady of the Sanded Clapboard, I'd be much obliged. I'd also like to thank Jayne from The Kelly House blog, for offering a pity party including pretzels and chocolate. She's doing some of her own scraping on her 1887 Queen Anne cottage. Misery loves company, they say.

Excuse me now. I need to go wave my paint scraper valiantly to the sky. Charge!


  1. Can't tell you how in awe I am that you are doing this all yourself. It's a TON of work (as you know). I'm with the carpenter: Get the loose stuff and move on. (Says the recovering perfectionist. So, so easy to prescribe for others.) Also totally applaud your decision to do just two sides this year. I know it feels like prolonging the agony (as we made the same decision last year), but doing that pulled us out of a pit of despair last summer. And I'm always up for a pity party. :-)

    1. I'm not normally a perfectionist, but I think I'm angsty about it because I for sure don't want to do this job again any time soon! I'm trying to take a philosophical approach, but I've even been dreaming about sanding in my sleep. Gah.

  2. Well you know I feel for you with all that sanding, but yeah - totally do not go nuts and feel like you have to strip that wood what the carpenter said and just get off the loose crap and you are good to go. Honestly, from your pic your prep work looks amazing! Do you want to come over and paint the trim at Mom's condo next??? :)

    1. Is it alright if I say absolutely not?! :) Trim is the worst part!

  3. Many prayers to Our Lady of the Sanded Clapboard! (I LOVE that, by the way.) Keep plugging away--ANY progress counts! It's been a really weird summer for outside work.