Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

This was the summer we painted the exterior our house ourselves. It was supposed to be "we"--ideally it would have been "he." One Saturday early in June Jon announced that today was the day to start to paint. I put up strong resistance to this idea but in the end, lost the battle and went to Meadowbrook Hardware and selected a quart of gray paint called "swordplay" for the house and "vintage wedding" (white) for the trim. Jon slapped a 3'X3' area of paint on the front of the house, we squinted at it, said, "meh, it's OK," and Jon returned to the store and bought several gallons.

We set Mad Scientist to work scrubbing the stucco with a tsp and bleach solution and I took the younger kids to Mint Springs and Jon stayed behind to paint. When I returned from the lake, the entire front of the house was purple. Not gray. The purple paint contrasted oddly with the old trim color-a yellowish cream--making our house look not unlike an Easter egg. A neighbor came out to laugh at my discomfiture and told us the house looked "phat."

Thus began the summer of painting.

Our labors were interrupted when Jon's father died. We spent two and a half weeks in New York, and while we were there Jon broke his 10th rib playing extreme frisbee with his nephews. When we got home, he was unable to paint and I did the rest of the work myself.

I scraped the trim--sometimes scraping through 100 years accumulation of paint. I removed the window sashes, repaired the sash cords, removed and replaced cracked glazing compound. (I broke so many panes, the people at Virginia Glass must think I am either an exceptionally careless person, or have anger management issues.) I painted the sashes and the front door raspberry red to contrast with the purple house and the white trim.

Prior to this summer, I'd had a fear of ladders. The front and back of the house didn't require much ladder work because I could stand on the porches and roofs. When it came time to do the sides I had to overcome this fear. By the end of the summer, I could extend our ladder as far as it would go, climb as high as was safe and paint with confidence. I learned how to balance the ladder on uneven ground. The west side of our house is nearly three stories high. I still need to paint most of the trim on that side, but the rest of the house is finished (other than the porch floor.)




  1. Beautiful. I love the colors. And with all the plants in the front yard, your front porch must be very cool and shady.

  2. Crabby, you are truly an inspiration! Of course, the tasteless, lazy Belmont-redneck side of me still appreciates my vinyl siding that never needs painting.