grumpy about the construction project (sweaty with equity)

I woke up this morning prepared to do paint battle on a bunch of cedar clapboard siding. We had priced out having someone else do the exterior painting on the addition, because I don’t actually want to climb up to the peak of a tall two-story house with a can of paint. Call me crazy, but I’m worried about falling.

But the estimate came back at about $2500. Ouch. We can save a lot by doing as much of it ourselves as possible. So this weekend we’re priming siding and putting a first rough coat of paint on before it goes up. Our guys do work right, so when they nail those boards on they’ll wipe each and every nail head with some sort of solvent (napalm? naphtha?) that keeps the nail from making paint colors bleed. Then they’ll caulk things and do whatever other magic they do, and then the second coat of paint will go on. That’s when we’ll probably hire the painter to come do whatever parts we’re too scared to do. Up high.

The day started out badly as I set out to prime. I headed out the basement door into the back yard and walked around and up the hill to the front of the house. Now my shoes were dirty and my goal was to avoid going in the basement again, because I just shampooed the carpet in there last night. I opened the garage door and wandered around in the garage, organizing my thoughts on what I needed to do, and then I realized I needed to get upstairs in the house to find my work gloves. I walked back out of the garage and tried the kitchen door. Locked. I tried the fancy main front door. Locked. Shit shit shit. Anthony had already left with the kids on an adventure, so I didn’t have anyone to let me in.  I headed back around to the basement door and wiped my feet carefully on the entry rug, and then I tip-toed across the blasted carpet and up the stairs to the main floor. I found my gloves. I headed through the house to the kitchen door. As I walked through the kitchen, I noticed the gaping opening into the garage, where a door will shortly be installed.

Old habits die hard. Our house hasn’t had an entrance from the garage directly into the house. It does now. I just need to remember that new reality. Sigh.

Finding space to lay out a bunch of siding is a head scratcher. I ended up using the old cream city brick we saved during demolition to set up little blocks to hold up siding pieces off the grass in the back yard. I carried a lot of bricks from here to there. Also I had to lug the siding from the garage, where it was stacked, to the back yard. Lug lug lug. Then paint paint paint in various positions – squatting, bending over, on one knee, on two knees, on my ass. I worked almost non-stop from about 10 until 5:30 or so. I almost finished priming both sides of 50-odd boards, ranging from 12 to 20 feet in length. I’ll finish priming tomorrow morning and then put on the rough coat of finish latex in the afternoon.

I’m not used to this sort of work. As I recuperate this evening, my tired right hand, which held the paint brush, is struggling to lift this margarita to my lips. Ugh. (I’ll just move that glass over to the left side of the keyboard; all better.) Oddly, my left leg (but not my right) is cramping from calf to hip. My lower back is aching all over. 48 years of experience on this earth are speaking to me through my aching body.

Bah. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s boring and no fun. I think I’ll just leave the siding where it is and let the lawn grow over it. The Tyvec wrap on the house looks just fine.


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